January 17-24, 2006

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Language exchange

"The most important characteristic of a chief executive of any region is that he or she should be a noble person."

- Li Ka Shing, business tycoon from Hong Kong, on the topic of the special administrative region's future chief executive. see more

Arabian delights

CHEF Tarek Mouriess carried about 10 kinds of ingredients in his suitcase on his flight to Shanghai to host an Arabic Food Promotion at the Hilton Shanghai.
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SARFT responds to public criticism of "Geisha movie"

By Zhang Kun

The Hollywood movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" will not be premiered in China on February 19, as originally planned, the China Film Company has said.

The dubbing of the movie has been stopped at the Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio. The China Film Company confirmed that the movie will not be shown in Chinese mainland cinemas in the near future.

The movie, from director Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), stars three top Chinese actresses (Michelle Yeoh is Malaysian, but her movie career has mainly been in Chinese Hong Kong).

Strong criticism from the Chinese public accompanied the making of the movie, ever since Steven Spielberg first became interested in making it, with Maggie Cheung playing the heroine.

People have criticized Zhang Ziyi for taking the role of a Japanese prostitute. A comment on Eastday.com reads: "I was injured in the 'War of Resistance against Japan' and I won't go to see a movie like that."

Columbia Pictures, the distributor of the movie, was aware of the sensitivity of the subject. A formal copy was sent to China in advance to be played to officials from the SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television).

According to the Shanghai Youth Daily, the movie passed the SARFT inspection, and Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio started to work on the translation. Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi both agreed to dub their own roles in the Chinese version. But then the translated script was sent to SARFT for further inspection, and this time failed to receive a notice of approval.

"You say it passed the inspection, where is the proof?" said Gu Min, a staff member of the Shanghai United Circuit, the largest film distributor in town. "A movie receives a licence if it passes the inspection, but so far, we haven't seen the licence for this movie," he explained.

According to the Shanghai Youth Daily, the largest obstacle to the movie's release in China is that the government is afraid that the film content may outrage the audience. SARFT has been receiving letters from the public almost every day protesting against the movie's release in the Chinese mainland.

Ironically, pirate copies of the movie have been available in the local market since early January. Viewers left a variety of messages on the Internet: "The rhythm is too slow. Several women had a lengthy conversation at the beginning, made me sleepy." "Bad plot and characters, didn't carry out the cultural connotation of the 'Geisha'."

Gong, a star in the movie, won higher applause from local audiences for her performance than the heroine, Zhang.

"The movie has received lots of public attention. It would be a shame if it can't be shown," said a staff member from the United Circuit.


Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence



End of the Dream
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Auto fans melt away
With the approach of the Formula One Grand Prix, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, was worried about how to attract enough spectators to the circuit and rev up sluggish fan interest in the event.
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Under artificial eyes

FOR most customers, CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras installed in shops, banks, buses or metro stops and many other places, merit little attention. But for Xiao Gang, such cameras have become an agonizing and confusing problem.

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