Shu Qi's agent threatens to sue newspaper over false reporting
AWARD-WINNING Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, who stars in Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, has become unwittingly embroiled in a heated exchange online over an alleged error in the film's description at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
Shu's agent on Saturday threatened to sue the local Liberty Times for falsely reporting on the incident.
The martial arts-themed film, a finalist for the famed Palme d'Or that premiered on Friday, became a lightning rod for netizens in China after it was reported that the organising committee named Shu's "country" of origin as "China".
According to a report from the Liberty Times, Shu protested against the error at a red-carpet event in Cannes, proclaiming: "I'm from Taiwan."
Netizens from China blasted the alleged comments, accusing the actress of harbouring support for Taiwanese independence, while Internet users from Taiwan lauded her for her apparent patriotism.
Shu's agent accused the newspaper of falsely reporting the actress' statement, saying that the incident did not transpire. In a press release, the actress' representative demanded the paper clarify its position and apologise or be faced with legal action.
In response, the paper said in a statement that it had cited the United Daily News as its source in the earliest report and it had corrected the story after fact-checking. The newspaper also highlighted the fact that Shu's agent singled it out for criticism.
Meanwhile, after officials in charge of The Assassin reported the biographical error in the Cannes programme, organisers corrected the error, listing "Taiwan" as Shu's "country" of origin. The official Cannes website now lists the film's "countries" of production as "Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, France".
Hou, the film's famed director, expressed his frustration, indicating that the Taiwanese media were not present during the event and were not clear about the situation.
"What's the point of harming someone while benefiting nobody?" he asked.
When questioned about the incident later by the media, Shu replied: "I don't have to defend or explain statements that I did not make."
THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK