September 4, 2006

China slaps 5-year ban on film maker Lou Ye

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned director Lou Ye from
making movies for the next five years after he submitted
"Summer Palace" to the Cannes Film Festival without official
approval, state media reported on Monday.

Lou thumbed his nose at the film bureau by submitting his
movie, a romance set against the backdrop of the 1989 Tiananmen
Square protests that also features explicit sex scenes, without
first clearing the screening with China's censors.

"A senior official with SARFT (the State Administration of
Radio, Film and Television) confirmed the punishment to Xinhua
on Monday but refused to discuss the case further," the
official state news agency reported.

Calls from Reuters to the film bureau at SARFT went
unanswered and an official at the administration's general
office declined to comment.

Lou's 2000 film, "Suzhou River," won the top prize at the
Rotterdam Film Festival. "Purple Butterfly," a political
thriller set in 1930s Shanghai, starred superstar actress Zhang

The ban would be a blow to Lou, who said at Cannes that he
would consider changing the film to meet censors' demands in
order to ensure it could be screened in China, where
authorities place strict controls on what its citizens can see.

The Tiananmen protests, which the military crushed on the
night of June 3-4, 1989, remain one of the most sensitive
episodes of China's recent history and the government has
refused calls to reassess the wave of activism it condemned as