Chinese director Chen Kaige, whose movie The Promise allegedly caused environmental damage to a pristine Himalayan lakeside during shooting, has been nominated for the country's "Green Chinese" award.
In May, producers of the US$35 million film were fined 90,000 yuan (US$11,250) for destroying vegetation near Bigu Lake in Shangri-la, southwest Yunnan Province, according to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
The "Green Chinese" annual award is co-sponsored by seven government departments and supported by the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which honors between five and 10 Chinese who have made great contributions to environment protection.
After the award's organizing committee announced a list of 253 nominations, which included Chen and Chinese television director Zhang Jizhong, who has been blamed for destroying natural landscapes while filming a martial arts TV series, Chinese Internet users posted furious comments objecting to these two nominations.
Many described it as an outrageous irony in China's efforts to protect the environment. "How can Chen be nominated? If a bad example like him can be nominated, then traitors should be nominated as heroes in the same sense," read one comment on Netease.com.
No reasons were given for the nominations.
"Sometimes a negative example can serve as a warning," said Wang Panpu, deputy director of the committee, when asked whether Chen's nomination contradicted the objectives of the award.
A shortlist of 24 nominees will be published on November 25, and the winners will be announced on December 2.
(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)