Each year, a local movie festival in Taiwan brings celebrities together to share dividends of cultural integration across the Strait. But, not all participants are aware of the sensitivity of one issue: the political and national identity of the island.
Miss Fu Yu, a young producer of a documentary called We Young People in Taiwan crossed the red line when she says how she wishes that one day Taiwan could be independent and be treated like such an independent entity. Gong Li, a superstar from the Chinese mainland, refused to co-host the ceremony with Ang Lee, a renowned Taiwanese director who won the Oscar for Sense and Sensibility. Actors and actresses from the Chinese mainland all boycotted a reception later on.
Spokesperson of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taipei immediately seized the opportunity to fuel public sentiments ahead of a local election and to benefit Madam Tsai Ing-wen's pro-secession party when her approval rating declined sharply over poor economic performance.
Will the media event favor the DPP as opposed to the blue camp of the Kuomintang (KMT), the biggest opposition party? The answer is "yes." Back in 2004，two mysterious gunshots that slightly hurt Chen Shui-bian, former leader of Taiwan, then a candidate on the campaign trail, were transformed into the victimhood votes to his political advantage and he finally won the election.
Electoral politics is very much like a witch-hunting game. Candidates miss no opportunities to demonize their political rivals. Now, will this event of the movie festival undermine the cross-Strait cultural exchanges in the future? No definite answer. But can an invisible Berlin Wall between the two sides be dismantled to let art return to art? It is a tragedy, isn't it?
I keep my fingers crossed for the boom of movies and showbiz to be free from politics and to have the fun of the entertainment business itself. I believe Chinese nationals in Taiwan also agree. Most of them refuse to be taken hostage by cross-Strait politics.
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