Movie director rejects Taiwan Independence label

Chinese criticism comes ahead of holiday comedy release

(By Central News Agency)

        TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Just ahead of the release of a comedy which is expected to do well during the Lunar New Year holiday, Taiwanese director Chen Yu-hsun denied allegations from China that he was a supporter of Taiwan Independence.

        Similar accusations against other artists and entertainers in the past have led to their work being banned from China, at least for a period.

        Chen’s latest movie is “The Village of No Return,” the type of film which usually tops the box office during the Lunar New Year holidays. In addition, the comedy, about a Taoist priest who brings a mysterious weapon which wipes out villagers’ memories, also features Taiwanese superstar Shu Qi, Joseph Chang and Hong Kong comedian Eric Tsang.

        Chen previously directed the comedies “Zone Pro Site” and “Tropical Fish.”

        Chinese media reports recently described him as an opponent of the services trade pact between Taiwan and China, whose signing by the administration of previous President Ma Ying-jeou triggered massive protests on the island, with later also an occupation of the Legislative Yuan by student activists. While the accord was signed, it was never ratified by lawmakers.

        As a reaction to the accusations, Chen issued a statement Thursday denying he supported Taiwan Independence. “I have never had Taiwan Independence ideas, neither do I support Taiwan Independence, and I’m even less a Taiwan independentist,” his statement said.

        Chen hinted that nobody over the past 50-odd years had ever described him as an independence supporter, but now, just before the release of his new movie, some people suddenly came up with the unfounded accusation.

        He said he supported free trade pacts, but what he opposed was the manner in which lawmakers at the time handled the accord without taking public opinion and valid suggestions into account.

        Chen spoke out in support of closer ties between movie professionals from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, and for more tolerance and less misunderstanding.