BEIJING — Acclaimed Chinese helmer Zhang Yuan has been arrested on drugs charges after a raid on his Beijing home broadcast on local television.
The Beijing TV report showed police raiding his apartment where Zhang appeared to be taking various drugs with four four friends. The report also showed a urine sample in which Zhang tested positive for ketamine and crystal methamphetamine, or ice.
“I don’t know who you are and why you are in my apartment. This is inhuman,” a confused looking Zhang told police before he was taken away.
Indie fave Zhang, 45, is one of the “Sixth Generation” of Chinese film-makers alongside Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige. He made his reputation with the youth subculture pic “Beijing Bastards” in 1993 and also made China’s first pic with a gay theme, “East Palace, West Palace” in 1996.
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He won best director at the 1999 Venice Film Festival for the family drama “Seventeen Years” while the semi-autobiographical “Little Red Flowers” won kudos at the Berlinale. In 1994, Time Magazine named Zhang one of 100 young world leaders for the 21st century.
The report kicks off with a police raid on a post-production facility where police arrest cinematographer Xie Zhengyu and sound technician Wu Lala, who has worked on Zhang’s movies, as well as pics by Zhang Yimou. The commentary warns that in this Olympic year the government will crack down on all drug use, regardless of who is involved.
The arrest made all the papers in China. Local media say Zhang was unlikely to face formal charges but will probably have to complete a strict drug treatment.