The Golden Horse Awards (金马奖), considered the Oscars of Chinese cinema, has broken with its 48-year tradition of inviting the previous year’s winners to present the next year’s awards by announcing its decision to rescind its invitation to Lü Liping (吕丽萍) to its 2011 event.
Lü, winner of the Best Actress Award in 2010, is the proud born-again evangelical who kicked off a massive maelstrom of debate last week with her enthusiastic retweets of homophobic comments by a Chinese pastor in Rochester, New York.
As mainstream media in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan leapt onto the story, public anger has showed no signs of abating. Indeed, the issue has become the one thing that everyone is talking about these days on Sina Weibo, now China’s number one microblogging platform.
In an official statement, the organising committee of the Golden Horse awards explained its decision by saying, “While the Awards cannot control speech by individual winners, it does not support nor agree with discriminatory remarks of any kind.”
Openly gay Hong Kong film maker Stanley Kwan (关锦鹏) has remarked he “cannot understand why so many religious people are so narrow-minded and unenlightened”. When asked if he foresaw any future cooperation with Lü, Kwan courteously replied “I have seen many of her works. She is a great actress. But whether a director must work with any particular great actress, that’s another matter altogether.”
Taiwanese directory Mickey Chen (陈俊志), who was recently in China for the Beijing Queer Film Festival, used the opportunity to put in a word for Sylvia Chang (张艾嘉) who was also nominated for Best Actress but lost the award to Lü. He said, “From this incident, one can clearly see just what sort of a person the actress is. Sylvia Chang chose to star in Rice Rhapsody [a gay film set in Singapore] to highlight her concern for a disadvantaged group. It’s clear who’s putting on a mask on stage, and who’s true to her life’s convictions.”
Over in Australia, the LGBT community is said to be planning to protest outside the theatre of the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, where Lü and her husband Sun Haiying (孙海英) are scheduled to be playing in the drama Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, on 9 and 10 July.
For his part, Sun, affectionately nicknamed by Chinese netizens as “cannon mouth Sun” (孙大炮), has been fuelling the furore on Weibo with more homophobic comments. Netizens have also ripped him apart for denouncing evolution as a lie, for his explanation of why China is called “神州”, or the land of God, and for inaccurately placing Amsterdam in Belgium.
On his Weibo account with 140,000 followers, Sun, a member of the Chinese Communist Party, has been actively highlighting notable people in Christianity who have made significant contributions to music, art and science. Sun held out effusive praise for the Italian Renaissance painters Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, for their many works of art based on biblical stories; and the Baroque compose Handel for his oratorio Messiah. As luck would have it, all of the above characters are understood by academics to be either gay or bisexual.
On the bright side, top Chinese celebrities from both sides of the straits have also been coming out against homophobia on Sina Weibo. A collection of some of their remarks follows after the jump…
Kevin Tsai (蔡康永):
Miss Lü, the gay people that you hate aren’t an abstract thing doesn’t feel the pain when injured, they’re people of flesh and blood! All the cast and crew you’ve worked with, the media folks that have written about you, the people who watch your movies and your supporters — do you know how many gay people there are among them? I don’t care what religion you’re of, but from the basic position of humanity, is it right for you to be fanning hate on a group of people who have made you who you are today?
Chang Hui-mei, A-Mei (张惠妹):
當天空昏暗 當氣溫失常 你用巨大的堅強總能抵擋 當尖銳眼光 當刺耳聲響 你用彩虹的浪漫 溫柔包裝 。。。加油！我親愛的同志朋友！
When the sky becomes cloudy and the heat is up, you can withstand it all with your great perserverance. When their shrill voices pierce your ears, you can embrace them with the rainbow. Jiayou! I love my gay friends!
Elva Hsiao (萧亚轩):
世界上只有祂可以评断我们 祂说 爱 是不分种族性別年龄阶级 在祂眼中 我们都是最珍贵的宝贝 我们都是独一无二 神爱世人也因神成为一家人 世人因神的爱得福得救 我爱家人 爱你康永哥
There’s only one Person in the world who can judge us. He said love transcends gender and age. In His eyes, we are all precious children. We are all unique. God loves the people of the world and through Him we are one big family. Because of His love we can be blessed. I love this family and I love you too, Kevin Tsai.
Christine Fan (范玮琪):
I support our gay friends. I have way too many cute, loveable and kind gay friends around me, and I have heard some of the greatest love stories happening in their lives 🙂 ^_^ I don’t think my support of them clashes in any way with my faith. It leads me to think of how great this world is and how God’s love is everywhere. It’s great.
Shen Ling 沈凌
Everyone has the right to choose the way they want to live. You can choose not to agree with them, but please do not curse or defame them. I love Kevin Tsai!
Ding Wu (丁武), guitaris and vocalist of the heavy metal band Tang Dynasty (唐朝)
All religions are founded on the principles of love and tolerance. Gay people have existed since the beginning of mankind. The talent and diligence they have are not worse than what heterosexuals have. I have absolutely no interest to watch films by actors who are constantly attacking others and who display no tolerance and love for other people.
Charlene Choi (蔡卓妍):
I have many gay and lesbian friends. They’re all great, wonderful people. It’s important for people to just have a kind heart. Isn’t that right?
Wu Peici (吴佩慈):
I love people who love courageously. If you happen to love someone of the same gender, is that not love too? My gay friends all need to love and be loved. Blessings!
Guang Liang (光良):
希望不要有一天他發現自己親人是同性戀，看他怎麼面對。我覺得世界上只有分好人跟壞人，沒有分同性戀或異性戀的人。至於到底什麼是對什麼是錯，只有上帝才是真正的審判者！難到一個異性戀的壞人會上天堂？難到一個同性戀的好人會下地獄？God only knows!
I hope she doesn’t realise some day that she has family members who are gay. How would she face them? I think there are only good and bad people in the world, no gay or straight. As for what’s right or wrong, only God can be the final judge! Can a heterosexual bad person enter heaven? Or a good homosexual person enter hell? God only knows!
Anthony Wong (黃耀明):
It is unbelievable that in a society that is in pursuit of “harmony” that Lu Liping would believe that her truth is the one and only truth and that all other people are lost. Comrade Lu Liping, do you know what’s the meaning of agreeing to disagree?
Annie Yi (伊能靜), host of China’s Got Talent:
Ke Lan (柯蓝):
Respect and homosexuality are two different matters. People all over the world know respect.
Song Dandan (宋丹丹):
I hear that all the DNA in our human body when joined together is as long as 300 billion metres or 100 times the distance between the sun and the earth. Even travelling at the speed of light, you’d need one day to cover this distance. How much do we know about ourselves? Why should anyone need to fight against their own DNA to be the same as other people? You have the right to be yourself as long as it is not against the law. Love is heaven’s best gift to mankind, whether it’s between two people of the same gender or different gender. If it’s true love, it is worthy to receive our blessing.