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'Cellphone' Tests Cheating Spouses

A comic film for the New Year is supposed to bring laughter and happiness, but this is one that has made quite a few couples walk out of cinemas.

And they're not laughing. They're ready to confiscate their spouse's cellphone.

It is Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang's latest movie called, Cellphone.

Some say it is actually "a horror movie," because it can make those who've had love affairs feel uneasy and ignite family warfare.

Suddenly, spouses are eager to check their spouse's cellphone for call records or to browse through short messages.

That's because the film's hero Yan Shouyi, a TV talk show anchor, was betrayed by his cellphone records and messages and had his affairs exposed.

Tianjin-based News Daily reported that a woman immediately wanted to check her husband cellphone after the couple watched the film.

When he refused, she grabbed the phone but was knocked senseless by her angry husband.

"My older sister checked her hubby's cellphone, too, and found a short message which was not so good. They ended up fighting and finally broke the cellphone by throwing it on the ground,'' said Wang Ying, 32, whose sister and brother-in-law watched the film together in Shenzhen.

Because of such stories, joking words around town have been circulating among spouses not to take their other halves to see the film.

The warning, at the same time, has attracted more audiences to the theatre to discover "secrets behind cellphones'' used by a cheating spouses.

The hero Yan Shouyi uses various tricks with his cellphones throughout the movie.

He plucks out the batteries in his phone to make him "not able to be reached,'' using excuses like being in a meeting to cover his dates with other women, and he often speaks as if he the connection is bad and he is unable to hear callers" voices.

"I am very surprised to find my husband and so many other men know the trick of plucking out batteries, while my girl friends and I had no idea of it before watching the film,'' said Ma Qin, 36, who has been married for 11 years.

She watched the movie with her husband in a cinema in Beijing. When she was puzzled at why Yan Shouyi was taking out his phone's battery, her husband told her what was going on.

"For a moment, I felt unsure whether my husband has ever played the same tricks on me, but later I decided that marriage can only last when we both trust each other,'' said she.

An interesting sidelight to the squabbles the film has raised is news from phone goliath China Mobile that its users can rest assured their private information won't be disclosed as shown in the movie, unless there is a reason police or a court officials order it disclosed.

In the movie, Yan's girlfriend shows her ID card to get Yan's call records.

Nor will users" exact locations be revealed as accurately as the movie shows, China Mobile said. The company is the Chinese mainland's biggest mobile business operator.

When push comes to shove, there's always the comfort of knowing that a phone booth or a newsstand is a block or two away where anyone can make a call for 2 yuan (24 US cents) or so.

Those phone calls can never be traced.

(China Daily January 10, 2004)

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