China Environmental News Digest

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Monday, May 15, 2006

China Film Crew Criticised for Harming Environment

May 12, 2006
BEIJING - The crew of China's most expensive movie, "The Promise" by Oscar-nominated director Chen Kaige, has been criticised for damaging the environment in a beautiful county called Shangri-la while filming.

The official China Daily, Xinhua news agency and other Chinese newspapers carried reports or editorials on Thursday criticising the crew for leaving rubbish around the Bigu Lake in the in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

"There is no doubt that film crews are to blame for their irresponsible actions," the English-language China Daily said in an editorial.

"The big names of film stars or directors should never be an excuse for showing no regard for relevant rules that protect the environment or for taking no responsibility for what they do," the newspaper said.

But producer and director Chen Kaige's wife, Chen Hong, rejected the charges, saying the crew had left "enough money" for the local government to deal with the aftermath, the Beijing Morning News said.

Earlier this week, Vice Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing was quoted as telling a forum that the film crew had abandoned a reinforced concrete structure on the lake's shore.

The film, part love story, party kung fu epic, debuted in Chinese theatres in December and was nominated for a Golden Globe as "Master of the Crimson Armor," its US title.

Chen made his debut on the world stage with his 1993 hit "Farewell My Concubine". "The Promise" is the most expensive film in Chinese history, with a budget of US$35 million, and was China's official entry in the best foreign film category at the Academy Awards in March.

But it opened to mixed reviews at home, with the China Daily calling it a "lame movie with more dazzling special effects but a less convincing, less interesting story".

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