Monday, 10 March 2008

Tang Wei Blacklisted

Tang Wei Blacklisted - Last month Tang Wei shot a 30-second TV commercial for Ponds for which she was reportedly paid 6 million Yuan. That's not looking like such a smart investment now that the commercial has been pulled from television and the Lust, Caution star is said to be banned from the mainland media.

According to the Beijing Morning Post:

This reporter made calls to a number of major TV stations in Beijing and Shanghai, whose employees confirmed that they had pulled the Tang Wei advertisements. However, they said that they were only acting at SARFT's request. Reportedly, the stations received an order yesterday banning them from promoting Tang Wei in any form, including commercials featuring her as a spokesperson. However, most of the employees said that they had only heard about the ban from their leaders at staff meetings; they had not seen the document with their own eyes.

No reason was given, nor was Tang Wei's manager Cindy able to provide any information, so the Internet and print media were free to speculate on just what it was about Tang Wei that had upset the authorities.

The film itself had been the subject of controversy, with some critics accusing it of glorifying traitors. But it would be odd—even for SARFT—to punish an actor for that complaint. Speaking about the recent ban on Lost in Beijing, film censor Zheng Dongtian said: "When punishing a film, we'll never punish the actors."

Netizen dlm7882, who noticed that all Lust, Caution videos had been pulled from Youku (the title also pulls up zero results on Tudou and nothing relevant on 6 Rooms), wrote the following (taken from a Tianya repost):

I just learned that SARFT has issued a notice banning any form of promotion, including print news, photos, and video, for Tang Wei, with the threat of severe punishment. I don't know what you all think of this action by SARFT, but I am truly mystified.

I don't like Tang Wei at all, but I'll grant that her performance in that movie deserves affirmation. Overseas actors wouldn't give a second thought to that sort of thing, but because all kinds of problems in China, including the lack of a ratings system, Tang Wei has become a magnet for criticism. This is not fair at all. Look at how SARFT leader explain why they won't set up a ratings system—what ludicrous idiocy! The art of cinema is castrated once it arrives in China.

Coincidentally, I just watched Lou Ye's Summer Palace and saw Hao Lei's performance, which exceeded Tang Wei's in every way. This too was a shock: it's not easy for a Chinese actress to be so open. I don't say this to encourage actresses to shed their clothes, but rather because I think we ought to learn how to appreciate the performances they offer from the perspective of pure cinema rather than through dirty thoughts.

Reportedly, Ang Lee has turned up in Xinhua's Internal Reference and is now on the blacklist. To some degree, one could explain a ban on Ang Lee through his lack of concern for China's moral boundaries, but what's the point of banning Tang Wei? Are people jealous of her popularity? Those jealous people should go strip then, if they've got the guts.

Under this kind of ban, will the people took part in the filming of Lust, Caution be banned as well? If they aren't, then was an actress banned simply because she dared to shed her clothes on screen? If it comes out that this is the reason, what a disgrace it will be for both SARFT and Chinese cinema! When the shooting and screening of a film becomes solely a matter of politics, when it is nothing more than a tool in the hands of people trading money for power, is there any way for such a county's film industry to move forward?

On the other hand, from Tang Wei's perspective, it's all good: at least she can rest a little. No one will come to interview her now, I'd guess—they won't be able to publish anything, anyway.

Coincidentally, just yesterday the mainland media reported that viewers were complaining about a shampoo ad campaign featuring Cecilia Cheung, the Hong Kong actress who was a major figure in Edison Chen's pornographic photo scandal. According to the Chongqing Economic Times, viewers were concerned that Cheung's reputation would cause undue harm to children who happened to see the commercial.

and that's latest on Tang Wei Blacklisted

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