What prompted Beijing to shun the 'Chinese Oscars'?

August 09, 2019 09:11
Mainland Chinese films and movie stars will be missing from the Golden Horse Awards event in Taiwan this year. Photo: HKEJ

The tension between Beijing and Taipei is heating up. China's film regulator said on Wednesday that mainland's movie industry has been barred from participating in Taiwan's Golden Horse film awards event.

China Film News, a magazine published by the China Film Administration, announced the development through a post on its WeChat account, revealing that China's movies and film stars and industry personnel are not allowed to take part in the upcoming Golden Horse Film Festival.

Golden Horse Awards, which have come to known as the "Chinese Oscars", is a prestigious event in the Chinese-speaking world. The event this year -- where the 56th Golden Horse Awards will be handed out -- is due to take place on November 23 in Taipei.

Several mainland blockbusters had been expected to be big winners in the 2019 festival.

Beijing had never blocked mainland movies from competing in Taiwan since the Golden Horse Awards began inviting submissions from mainland China in 1997, so the current ban marks a rare move.

One reason could be Beijing’s intention to avoid embarrassment.

Last year, the director of "Our Youth in Taiwan", which won the award for best documentary, made some comments about Taiwan independence during his acceptance speech. That sparked a debate between Taiwanese and mainland stars as well as netizens. Beijing might be worried that something like this might happen again this year.

Hong Kong could also be a factor. The mass demonstrations in Hong Kong in recent weeks have been getting on Beijing's nerves. Most Taiwanese support or sympathize with Hong Kong protesters.

Also, several movies about the sensitive Hong Kong and mainland China relations have been submitted. The ban could thus be seen as a precautionary move against Hong Kong issue surfacing during the event.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 8

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist