Calm advised in war of words with HK actor

Updated: 2014-05-07 07:11

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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Cultural and communication professionals say that mainlanders should tone down their verbal attacks against a Hong Kong actor who has angered some netizens with his recent political comments.

The war of words is playing into the hands of people who want to stir up trouble between the mainland and Hong Kong, observers said.

The actor, Chapman To, recently angered mainlanders with several controversial comments online that led some netizens and celebrities to call for a boycott of him and his films.

The spat between To and the mainland netizens began in March, when To voiced support for Taiwan residents who were protesting the Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement. To said some mainlanders are "self-righteous".

Some mainland netizens, such as a micro-blogger named A Yong, 55, said that To's comments show him to be anti-mainland, and he hopes more mainlanders refuse to go to the actor's movie that is being released in May.

But some cultural and media researchers do not think the proposal is reasonable, and have called on mainland netizens to calm down.

Cheng Manli, a professor specializing in media and communications at Peking University, said the boycott calls are irresponsible.

Cheng confirmed that such demands will have an adverse effect on To's movies, while acknowledging that the actor, as a public figure, was careless with his words.

"We can have different opinions about what To said, but we should also respect his works. The two things must be separate," she said. Netizens should not make the online arguments political, she added.

Calm advised in war of words with HK actor

"After all, the argument and the boycott cannot solve the real problem. Instead, it may aggravate conflicts between Hong Kong and the mainland," she said.

"We cannot deny that someone intends to stir up trouble with the verbal battle."

Wu Tengfei, a writer registered with his real name on Sina Weibo, Chinese largest micro-blog service, suggested other people learn to accept different voices and ideas online.

"We can disagree with someone on some things, but we cannot blindly resist those who have different opinions from ours," Wu said in his micro blog on Monday.

On Friday, an entertainment reporter in Guangdong posted on a micro blog that Let Go For Love, a movie starring To, has earned less than 1 million yuan ($160,000) since it was released at the end of April.

The reporter also suggested that the To movie Aberdeen, which will be released on Thursday, should have To's performance edited out, or mainlanders will not watch the film.

The micro blog got a lot of attention among mainland netizens last weekend, while To's comments in March were mentioned again as the information was forwarded.

By 6 pm on Tuesday, the post had been forwarded more than 88,450 times.

Popular Hong Kong moviemaker Pang Ho-cheung, who wrote and directed Aberdeen, said on his micro blog on Monday that all he can control is actors' performances in a movie and not what they do in their personal lives.

Pang said that the movie also belonged to other actors, and his goal is to provide a complete film for audiences.

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