Taiwan Warns Against Banning Golden Horse Awards in Mainland China


Taiwan culture minister Lung Ying-tai says stopping coverage would be a backward step

Taiwan's culture minister Lung Ying-tai has warned that a rumored ban on coverage in mainland China of this year's Taipei Golden Horse Awards would be a backwards step in relations between the two rivals.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists lost the Chinese civil war with Chairman Mao Zedong’s Communists and fled across the strait of Taiwan in 1949. While the two are bitter rivals, and China considers Taiwan a renegade province, relations have become closer in recent years under the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou.

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"I feel it would be a great loss to China if the mainland does anything to boycott the Golden Horse Film Festival," Lung said.

There have been reports that the Chinese province Hainan, which is across the straits from Taiwan, has considered banning coverage of the awards over the film Kano, which has been nominated for six Golden Horse Awards.

"At a time when the mainland is working hard to make progress and connect with the international world, I would be unwilling to see them drive backward," she said.

Kano tells the story of a 1930s baseball team in Taiwan composed of Japanese, Han Chinese and Aboriginal players, and it portrays the period when Taiwan was controlled as a colony by Japan in a positive light.

It is the only Taiwanese film to be nominated for this year’s best picture award in the Golden Horse.

Local media have suggested that mainland China is particularly sensitive after recent the recent Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan and the Occupy Central democracy movement in Hong Kong.

More than 30 Chinese media outlets are registered to cover the awards so far.

This year's Taipei Golden Horse Awards are the 51st edition of the Chinese cinema honors and will cap off the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Often referred to as Taiwan's version of the Oscars, the Golden Horse Awards are the oldest and most established film honors in Chinese cinema.

The awards are dominated by mainland Chinese movies. Four out of the five nominees for the best director gong are from mainland China.

This year's awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 22 at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.