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Mainland movie industry skips Taiwan film festival as cross-Straits ties worsen

(China Daily)    08:05, August 08, 2019

China's film regulator has suspended participation of mainland movies and personnel in the 56th Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei in November amid rising tensions across the Taiwan Straits.

China Film News, a magazine published by the China Film Administration, reported the news on Wednesday without giving any reason for the suspension.

Chen Xing, a Taiwan studies professor at Beijing Union University, said the move was due not only to "Taiwan independence" remarks during last year's award ceremony at the festival, but also to the recent worsening of cross-Straits relations.

The organizing committee of the festival in Taipei responded by letter on Wednesday that it was disappointed by the news but the event would go on as scheduled.

A total of 148 feature films have been registered with the festival this year, compared with last year's 228, according to the organizing committee.

The Golden Horse Awards are one of three major film honors in the Chinese-speaking region — the two others are the Golden Rooster Awards on the mainland and the Hong Kong Film Awards. Mainland participants have been big winners since they began attending the event in 1996. Last year, they won about 60 percent of the awards.

However, last year's Golden Horse Awards ceremony was overshadowed by "Taiwan independence" remarks, triggering discontent from mainland participants and anger from the mainland public.

Documentary director Fu Yue, the best documentary award winner last year, said in her acceptance speech that her biggest dream is that "our country"— referring to Taiwan — can be regarded as an "independent entity".

Mainland actress and jury chair Gong Li later refused to join Taiwan-born director Ang Lee, head of last year's executive committee, onstage to present the award for best feature film, a move many interpreted as a protest.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said in November after the event that film industry professionals on both sides of the Straits should oppose such pro-independence acts and remarks.

He said the festival is a platform for film professionals across the Straits to communicate with each other, but some political forces made use of the occasion to create political trouble.

The suspension follows a recent travel policy change. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced last week that the issuance of permits for mainland individuals to travel to Taiwan will be suspended starting in August due to the current cross-Straits relations.

Ma said last week the Democratic Progressive Party's "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities led to the suspension of individual travel permits to Taiwan.

"They have been constantly fomenting hostility toward the mainland and creating confrontation across the Straits, which destroyed the foundation and conditions for such travel," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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