Stars' citizenship weakens 'Cause'

Many Chinese film stars now hold foreign passports

BEIJING -- A patriotic Chinese film aimed at boosting national pride ahead of a key political anniversary has tempers rising instead, because many of the movie's stars are foreign citizens.

An online list shows that one quarter of the 80 celebrities affiliated with "The Great Cause of China's Foundation," being made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party rule, are legally foreigners.

Some of the stars, like Jackie Chan and Andy Lau, have been Hong Kong citizens all their lives, but action star Jet Li, now a Singaporean, and director Chen Kaige, who holds U.S. citizenship, were born in the People's Republic of China.

"So many people have run abroad," Han Han, a popular writer who first raised the issue, wrote in his blog. "That means China's foundation is far from complete."

A spokesperson for producers China Film Group Corp. was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that actors of any nationality could promote China's history and culture.

But that didn't pass muster with China's vocal online nationalists, who tend to adopt causes such as boycotts of French supermarkets and Japanese brands, and public denunciations of rich Chinese and multinationals for not contributing enough to relief efforts.

"You have the right to change your nationality," a Web user commented on "But please don't say you still love China anymore."

The People's Republic of China celebrates the anniversary of its founding in 1949 on Oct. 1, with a military parade and fireworks kicking off a week-long holiday.

This year, Beijing will issue nearly a million coupons to encourage people to watch patriotic films such as "The Great Cause of China's Founding" and "Tiananmen," which will debut in cinemas soon.