‘Lust, Caution’ Actress Tang Wei ousted from propaganda film

May 12, 2011Jing Gao2 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When actress Tang Wei was invited to join the all-star ensemble cast of the epic propaganda film The Founding of A Party (‘The Party’ for future references in this article), people might have thought that eventually the state regulator had given her the green light to return to the big screen after she was barred from media attention for her sexually explicit performance in the spy thriller Lust, Caution three years ago.

No one expected that Tang Wei’s scenes would be completely wiped out later on.


Tang Wei (third from the left) attends a press conference for The Party with cast and crew. Actor Liu Ye (second from the right) plays young Mao Zedong.

The Party is a tribute to the 90th birthday of the ruling Communist Party of China this year. As a prequel to The Founding of A Republic, a 2009 star-studded film presented to celebrated the 60th anniversary of People’s Republic of China, The Party casts 178 well-established entertainers, including Andy Lau, Chow Yun-fat, and Russian singer Vitas, to brighten up the otherwise drowsy and clichéd historical and revolutionary theme and attract young audience. Many of the stars are participating on a pro bono basis. (Seriously, who would haggle over a state-backed propaganda film?) Some will only have cameos and guest roles.

Tang Wei was announced by the film producer to play Tao Yi, the first lover of Mao Zedong and a female revolutionist. According to the plot, Tao Yi and Mao Zedong fell in love during the late 1910s, but broke up over political differences. Tao never married and died early.

tang wei01

Left: A picture of Tao Yi. Right: Tang Wei as Tao Yi wearing costume.

Tang Wei02

Director Huang Jianxin said when talking about casting of the film at the press conference that there had been consensus among the crew that Tang was perfect for the role of Tao Yi. She embodies the fresh, youthful spirit of students, then and now, which Tao Yi personified,” Huang said. The film crew was also reportedly gratified with Tang’s professionalism, and that it made working with her a pleasure.

“I’m very happy to play the role of Tao, a revolutionary woman with her own ideas. But it hasn’t been easy. I think hard about my every line and move in portraying Tao’s beliefs and aspirations,” Tang said.

Right now, the filming and production is over. The film is to premiere next month. However, a grapevine first disclosed on Sina microblog that Tang Wei’s scenes will be deleted from the final cut; nor will her name appear in any poster, forthcoming premiere or the closing credit. At first, the production company dismissed it as mere hearsay. Nevertheless, multiple crew members confirmed the veracity of the information.

He Ping, a well-known film director who also made a guest appearance in The Party, wrote in his Sina microblog, “Make a movie and then cut all her scenes. Acting is good. Both the role and the plot are necessary. However, it is just due to some reason that cannot be articulated, understood or hold water. Others who were once involved are still doing their job legally and reasonably. Only a poor girl has to stand out and take bashing. It would have been a good thing to the girl who could not possibly be weaker or most disadvantaged, but the ending is still the word, ‘sad.’”

Most Chinese netizens and media organizations interpret the message as an allusion to and sympathy with Tang Wei’s situation. “Others who were once involved are still doing their job legally and reasonably” states the interestingly absurd fact that although Hong Kong actor Tony Leung played opposite Tang Wei in sex scenes and Oscar-winning director Ang Lee masterminded the film, they never got blacklisted or penalized by Chinese regulators as Tang Wei did.

Tang achieved overnight fame for her performance in Ann Lee’s blockbuster Lust, Caution. Despite the fact that all nude or sex scenes were cut from the movie upon its release in mainland China, the uncut version, either leaked online or watched in Hong Kong by mainland moviegoers who took all the trouble to travel there, nevertheless became the red-hot topic on every Chinese’ lips.


A graphic sex scene in Lust, Caution, which was later removed for its distribution in mainland China, can be seen in Hong Kong's uncut version.


However, in March, 2008, heavy-handed censors at China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) ordered a new television commercial starring Tang to cease broadcast immediately. All print advertisements and features using the actress were also ordered to be pulled. Tang did not work in the mainland for three years after.

It is said that the wipe-out of Tang’s scenes in The Party was mainly due to the role she played. In a country where Mao’s legacy still persists, many deem it an unsuitable and unsavory choice to cast ‘a nude actress’ as Mao’s lover. Among them is Mao Zedong’s grandson Mao Xinyu. It is said that he discredit the actual existence of the role Tao Yi, saying publicly “The lover and wife my grandpa loved most was none other than my grandmother, Yang Kaihui.” Rumor has it that Mao Xinyu once wrote a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao protesting the casting of Tang, according to Hong Kong based Apple Daily.

Many liberal-minded netizens voiced their support for Tang Wei and discontent with the production company’s decision. (Comments from Sina Microblog)

@不加V: The Party is really ridiculous. They first invited Tang Wei to join the cast in order to show their tolerance and attract a round of public attention. When the filming is done and it is about to be released, they deleted all her scenes in order to show their noble taste and make another round of media sensation. How dirty is this world? You guys simply use a woman, toy with a woman to satisfy your greed for benefits.

POWER达人 I support Tang Wei. A bunch of clamorous and ignorant people have taken the control of movies and TV shows. They don’t know a shit! They still treat the innocent kind people with the same method that the Gang of Four and Red Guard used. Can you stop underestimating the people’s intelligence? Boycott The Party without Tang Wei.

只爱__陌生人 The Heavenly Kingdom, can you stop monkeying around? You don’t ban the factories that produce lean meat essence, predated milk and poisonous buns. You ban a girl? F**k. Are you afraid that the girl playing the first lover would dim the glorious image of the leader? The SARFT can put up with so many starts in the film, including some who have emigrated. They just can’t put up with this girl. Right?

However, quite a number of commenters bombarded the actress with hateful and even profanity-laced denunciation. (Comments from NetEast)

网易河北省保定市网友 [令狐锋] 的原贴:1

The nude actress – fuck off our sacred big screen. Do not be in the film and assault our eyes!

网易广东省手机网友 [网易广东省手机网友] 的原贴:1

Any problem with Han Sanping’s brain? (Jing: producer of the film.) So many actresses in the mainland. Why do they find a slutty woman who sells her cunt?

网易陕西省西安市网友 [syhcomcn] 的原贴:1

Such a person playing the role of the great leader’s first lover is an insult on the great leader.

网易江苏省手机网友 ip:117.136.*.* [手机上163.com看贴回贴]

Bitches can only fool around off the stage since always. How can they be in the position to go on the stage and make the scene?

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2 comments to “‘Lust, Caution’ Actress Tang Wei ousted from propaganda film”

  1. Simon | May 12, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I guess betraying China to Japan can never be forgiven.

  2. Anonymous | May 12, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Wow, Tang Wei is condemned and Sora Aoi is worshipped.

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