Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou and thesp Gong Li are unlikely to win any kudos for political commitment: Both stars were slapped on the wrist for not attending last week’s annual parliament meeting in China.
Zhang, Gong and five other celebrities failed to show for the gathering of the legislature’s advisory body, the weightily named National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
“Celebrity members of the CPPCC have courted public criticism for their conspicuous and repeated absence from the top political advisory body’s annual full sessions,” the official news agency Xinhua tut-tutted.
Zhang, helmer of “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers,” and former partner Gong, who starred in “Memoirs of a Geisha,” were said to be filming and couldn’t attend.
The National People’s Congress takes place in the Great Hall of the People, a massive, red-flag-bedecked room with seating for 10,000.
The Congress’ choreographed applause and unanimous approval of the bills on offer are a throwback to the Cold War era, but it is more than just a talking shop, as it can provide insight into Communist Party thinking on contemporary issues.