The message from U.S. Congress: We’re still here.
Speaking Thursday at the first full committee hearing of the House of Representative’s Committee on Foreign Relations specifically about Taiwan in seven years, the Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen noted a “new spirit of appeasement in the air” as she argued the U.S. must not back down from its relationship with Taiwan due to pressure from China, and that it should support the island with the sale of new F-16s and upgrades to its existing planes.
Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit! Yesterday, thousands of onlookers gathered in Chinatown to celebrate the 12th annual Lunar New Year parade. The festivities included floats, costumes, musicians, dancers, and plenty of good ol’ Chinese-American times. If you couldn’t attend the event because you were too busy preparing your infamous nacho dip or applying your decorative face paint for last night’s Super Bowl, take a look at what you missed.
First it was a fishing boat, then a panda. Now it’s film festival name tags.
In the latest chapter of the deepening diplomatic drama between China and Japan, China has announced that it will no longer participate in the 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival after controversy erupted over the naming of the event’s Taiwanese delegation.
Jiang Ping, head of a Chinese group that planned to attend the film festival–which kicked off this weekend–said China would pull out of the event because fellow participant Taiwan refused to change its name to “China’s Taiwan” or “Chinese Taipei.” Mr. Jiang’s insistence came at the last minute Saturday, and prevented a number of Taiwanese and Chinese celebrities from making their star-studded appearances on the environmentally friendly green carpet.
Nine Chinese-language films set to be screened during the event will be pulled, while plans for two other films set to be shown as part of the festival’s competition portion are uncertain, the Global Times reported. A spokesman for one of the films told the paper it would still compete in the festival, while representatives of the other film said they would follow instructions from China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and TV.
Just in case observers got confused about the target of China’s ire, Jiang, who is also deputy director-general of SARFT’s film bureau, emphasized to state media that the blame lay not with the Taiwan festival delegation, but with the Japanese organizers: “It has nothing to do with our Taiwan compatriots. It is the fault of the Tokyo organizers,” he told the Global Times.
But Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that Chen Chih-kuan, the head of the Taiwanese delegation, was surprised at Beijing’s decision. The island had simply applied for the event under the name “Taiwan” as it had done without incident in years past, he said. Taiwanese officials called the move by Beijing “rude.”
“Obviously, the leader of the Chinese delegation, Jiang, made a serious mistake. We have participated in film festivals, including the Tokyo [Film Festival] under the name of Taiwan for years,” Premier Wu Den-yih said.
CNA reported that Taiwanese actress Vivian Hsu broke into tears during a press conference Sunday in Tokyo while discussing the Mainland’s move, which prevented her and others from making their carpet debut.
It is not the first time China has withdrawn from a film festival as a form of political protest. Last year, several Chinese filmmakers pulled out of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia’s largest, to protest its inclusion of a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled Uighur leader whom Beijing has accused of inciting violent protests in its volatile Uighur-dominated Xinjiang province.
The move is only the latest in a series of rifts between China and Japan, following last month’sdiplomatic spat after a Chinese fishing vessel collided with two Japanese patrol boats in an area near islands over which both China and Japan claim sovereignty. Following that incident, the two countries have also argued publicly over the death of a panda at a Japanese zoo, the arrest of four Japanese construction company employees at a Chinese military site and China’s rare earth exports to Japan. Popular protests have ignited in cities on both sides.