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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Vietnamese actor faces ban
We Were Soldiers
Vietnam disputes the historical basis of We Were Soldiers
Vietnamese actor Don Duong, called a "national traitor" for his role in the US film We Were Soldiers, could be banned from acting in his home country.

On Thursday the country's authorities said they were still deciding how he would be punished for his participation in a "distorted" film version of the Vietnam war.


He could be punished for going abroad with a wrong purpose

Department of cinematography
The actor has come under heavy criticism from the Vietnamese army and newspapers for his movie work, which also includes a part in Green Dragon, about a refugee camp for Vietnamese in the US.

"The movie We Were Soldiers did not reflect correctly the truth of history of the just war by the Vietnamese people, not forming the image of the soldier of the Vietnamese People's Army," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh.

Ms Thanh also said that Green Dragon "distorted the reality" of the events it portrayed.

Ho Chi Minh City
Duong lives in Ho Chi Minh City
"It is very regrettable that an actor who used to enjoy the popularity in Vietnam who took part in big movies now has taken part in movies that damage his own image," she said.

But, she added: "Actor Don Duong is not arrested, not in jail or barred from travelling as reported."

A senior official at the culture ministry's department of cinematography said they had not reached a final decision on what to do about Mr Duong.

"He could be punished for going abroad with a wrong purpose, eventually to work in movies but not to visit relatives as he had stated," she said.

Mr Duong, 45, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City and has appeared in dozens of Vietnamese films, has not commented publicly on the reports.

We Were Soldiers and Green Dragon, although banned in Vietnam, are widely available as pirate videos.

He has family in the US, who have begun a letter-writing campaign which has drawn the support of Mel Gibson and others in Hollywood.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
19 Sep 02 | Film
01 Mar 02 | England
16 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
17 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
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