At Saturday's ceremony, held in Taipei,
documentary film maker Fu Yue called for Taiwan to be recognized
as "an independent entity", sparking off a live sparring match
between mainland and Taiwanese stars at the glitzy show.
Mainland actor Tu Men, while presenting an award, referred to
Taiwan as "China Taiwan", while the chair of the awards
committee, Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee, told reporters
after the show that everyone was allowed to say what they wanted
to say on stage.
However, he added: "We hope that art can be art, and that no
political issues will interfere with it because art is very
Taiwan is self-governed and has a democratically elected
leadership, but China claims the island as a breakaway province
and has not ruled out the use of force to ensure unification.
The question of Taiwanese independence is one of Beijing's most
sensitive political concerns.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have grown since
pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen took power in 2016.
Taiwan is now preparing for local elections on Saturday, seen as
a bellwether for the ruling party's performance in the 2020
Tsai herself weighed into the debate on Sunday saying that
Taiwan had never accepted being called "China Taiwan".
"We can't accept this term. Taiwan is simply Taiwan," she said
on Facebook, adding she was "proud" of the awards ceremony which
"highlighted that Taiwan was different from China, that being in
our freedom and diversity".
"Taiwan is a democratic and open society," she said. "No one
here will be silenced or disappeared because they have different
views. We have no sensitive words that will be censored online."
Social media users also left close to 20,000 comments on Fu's
Facebook account after the show, with some criticizing her
support for Taiwan independence while others praised it. Some
said she should not have politicized the ceremony.
In a separate statement on Monday, Taiwan's ruling Democratic
Progressive Party said the criticism of Fu was an attempt at
"election interference from outside forces".
The Golden Horse Awards was one of the most discussed topics on
China's Twitter-like Weibo platform on Sunday, with a number of
mainland stars also posting supportive posts about China's
claims over Taiwan.
Among them was A-list Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing, who
earlier this year vanished for months from public view sparking
widespread rumors about her whereabouts. She was fined for tax
evasion last month and in her apology said her achievements were
inseparable from the Communist Party.
Her Weibo post was her first since she issued her apology last
"China cannot be reduced even just a tiny bit," she wrote,
alongside a map of Chinese territory, including Taiwan.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Yimou Lee in TAIPEI;
Editing by Nick Macfie)
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