The Golden Horse Awards are China's version of the Oscars, and at last night's telecast, Chinese audiences were greeted to a blisteringly controversial speech by Fu Yue, the director of Best Documentary winner “Our Youth in Taiwan.” In her acceptance speech, Yue called for Taiwan’s independence. “I hope one day our country will be recognized and treated as a truly independent entity,” Fu said. “This is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese."
Shock. If you didn't know, that's a major no-no in that part of the world. You can't call for an independent Taiwan in communist and government-controlled China. Does Fu Yue want to live to be a year older? Is she nuts? There has been tension between China and Taiwan for decades now. Even though Taiwan has been self-ruled since 1949, Beijing wants to hear none of that and still considers Taiwan to be a wayward province and has gone to great lengths to limit its independence. Most recently, Beijing pushed airlines to stop naming Taiwan a country.
ABC News reports that in heavily-censored China, a China Daily story on the controversial speech was read 8 billion times.
According to China Film Insider, the audience at the Golden Horse Awards reacted "awkwardly" to the speech. A domino effect ensued: Chinese actress Gong Li, there to announce the evening’s final winner, declined to come on-stage after Fu’s speech, actors and filmmakers skipped the post-ceremony dinner because of Fu, and a slew of post-ceremony celebrity parties were cancelled. Fu's Speech was immediately censored in China.
After the speech, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen celebrated on social media:
“We have never accepted the phrase ‘Taiwan, China’ and we never will accept this phrase, Taiwan is simply Taiwan,” Tsai wrote. “I am proud of yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards, which highlights the fact that Taiwan is different from China, and our freedom and diversity is why this is a land where artistic creations can be free.”