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Movie-star-turned-political-advisor counters public barrage

By Wang Wen (Xinhua)

09:56, January 27, 2013

LANZHOU, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- A local Chinese political advisor, thrown into the spotlight over her background starring in softcore porn movies, has asked the public to judge her based not on her past but on her performance in coming years.

"For the past three days, I've attended the annual session on time and carefully taken notes about other advisors' proposals, despite the fact that I should be busy promoting my upcoming film and TV series," Peng Dan told Xinhua on Friday after suspicion spread online over the legitimacy of her political role.

An actress who used to star in Hong Kong's softcore porn movies, or "Category III" films according to Hong Kong's motion picture rating system, Peng was given a seat at the ongoing Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

More than 300,000 comments about Peng's appointment have been posted on Twitter-like Sina Weibo since the news broke on Tuesday.

Many web users said Peng's past experience in such movies means it is inappropriate for her to participate in the country's political process.

"The annual political should be very serious. It's not a gala packed with movie and sports stars or the nouveau riche," said a netizen with the screen name "Kunlunlin."

On her microblog, Peng asked web users to assess her political work in the next five years before they rush to deem her incompetent.

She urged people not to stereotype her, pointing out she had starred in different types of movies, including more than 30 films on Chinese revolutionary history.

"I understand people who do not know me think I became a political advisor only for show, but actually I see it a huge responsibility," said Peng, adding that she considered the annual session a learning opportunity.

She said she was moved when listening to speeches by the secretary of the Gansu Provincial Party Committee and the chairman of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the CPPCC.

Others have raised suspicions that she got the position because of her fame or money instead of a political commitment.

The United Front Work Department under the Gansu Provincial Party Committee responded on Friday to the controversy.

Peng was nominated by the Central Committee of China Zhi Gong Party on the basis of her starring in patriotic movies. The nomination was then approved on the 21st meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th Gansu Provincial Committee of the CPPCC, sources from the department said.

She was one of the 19 political advisors legitimately elected from the culture and arts sector, according to the sources.

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