Thu, Aug 08, 2019 - Page 1 News List

MAC decries cultural exchange meddling after Beijing severs Golden Horse ties

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday urged China to cease its interference in cross-strait cultural interactions, after Beijing announced that it would ban all Chinese films and actors from this year’s Golden Horse Awards.

Such acts would only cause the international community — as well as both sides of the Taiwan Strait — to see China in an unfavorable light, the council said.

The Golden Horse Awards enjoy great international renown and participating is considered to be a great honor, it said.

China should respect the right of Chinese directors and actors to attend the festival and allow people across the Strait to share their works with each other, it added.

When asked about the decision, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Deputy Director Long Mingbiao (龍明彪) said that the political situation in Taiwan “will bring a great many problems.”

Long confirmed that the decision was tied to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration and denied that it signified a complete cessation of cross-strait interaction for the film industry.

“It is more of a temporary pause,” Long said.

However, when asked when interactions would resume, he only said: “We will see.”

Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said that China is wrong if it thinks such actions could “punish” Taiwan.

“Taiwan will not become the greatest loser,” she said, adding that the nation’s film industry is open to everyone, including Chinese directors and actors.

Art and culture should be borderless and apolitical, Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said, adding that it was not a smart decision to ban people from attending the awards, regardless of the reason.

It is worrying that China is cutting its citizens off from a renowned film festival that encourages freedom of creativity and embraces a plurality of views, Ting said.

Chinese director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) would not be attending as a result of the decision, despite having directed the favorite for the Best Feature Film award, One Second (一秒鐘).

The awards have faced major challenges in the past, including only receiving 28 film submissions in 2003, but they are still considered to be professional and fair, said Li Ya-mei (李亞梅), a senior film producer and director of the Taipei Film Festival.

“The Golden Horse Awards must weather this difficult time with the support of Chinese-language films from Taiwan, Hong Kong and other countries,” she said.

Veteran director Lee Hsing (李行) said he hopes that China would not continue the ban for the next five to 10 years, as Beijing’s strict supervision of the film industry means that it is incapable of organizing a film festival such as the Golden Horse Awards, which covers a wide range of mainstream and niche films.

The Golden Horse Awards ceremony is to be held on Nov. 23 at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.

Additional reporting by CNA

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