Film director admits to ruse at Taiwan naval base

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A celebrated Taiwanese film director apologized for letting an award-winning Chinese photographer use false papers to visit a Taiwanese naval base while scouting sights for a new feature film.

Niu Chen-zer apologized for his “negligence” in not paying attention to government regulations barring mainland Chinese from entering sensitive military establishments, according to a statement by Atom Cinema, the producer of Niu’s “Military Paradise” which is scheduled to begin shooting next month.

“I might have gone overboard in order to make a better film,” Niu said on his Facebook page.

The photographer, Cao Yu, visited the Tsoying Naval Base with a local film crew on June 1, carrying the identity card of a Taiwanese man, according to the Apple Daily newspaper.

Niu did not provide details Wednesday on how Cao gained access to the base.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. While relations have improved dramatically under the China-friendly government of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, China still threatens the use of force against the democratic island, and the Taiwanese military remains committed to maintaining strong defenses against a possible Chinese attack.

Cao twice won photography awards from Taiwan’s Golden Horse movie festival, underscoring the close cinematic ties between Taiwan and the mainland.

Taiwan’s military originally agreed to assist in the filming of “Military Paradise,” which tells the story of a group of Taiwanese soldiers stationed in the offshore island of Quemoy during the protracted 1958 Chinese bombing campaign against that isolated target. The film stars Taiwan heartthrob Ethan Juan.

But that appears to be changing.

On Wednesday military spokesman Yan Chen-kuo told Taiwanese TV stations the navy would back off from its earlier promise to provide sailors to assist in the filming of “Military Paradise.”

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