Notes: This is an interview of Zhu Dake, a cultural critic in Shanghai. His analysis of Zhang Yimou's film is not execellent but inspiring, particularly his comments on contemporary Chinese culture.
The scene (in Curse of the Golden Flower) I found most impressing is that of a long line of palace maids who showed off their tightly tied breasts. Many audience felt that they walked into a farm full of milk cows. According to ordinary people's opinion, there are three criteria for a popular film. The first one is erotica. The second one is violence. The final one is celebrity's privacy. With any one of them, you could make a big hit. With two, you could make a very big hit. With three, you could create a blockbuster. Curse of the Golden Flower has all of them. Without any doubt, many people are crazy about it. You see. First, it provides a lot of breasts to meet the requirement of "erotica".
(Editorial notes: In 2000, AIDS Activist, a retired doctor, Gao Yaojie (高耀潔), exposed the case of HIV infection through blood collection in Henan. The whole village was inflicted with AIDS and the case was widely reported by international media. The local government tried to cover up the situation of illegal blood collection and the condition of the villagers until 2003 when the central government decided to intervene. In order to prevent the spread of AIDS, which is considered as a security issue, the central government has introduced a series of regulations to prevent the spread of disease. However, the exploitative blood sucking practice still continues, and even backed up by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Not to mention the fact that a number of AIDS activists, such as Hujia (胡佳) and Gao Yaojie (in her seventies), are still detained.
The story below is a translation of a report (Part One)from HuaXia Time (華夏時報), widely distributed at QQ news in mainland China. The reporter told how a blood collection station in Shanxi pumped blood from rural villagers from poorer provinces (such as Shaanxi 陝西) to supply a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Beijing.)
"China" Union of Post Office protested against renaming the company as "Taiwan" Post Company Limited. Many newspapers published the picture of workers kicking doors to protest. This makes me think of what the unions in Vietnam, a country less developed econmically than Taiwan, are doing.
In October 2005, Vietnam government announced raising minimum wage of foreign owned company in a lofty tone. But the effective date was set in April 2006. After widely media coverage, there was an uproar in Ho Chih Minh City. Worker strikes spreaded gradually and affected enterprises owned by Japanese, European, Korean and Taiwanese. There are still scattered strikes even in the year of 2007. Many Taiwanese businessmen doubt: Is the Vietnamese government behind the wave of strikes?
One sunny day in November, we rented a car for news reporting in Hanoi. Our driver, A Hai, remained silent and shy. We treated him drink and fried chicken. After a whole day together, he felt a little bit relaxed and began conversation with us. A Hai who came from a village near Hanoi asked us: Why did you Taiwanese bully our girls?
The cases of abuse happened frequently. It tarnishes the reputation of Taiwan. A Hai's question is so direct. From it, we can see his anger which shocked us as newcomers to Vietnam. Thousands of Vietnamese girls are married to Taiwan each year and now about 90,000-100,000 "Vietnamese wives" in Taiwan. The news about their abuse is widely covered by media in Vietnam. Some Vietnamese women organization and international NGO protest against our government. Taiwan's officials stationed at the Taipei Office of Economy and Culture keep apologizing to them. As Director Chen Chanlin said, Taiwanese businessmen who invested in Taiwan were viewed as "good men". But when local people talked about "Vietnamese wives", they had bad feeling about Taiwan.