Mainland China hailed Taiwan-born director Ang Lee for his “Brokeback Mountain” Oscar win, but state media censored references in his speech to Taiwan and homosexuality — both taboos in China.
Accepting the kudos, Lee thanked Taiwan, China and Hong Kong in Chinese and also expressed his thanks to the two gay cowboys in “Brokeback.” Neither reference made it onto Chinese state television.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade territory and says it will take back the self-ruled island by force if it tries to follow a pro-independence course. Homosexuality is still a largely taboo subject in China, meaning “Brokeback” will not make it past Chinese censors.
The front page of the state-run China Youth Daily was ecstatic that Lee said “thank you” in Chinese, while the China Daily said Lee was “the pride of the Chinese people all over the world, and he is the glory of Chinese cinematic talent.”
There was even praise from delegates at China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, meeting in Beijing.
“I want to congratulate Lee on his success. I haven’t got the chance to watch his ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ but I have always liked the elegant and graceful style of his movies,” said Huang Shuqin, a helmer taking part in the annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Chinese government’s top advisory body.
Huang said Chinese helmers should learn from Lee about script selection, production and his strict adherence to his own style.
Feng Xiaoning, a helmer best known for war movies, said the key to Lee’s success lay in “digging deep into the rich Chinese culture and national tradition.”