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Actor charges Taiwanese government with muzzling mainland star
2006-02-21 01:33:13 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


In this file photo, Chinese pop star Li Yuchun performs during MTV Music Honours Ceremony 2005 in Shanghai Grand Stage, November 25, 2005. (Photo/Reuters)

TAIPEI, Feb 21 (AP) -- Li Yuchun, winner of the Chinese "Super Girls" singing contest, was banned by the Taiwanese government from making public remarks while appearing at a concert in Taiwan, an organizer of the event said Tuesday.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. The two have thriving trade and cultural exchanges but some bilateral events are soured by lingering political tensions.

Yang Kuang-you, a veteran Taiwanese actor who invited Li and other mainland performers to the Sunday concert in Taipei, said Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council forbade them to speak to the news media.

"The Chinese ... asked why they must act like mutes in Taiwan while their Taiwanese counterparts are free to speak as they like on the mainland," Yang said.

The concert was broadcast on China's Southeast Television, which co-sponsored the event.

Southeast Television operates in Fujian province, which lies 150 kilometers (95 miles) across the Taiwan Strait.

MAC Chairman Joseph Wu denied the Taiwan government banned Li and the other Chinese from making public remarks, but admitted that some restrictions had been imposed on their actions.

He said authorities feared Southeast Television might use the concert to serve political purposes and "therefore we made some demands."

He did not elaborate.

Li, appearing in her trademark shaggy hair, captured the hearts of Taiwanese fans at the concert but largely shunned reporters.

"I've been a quiet person anyway," Taiwan's United Daily News quoted the 21-year-old singer as saying.

Her silence rankled some of her mainland fans.

"She seems to be treated as a panda in Taiwan," one said on Sina.com., a Chinese government-sanctioned Web site.

Last August Li garnered 3.5 million votes from fans all over China to win the final of the "Super Girls" competition -- an "American Idol"-type pop star contest -- on China's Hunan Satellite Television.

Chinese cultural writers said the "transgender appeal" of the lanky Sichuan province native helped her win votes from both male and female viewers.

Jonathan Lee, an acclaimed Taiwanese song writer, said the Taiwan government should have treated the Chinese as honored guests.

"When Taiwanese have performed on the mainland, we received a lot of assistance from the Chinese," he said.

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