Following months of pressure from rights advocates and high-profile celebrities, film director Steven Spielberg last month opted out of his role as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics, a move that was praised by many -- except those in Beijing.
As a filmmaker with a conscience who gave us, among others, Schindler's List and Munich (the Olympic link couldn't be more obvious), Spielberg's association with a government that has no compunction in supporting the genocidal regime in Sudan was also proving too damaging to his image.
But while Spielberg has been the focus of all the bad publicity, other advisers to the Games have managed to avoid pressure -- and one of them is Taiwan's Ang Lee (
Lee's reasons to reconsider his role as an arts and culture consultant for the Games (under Chinese director Zhang Yimou [
Beijing's agenda hit closer to home over the weekend when the government announced that Chinese actress Tang Wei (
In and of itself, this should be sufficient to dispel any illusion that art and politics do not mix, for in Beijing's world, politics -- World War II, Sino-Japanese relations -- are being used to destroy an artist's livelihood.
While artists may seek to transcend political differences, they should never lose sight of the fact that they, too, have responsibilities and that art, even in its "purest" form, cannot be apolitical. As role models, artists of Lee's caliber are in a far better position to fire imaginations -- and ultimately influence views -- than most politicians. Consequently, by choosing to work with Beijing or by remaining silent in the face of injustice, Lee could be seen to be rationalizing Chinese repression.
As George Orwell observed: The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.
And now, should he remain silent on Beijing's attack on one of its own, Lee would send a signal that it is acceptable for a government to use politics to violate freedom of expression and dictate what artists can and cannot address in their work.
In fact, by accepting Beijing's invitation to serve as an adviser to the Games, Lee was telling the world that it was negotiable for China to ban his previous movie, Brokeback Mountain.
If genocide in Sudan, the jailing of Chinese dissidents, the suppression of Taiwan and molestation of Tibet are not enough to change Lee's mind, then perhaps this latest overt attack against one of his creations and one of his stars will be the last straw.
Lee now has no choice but to put aside the "softly, softly" approach, stand by Tang's side and follow in Spielberg's footsteps.
Unless Hollywood movies like Greenland, Deep Impact, and Armageddon have predictive powers and a rogue space rock is heading our way, stopping Chinese Communist Party expansionism is likely to prove the single most challenging and dangerous problem of our lifetimes. How can the United States, Taiwan, and other liberal democracies prepare for and prevent attacks from China? How can Washington bolster Taipei’s confidence when it doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a real country and, so far, lacks the political will to make major adjustments to its ossified China policy and Taiwan policy? How can Taiwan make itself heard on the world stage when
Hypersonic weapons are defined as armaments capable of traveling at speeds faster than Mach 5 and can be broadly classified into two types: hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) and hypersonic cruise missiles. The former are launched into the upper atmosphere by ballistic missiles. The vehicle is then separated from the booster to maneuver, or glide, toward its target. The latter can be launched from a jet plane or rocket to reach supersonic speed before igniting a scramjet engine to achieve hypersonic speeds. As the US engages in a great-power competition with China and Russia, all three countries are racing to field hypersonic
The number of people emigrating from Hong Kong has been rapidly increasing, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data show, with the territory’s population dropping by 110,000 people from 2019 to this year. China’s imposition of a National Security Law has clearly triggered a massive population outflow. However, not only people but also foreign businesses are leaving Hong Kong. For example, Vanguard Group, the world’s second-largest asset management company, VF Corp and Sony Interactive Entertainment have moved their top regional management from Hong Kong to Singapore. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, has also relocated staff
Oppression is painful, and not being able to express it increases the pain 10-fold. This level of pain is something that Uighurs, Tibetans and Mongolians understand all too well. A question often posed to Uighurs in the international arena is: “You say you are facing genocide, but why don’t we see corpses, like in Rwanda and in Bosnia?” If you were a Uighur, what would you say? What if you replied: “The source of the problem is your lack of vision. It’s an indication of your weakness and China’s strength, and it is not a matter of our sincerity.” Such a harsh response would