China to boycott cinema awards in Taiwan

Mainland films, actors and filmmakers have been banned from participating in the ceremony

China’s national film board on Wednesday ordered mainland directors and stars to boycott Asia’s top cinema awards in Taiwan, as relations between Beijing and the self-ruled democratic island worsen.

Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, dubbed the “Chinese Oscars,” ran into trouble with mainland authorities last year after a Taiwanese winner called for the island’s independence in an acceptance speech. Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, even though the two sides have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

But it is unclear whether the speech incident was linked to the latest boycott.

The China film administration has “suspended mainland films and personnel” from participating in the awards in November, the body’s official newspaper said. “We certainly would feel regret if it was true,” Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Festival said in a statement, adding that related events will be held as scheduled.

Taiwanese presidential spokesman Ting Yun-kung called the boycott unfair to the Chinese people, and added it would be “unhelpful for positive exchanges between the two sides”.

Taiwan’s mainland affairs council said in a statement: “The incident shows that mainland China interferes in cultural exchanges.”

The move comes a week after China announced the suspension of individual travel permits to Taiwan “due to current cross-strait relations”.

Relations between Communist-ruled Beijing and Taipei have plummeted since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016 because her party refuses to recognise the idea that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

As punishment, Beijing has cut official communications, ramped up military exercises, poached diplomatic allies, and ratcheted up economic pressure on the island.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:49:44 PM |

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