Locally-based scholar Kerim Friedman observes on Facebook of Hou Hsiao-hsien's new film, The Assassin:
I'm also concerned about the film's politics. It seems to suggest that an independent break away province -- which unlike a neighboring state that was seized by the emperor, has been building up rapport with the people for 50 years (sound familiar?) -- is needlessly antagonizing the emperor. Doesn't this sound like Beijing's line, in which Taiwan is always cast as the troublemaker? It does call for a peaceful resolution to the division and recommends allowing the break-away governor's children time to grow up, but the politics are pretty far from what I think most Taiwanese would feel comfortable with. Surely something has been written about the film's politics?Hou is a pro-annexation mainlander with close ties to China. He thinks of himself as a leftist, one of the many strains of Leftism that has a strong right-wing nationalist Chinese component. In other words, not much of a Leftist.
During the Chen Administration Hou helped feed the KMT propaganda line that Chen Shui-bian was "stirring up ethnic divisions" by founding the Ethnic Equality Action Alliance in 2004 (Taipei Times). Ostensibly devoted to the noble cause of ethnic equality, in reality its purpose was to attack the Chen Administration since it was, among other things, looking into Taiwan's past. You see, looking into 50 years of martial law and official terror is "creating ethnic divisions"... the Taipei Times noted at the time:
Representative figures from this group immediately launched an attack on the pan-green camp, accusing it of fomenting ethnic hostility more frequently than the pan-blue camp does. They said with a straight face that stronger ethnic groups are more inclined to bully weaker groups and to manipulate ethnic issues.
Brian Hoie has discussed the pro-independence left and the pro-annexation left at New Bloom:
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