Chinese netizens have been foaming at the mouth over Angelina Jolie’s statement in Shanghai that Ang Lee is her favourite Taiwanese—rather than simply Chinese—director. Jolie was in town to promote her new film Maleficent along with husband Brad Pitt when she said to AP interviewers, “I’m not sure if you consider Ang Lee Chinese, he’s Taiwanese but he does many Chinese language films with many Chinese artists and actors.” When the story exploded in the Chinese-language press, however, reports seized on her description of Ang Lee as Taiwanese, and even added that she “doesn’t believe Ang Lee is Chinese”—a detail not found in the original quote.
The “Wumao” Hordes assembled in force to condemn Jolie as a hardened supporter of Tibetan independence, but owing to internet censorship they were unable to name the very idea they so detest, and were forced instead allude to Tibetan independence as simply “zd” (zangdu).
“When Chinese internet users can freely type out the words ‘Tibetan independence’ then maybe they can start bragging,” one commentator from Taiwan responded. Others observed that “the psychological quality of the people of the Celestial Empire is so delicate, a tiny bit of teasing and they fall to pieces,” and “the Chinese have such fragile self-esteems, they simply cannot abide by any viewpoint other than what the Communist Party gives them.”
Some even suggested a boycott of all things Brangelina over the comments, until Taiwanese netizens reminded them, “Don’t you guys just watch pirated movies anyway?” The Chinese then had a better idea: “The best kind of boycott isn’t to not watch [their movies], but to watch pirated editions, and share them online!”
By Ryan Kilpatrick
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include the exact quote by Angelina Jolie as reported by the Associated Press