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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 12:57 GMT
Lee slates China 'ban' on actress
Warning: This story contains plot spoilers


Tony Leung and Tang Wei in Lust, Caution
Tang Wei won Taiwan's Golden Horse Award for her role in the film
Director Ang Lee has criticised a reported Chinese media ban on the leading actress in his award-winning erotic spy thriller Lust, Caution.

Chinese media were told to "immediately remove" any works featuring Tang Wei, Taiwan's United Evening News said.

"I am very disappointed that Tang Wei is being hurt by this decision," Lee told the Associated Press news agency.

The newspaper reported that the ban was said to be due to Tang's role in the film "beautifying" traitors.

"She gave one of the greatest performances ever in a movie that was properly produced and distributed. We will do everything we can to support her in this difficult time," Lee added.

Controversy

Tang was named best new performer at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, considered the Chinese-language Oscars, for her performance in the film in December.

The film also won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival last year.

Lust, Caution has caused controversy in China due to its explicit sex scenes and portrayal of unpatriotic behaviour.

In the film, set during Japan's occupation of Shanghai in the 1940s, Tang joins the Chinese resistance and is tasked with killing a powerful Japanese collaborator, but changes her mind at the last minute.

"Beautifying Japanese collaborators sparked the controversy over Lust, Caution in China even more than the sex scenes did," the report said.

Taiwan-born director Lee was spared blacklisting because he is an artistic advisor to the Beijing Olympics, industry watchers were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Zhang Pimin, deputy secretary-general at China's Film Bureau, told the Associated Press he had not seen any orders about a ban against Tang.

Many Chinese are still sensitive about the Japanese military's atrocities during its World War II-era invasion of China.

The Hollywood version of Memoirs of a Geisha was not released in the country amid speculation that officials feared the sight of Chinese actresses Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi playing Japanese geishas would spark a backlash.



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