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
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
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)