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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Vietnamese actor 'a traitor'
We Were Soldiers
Vietnam disputes the historical basis of We Were Soldiers
One of Vietnam's most famous actors, Don Duong, has been labelled a traitor by the country's armed forces.

The Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) daily newspaper said the actor had betrayed his country by appearing with Mel Gibson in this year's war epic We Were Soldiers, and with Patrick Swayze in the 2001 refugee drama Green Dragon.

Calling Duong's actions "unforgivable", the newspaper said the "conscience-seller and traitor must be strictly disciplined".

Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City's Cinema Association has joined the attack on Duong
"By being a propagandist and a lackey of hostile forces, smearing the image of the People's Army soldiers and smearing the Vietnamese people, Don Duong has sold his conscience at a cheap price and has become a traitor," it said.

Ho Chi Minh City's Cinema Association joined the attack on Duong, with film director Duong Minh Dau saying the actor had insulted Vietnam by "turning his back on his country and his people".

Ho Chi Minh City authorities are considering banning Duong from travelling overseas, and preventing him from appearing in all movies for five years, said Nguyen Phuc Thanh, director of cinematic affairs at the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Mr Duong acted in We Were Soldiers, which claimed to depict the November 1965 battle of Ia Drang - the first major engagement between US troops and the North Vietnamese Army.

Banned

Many earlier film hits about the Vietnam War, including Apocalypse Now or Platoon, showed an uneasiness about the US intervention in the region.

But We Were Soldiers was seen as a flag-waving portrayal of American soldiers as heroes.

Vietnam has disputed the film's version of the battle, saying the events of 1965 proved that the country could stand and fight the US military.

Similarly, the Vietnamese government has objected to Green Dragon, based on the story of Vietnamese refugees housed in camps across the southwestern US in the mid-1970s.

Although both films are officially banned in Vietnam, pirate copies are widely available.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
04 Mar 02 | Entertainment
01 Mar 02 | England
16 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
17 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
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