SHANGHAI, June 11 (UPI)–Angelina Jolie ruffled feathers in China after she referred to director Ang Lee as Taiwanese instead of Chinese, sparking the flames between the two countries.
Jolie was taking reporters’ questions about her new movie Maleficent at a press conference in Shanghai when one journalist asked her to name her favorite Chinese director.
“I am not sure if you consider Ang Lee Chinese, he’s Taiwanese but he does many Chinese-language films with many Chinese artists and actors, and I think his works and the actors in his films are the ones I am most familiar with and very fond of,” she reportedly answered.
Her answer did not please her Chinese fans. Jolie was slammed on the Chinese social media site Weibo for “disrespecting China’s sovereignty.”
“By implying that Taiwan and China are two separate countries, in a moment of excitement, a brilliant woman [Jolie] became a stupid laughing stock,” said one Weibo user, reports the Independent. Another called the actress a “deranged Taiwan independence supporter.”
Maleficent has not opened yet in China, but the movie has seen a significant bump in popularity in Taiwan since her comments. Jolie is not the only celebrity to offend nationalists in China. Her fiance, Brad Pitt, was banned from the country after filming the movie Seven Years in Tibet. The Chinese government gave him a pass and admitted him to the country for the press tour.