Chinese mainland suspends films, film personnel from participating in Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards
Some people in Taiwan take festival as chance to preach politics: expert
Published: Aug 07, 2019 12:43 PM

Feng Xiaogang poses for photos after winning the Best Director award for his movie "I Am Not Madame Bovary" at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, Nov. 26, 2016. The awarding ceremony of the 53rd Golden Horse Awards was held here on Saturday. (Xinhua)

Chinese mainland film authorities have banned Chinese mainland movies and artists from participating in November's 56th Golden Horse Film Festival on the island of Taiwan. 

The China Film Administration gave no further details in its announcement of the ban. 

The announcement came exactly a week after mainland authorities halted a pilot program for individual mainland tourists from 47 cities to visit Taiwan.

Long Mingbiao, vice director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said the latest decision was a "temporary suspension" rather than a "total severance," Taiwan-based news site reported 

Long said the reason behind the suspension was clear to all, which was that the "politi­cal situation and political ecolo­gy of Taiwan would breed many problems." 

Mainland filmmaking industry insiders linked the ban to secessionist comments made at last year's film festival in November. 

Many Chinese mainland internet users expressed outrage last year when Taiwan filmmaker Fu Yu expressed her support for "independence of Taiwan" in her award acceptance speech.

Later in the evening, Chinese mainland actress Gong Li, the jury chair, expressed her opposition to Yu by refusing to take the stage and present an award. And following that, mainland filmmakers and actors did not attend a dinner in protest that same evening.

The festival will be in a "very awkward position" without Chinese mainland personnel and movies, as "more and more movies from the Chinese mainland are winning applause worldwide and are making their presence in the film festival,"Shao Zhong-hai, a former head of the school of social sciences at Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Politics has affected the judgment of this film festival in recent years, asserted Shi Wenxue, a teacher at Beijing Film Academy.

"Film personnel in the mainland used to take the festival as an 'art palace,' while some people in Taiwan take it as 'chance to preach politics,'" Shi told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The festival is losing its appeal on the Chinese mainland anyway, Shi said, noting that without the participation of Chinese mainland films, it is just a "self-entertaining regional festival." 

Even before the Chinese mainland film authority's statement, many Chinese mainland filmmakers already made it clear they would steer clear of this year's festival, Shi said. 

The Zhang Yimou movie One Second and Lyceum Theatre, starring Gong Li, were not registered for the festival, according to previous media reports.

Awards from this festival are "just a bonus," said a Chinese mainland independent film director, who requested anonymity. 

It is more important for filmmakers from the Chinese mainland to make a gesture and fight back against inappropriate behavior and comments by some artists at the festival, he said. 

The Chinese mainland ban sends a tough message against secessionists, Yang Lixian, a research fellow at the Beijing-based Research Center of Cross-Straits Relations, told the Global Times. 

The executive committee of the Golden Horse Awards informed the Global Times Wednesday that they regretted the ban but festival activities would continue as usual.