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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Mixed Reaction in Asia to Hollywood’s Oscars

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AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool
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Director/Producer Chloe Zhao, winner of the award for best picture for "Nomadland," poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles.

This year’s Academy Awards sparked two very different reactions for a pair of East Asian countries. There was happiness from South Korea, and silence from official Chinese media.

There’s not a lot that wins bipartisan approval in South Korea these days, but Youn Yuh-jung’s Oscar for best supporting actress has united the domestic political spectrum.

The ruling Democratic Party called it “like much-needed rain for the people who are having a hard time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Credit AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool
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Youn Yuh-jung arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles.

The opposition People Power Party said the award gives many Koreans “energy and vitality to ride out the current hardship.” 

A lot of the media coverage focused on the back-to–back recognition for South Koreans—following last year’s wins of “Parasite”—which took four Oscars—including best director and best picture.

Yonhap News reports coverage of the Oscars more than tripled the usual ratings of the cable channel that carried it live.

There was silence from official media in China about the triumphs of Beijing-born Chloe Zhao and her film “Nomadland.”

No mainland Chinese media livestreamed the Oscars, and her wins were ignored by the Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily.

In a 2013 interview, she called China a place where “there are lies everywhere.”

In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post wrote extensively about the wins and the lack of coverage in mainland China—including the censoring of any mention of the director on the two most popular social media platforms in the country.

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