Golden Horse awards hit by controversy over Taiwan


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Controversy has broken out at the Golden Horse awards amid a row over the status of Taiwan.

The 55th annual awards – dubbed the "Chinese Oscars" – were held in the Taiwanese capital Taipei on Saturday.

Fu Yue, who won the best documentary award, said in her acceptance speech that she hoped Taiwan would be recognised as "independent".

Her words appeared to spark opposition from mainland Chinese stars, while Taiwan's president has also waded in.

Taiwan's status is sensitive. The island has been self-ruling since 1949 but China regards it as a breakaway province it will reunite with one day.

Fu, whose documentary Our Youth in Taiwan was about the island's 2014 Sunflower Movement, said that "I hope one day our country will be recognised and treated as a truly independent entity. This is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese."

Mainland Chinese former Best Actor winner Tu Men then raised more eyebrows by saying he was honoured to present an award in "China, Taiwan" a phrase many Taiwanese object to. He added that the two sides were like a close family.

Later on Sunday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen spoke out, saying that Taiwan "never accepted the phrase 'China, Taiwan', and never would, because Taiwan is Taiwan".

"I am proud of yesterday's Golden Horse Awards, that highlights the differences between Taiwan and mainland China, because of our freedom and diversity, and this is why this is a place where artistic creations can be free," she added in a Facebook post.

Worries for future awards

By Cindy Sui, BBC News, Taipei

Politics got in the way last night and threatens future awards ceremonies.

Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee tried to defuse the tensions by calling for politics to be kept out of the awards. But leading Chinese actress Gong Li, chair of the jury, declined to stand on stage with him, reportedly because of the Taiwanese documentary winner's pro-independence comment.

Many Chinese celebrities reportedly did not attend the after-ceremony party and left Taiwan early.

This leaves Ang Lee, who chairs the Golden Horse committee, very worried about next year's awards. The festival and awards bring together the best in Chinese-language films. In the past, they've been able to avoid politics but not, apparently, in the current tense atmosphere.

Meanwhile, one of China's most acclaimed directors, Zhang Yimou, took home the most awards for his film Shadow.

Best Film went to novelist-turned-director Hu Bo for his first feature.

An Elephant Sitting Still was an adaptation of his own novel, which told the story of four people who run away from their troubles to search for a mythical elephant.

Hu took his own life in the Chinese capital Beijing last year, aged 29. His mother accepted the award on his behalf, thanking the jury and the audience.

The Golden Horse film awards: Who won what?

  • Best Feature Film: An Elephant Sitting Still
  • Best Director: Zhang Yimou, Shadow
  • Best Leading Actor: Xu Zheng, Dying to Survive
  • Best Leading Actress: Hsieh Ying-xuan, Dear EX
  • Best Supporting Actor: Ben Yuen, Tracey
  • Best Supporting Actress: Ding Ning, Cities of Last Things
  • Best New Director: Wen Muye, Dying to Survive
  • Best New Performer: Si Pangoyod, Long Time No Sea
  • Best Documentary: Our Youth in Taiwan
  • Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Saburo Liu

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