Mainland China to boycott Golden Horse awards in latest attempt to squeeze Taiwan

08-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Mainland China will not take part in the film awards dubbed the “Chinese-language Oscars”, held in Taiwan, the country’s film administrators announced on Wednesday, reflecting tensions across the strait.

A newspaper affiliated with the China Film Administration reported that representatives from the mainland movie industry would not attend the annual Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards on November 23.

Earlier reports had suggested that the Golden Rooster Awards, the mainland’s annual film event, would be held on the same date in Xiamen in southeast China.

This will be the first time that Beijing has banned its films and filmmakers from attending the Golden Horse Awards since Taiwan officially allowed the mainland to take part in 1996.

Talk of a ban began last year after Taiwan-born documentary director Fu Yue called for the world to recognise Taiwan as an independent country during her acceptance speech, prompting mainland industry representatives to boycott the celebration party.

Also at last year’s awards, mainland actor Xu Zheng was named the best leading actor for Dying to Survive and Zhang Yimou was named best director for Shadow. An Elephant Sitting Still, directed by the mainland’s Hu Bo, was awarded best feature film.

The Golden Horse awards’ organising committee said the mainland’s decision was “regrettable”, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported. The committee said that the festival’s events would be held as scheduled.

Lo Wai-luk, honorary resident writer at the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University, said having both the Golden Horse and Golden Rooster awards on the same day would push filmmakers, including those from Hong Kong, to choose to attend either one. “This is creating division and rivalry between the two festivals,” he said. “This is not beneficial to the exchanges between filmmakers across the strait. This policy does not have any political wisdom.”

The announcement came with cross-strait tensions continuing to escalate since the 2016 election of Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party as the self-ruled island’s president.

A defence white paper released by Beijing in July said that China’s military was under threat from pro-independence forces in Taiwan, but said it would always defeat them.

Beijing views the island as a renegade province and has said repeatedly that it will not renounce the use of force to reunify it with the mainland.

The white paper said force would be targeted “by no means at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at the interference of external forces and the very small number of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists and their activities”.

Beijing last week announced a ban on solo mainland travellers visiting Taiwan, which is expected to cost the island NT$28 billion (US$900 million) by January.

In response to that announcement, Taiwanese Transport minister Lin Chai-lung said his government would spend an additional NT$3.6 billion in the fourth quarter of the year to promote tourism.


Category: China

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