Chinese state media plan to boycott the Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony in April, purportedly over the politically-charged movie 10 Years, which has been nominated for best picture.
Derek Yee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association, confirmed that CCTV and mainland online content juggernaut Tencent are refusing to broadcast the 35th annual ceremony, slated for April 3, after both outfits had obtained live broadcast rights. Tencent had even signed a contract and made a deposit.
According to news reports, Beijing's office of network security issued an order to block 10 Years, an independent movie comprising five fictitious vignettes depicting a bleak Hong Kong, set in 2025, after ten years under mainland China's control. China's state-controlled Global Times slammed the movie as "totally absurd" and "promoting despair."
According to some reports, mainland China will also ban live broadcasts of Taiwan's 2016 Golden Horse Awards, following the election of President Tsai Ingwen, the leader of Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The executive committee of the Taiwanese film awards show, however, said it had not heard of the ban and it is still in talks with mainland Internet media about broadcast contracts.
Some analysts in Hong Kong criticized China's ban as "not helpful in winning hearts and heads."
"It will deepen China's rift with Hong Kong and Taiwan," said Deng Xiaohua, a Hong Kong-based writer and critic. "The distance between cultural creativity and reality makes us think. Beijing should not have such a big political reaction, as it will just provoke greater resentment."
Taiwan Minister of Culture Hong Mengqi on Monday called upon Beijing to have confidence in itself, not to interfere in cross-strait cultural exchanges from an ideological point of view.
He said that Taiwan Golden Horse has always adhered to the spirit of openness and freedom, and that mainland policies won't change that. Only with freedom, can there be creativity and good works, he said.
Mainland China's CCTV began live broadcasts of Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards in 2001.
Produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin Service.