Originally created 03/08/06

Taiwan's Ang Lee receives praise from mainland China



BEIJING - China heaped praise Tuesday on Taiwanese director Lee Ang for winning this year's best director Oscar with his gay romance "Brokeback Mountain."

"Ang Lee is the pride of Chinese people all over the world, and he is the glory of Chinese cinematic talent," the official China Daily newspaper said in a front-page news article.

Lee hails from self-governed, democratic Taiwan, which the communist government in Beijing considers Chinese territory and has repeatedly threatened to attack if the island declares formal independence.

The two split amid civil war in 1949. China's leaders recently stepped up their rhetoric against Taiwan after its President Chen Shui-bian shut down a Taiwanese government body devoted to seeking unification with the mainland.

Another front-page China Daily article Tuesday quoted Chinese lawmakers, now holding their annual legislative session, making scathing remarks about Chen.

A top Chinese army official on Monday said the military is ready to step up training and warned Taiwan against attempting to declare independence.