China bans films from Taiwan ‘Oscars’

BEIJING: China says it is banning Chinese movies and actors from participating in Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, one of the Asian film industry’s most prestigious honours, as Beijing ramps up economic and political pressure on the island it claims as its own territory.

The one-sentence announcement yesterday on the microblog of China Film News, a newspaper affiliated with the government film regulator, gave no reason for the suspension, but it comes amid tensions over Taiwan’s refusal to recognise being part of Chinese territory to eventually be brought under Beijing’s rule.

Even without the ban, Chinese artists might have found it difficult to make it to the Nov 23 ceremony.

Beijing has issued a ban on solo travel to the island starting Sept 1 as part of measures to inflict an economic cost for its failure to obey.

Chinese participation was already in doubt following last year’s ceremony, which was marked by Chinese displeasure over remarks in an acceptance speech by documentary director Fu Yue calling on the world to recognise Taiwan as an independent country, something only a handful of nations currently do.Chinese participants refused to appear on stage, made pointed remarks about Taiwan and China being members of the same family and then declined to attend the banquet reception following the show.

Asked about the announcement, the organising committee said it was disappointed but the ceremony would go on as scheduled.

“The committee regrets to be informed of the news, if it is confirmed,” it said.

“The jury process of the Golden Horse Awards will continue as planned and all Golden Horse events will take place as usual.”

Chinese entrants have been big winners at the show since they were first invited to attend in 1996, with China’s Xu Zheng winning best actor last year for his work in Dying to Survive.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency said the festival was still in the process of choosing films and it wasn’t immediately clear if any from China had already been withdrawn.

Presidential office spokesman Ernesto Ting Yun-kung said China’s move “not only harmed exceptional members of the Chinese film industry, but also positive exchanges between the sides”.

“Culture has no borders and art especially should not face political barriers.

“No matter what the reason, it’s not a smart move to prevent those in arts and culture from participating in this sort of film industry event that encourages free creation and welcomes multiple viewpoints,” Ting said. — AP
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