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Doubts arise over future of projects of 'tainted talents'

2014-10-16 09:08:41

(China Daily)


Taiwan actor Kai Ko, who was detained for two weeks in August on drug-use charges, is among the "tainted talents". Photo provided to China Daily

Going by recent developments in China, a star's career could end if the person is found to be involved in drugs or with prostitutes.

The State Administration of Press, Radio, Film and TV, the country's top regulator for media and films, released a document on Oct 9, stating that people in the business who use drugs or hire prostitutes will be banned from the big and small screens.

The regulator described such celebrities as "tainted talents", and barred them from appearing on TV, films, online dramas and commercials. Following the directive, many films and TV dramas are expected to face immediate delays in production or release.

Tiny Times 4, the latest installment of the film series that stars Taiwan actor Kai Ko, among others, was scheduled to be released in February, but industry insiders now believe this is unlikely. In August, police detained Kai, 23, in Beijing on drug-use charges. He was subsequently released.

The actor rose to quick fame with You Are the Apple of My Eye in 2011, a rom-com that was a massive hit across Asia. Kai has three films awaiting release later this year and in early 2015. When contacted by China Daily, Tiny Times scriptwriter and director Guo Jingming declined to comment.

The series' previous installments irked some Chinese cinema-goers because they showed the main characters' materialistic approach to life, in apparent depictions of present-day Chinese youngsters.

Monster Hunt, another film that stars Kai, is directed by Chinese-American animator-director Raman Hui, who co-directed Shrek The Third (2007).

A media conference by the Monster Hunt team scheduled for Oct 9 was canceled at the last minute.

Well-known director Wang Quanan and Kai are among the growing number of high-profile celebrities caught in scandals recently.

In the August crackdown, Jaycee Chan, son of kung fu star Jackie Chan, was also detained by Beijing police for using drugs and providing them to others, including Kai. Chan's latest role is in Chen Kaige's costume drama, Monk in a Floating World. The film's budget was more than 250 million yuan ($38 million), and it also stars Lin Chi-ling, a top model from Taiwan and mainland veteran Fan Wei.

Chinese director Wang Quan'an was detained for hiring prostitutes. Photo provided to China Daily

Senior producer Ben Ji is now preparing for a film written by Chen Wanning, another showbiz wizard, who was detained for drug-related offenses for one month earlier this year.

According to the new regulation, "tainted talents" include not only actors but also screenwriters.

"Actually we don't know what we can do now," says Ji. "The regulation gives no timetable, and only the authorities know how long the ban will last."

Ji's last film Color Me Love was also written by Chen Wanning. The film is now available on many video-streaming websites. As per the new rule, the film should be removed from such sites, Ji says.

According to renowned sociologist Li Yinhe, it is illegal to discriminate against someone after the person has served the required penalty for breaking the law.

"A basic principle of our legal penalty is that citizens, after the penalty, should not be discriminated against in life and career," Li wrote in her blog. "They enjoy the same rights as other citizens. To ban the talents from screens is clearly professional discrimination."

Huang Haibo, an actor known for his portrayal of loving husbands and boyfriends, surprised fans when Beijing police detained him in May for hiring prostitutes in a hotel. He has a girlfriend.

Huang is to stay in jail until November, news reports suggest.

Uncle Victory, a film in which he plays the lead role, was to compete at this year's Shanghai Film Festival in June, but was withdrawn from screening following Huang's arrest.

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