HONG KONG • The Golden Horse Awards are now at risk of becoming a lame horse.
The latest blow comes from Hong Kong after Beijing on Wednesday banned Chinese film-makers and movies from participating in the event in Taipei this year.
Their Hong Kong counterparts are now beating a hasty retreat from the Nov 23 event, not wanting to incur the displeasure of the Chinese authorities if they do not follow suit. The authorities could ban their movies from China's huge market.
Reports said the backers of films such as The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords, starring Andy Lau and Louis Koo, and Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy, starring Nick Cheung and Francis Ng, are pulling them out from the Golden Horse competition.
One studio, Filmko Entertainment, said its artists will give the Taipei event - considered the Oscars of the Chinese-movie world - a miss.
Beijing, which considers Taiwan as part of China, was upset over what happened at the awards ceremony in Taipei last year.
Chinese censors cut out Taiwanese director Fu Yue's on-stage remarks after she won Best Documentary.
"I really hope that one day, our country can be treated as a truly independent entity. This is my greatest wish as a Taiwanese," she said.
Her stand upset Chinese actress Gong Li who refused to go on stage later to hand out an award.
The Chinese attendees boycotted a social function after the ceremony.
In July, the writing was already on the wall for the Golden Horse Awards when news came that China's Golden Rooster Awards would be held on Nov 23 this year.
Pundits observed then that the intentional clash of dates would force China's top movie stars and directors to skip the Taipei event, even if their works were up for prizes.
Now, Beijing has further tightened the screws, by banning movies from being put up for Golden Horse Awards' consideration.