Golden Horse Awards becomes major China/Taiwan issue, bunch of celebs involved

The Golden Horse Awards are basically China’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, and they were recently hit by quite the bit of controversy on both sides of the China/Taiwan issue rose during and after the 55th annual ceremony that’s held in Taiwan.

Struggling to hold back tears in her acceptance speech after winning the year’s Best Documentary award, filmmaker Fu Yue touched off a firestorm when she declared, “I hope one day my country will be treated as an independent entity. This is my greatest hope as a Taiwanese.” Fu’s film, Our Youth in Taiwan, documents the experiences of three young people, including herself, in the Sunflower Movement, a student-led movement in 2014 which saw protestors occupy the legislature. The blowback was immediate. Livestreams of the awards ceremony on the Chinese mainland were immediately interrupted as angry netizens scaled the Great Firewall to leave comments on the director’s Facebook page by the thousands, denouncing her as a “separatist” and “traitor”.

Comments made earlier by Zhang Yimou while presenting the Best New Director award also rubbed Taiwanese fans up the wrong way. “All these works by so many young directors carry the hope and future of China’s film industry,” he said. When Tu Men, last year’s winner of the Best Leading Actor, took the stage to present the award for this year’s winner, he upped the ante by saying, “I feel very honored once again to be invited once again to the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, China, this time to present an award.” “I’ve met many old friends, and made many new ones too. Truly, we are one big family on both sides of the straits,” he added.

Though as you can imagine, the support came in hot and heavy to back the Chinese side of things, and most of the outrage is directed at the Taiwanese side, with all the big-name celebrities coming out in support of state-run media posts on the issue.

If this sounds familiar to the South China Sea issue that cropped up over two years ago, then I don’t think you’re far off. As I said back then, this type of compliance from celebs is essentially mandatory to keep your career there.

As long as China maintains that celebs have to be nationalistic mouthpieces or have their careers ended by the mobs, celebs will be forced to parrot whatever or be branded traitors, but also those celebs with inevitably piss off other (smaller) markets with stances like this.

So it’s pragmatic, but also whenever anybody gets dragged into a political dispute like this and takes the nationalistic side, fans can’t really be upset if their faves get criticized or some people aren’t fans. Kinda comes with the package.

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