Passport

China pulls out of Tokyo film festival

China's latest film exports will not be on display at the 23rd annual Tokyo film festival thanks to a spat over Taiwan sovereignty:

The head of the Chinese delegation, Jiang Ping, told festival organizers that the Taiwanese delegation must not attend the festival under the name Taiwan, but as "Chinese Taipei," which Taiwan used while participating in the Olympic Games, shortly before celebrities began to walk down a green carpet to mark the start of the festival.

Jiang, also deputy director-general of the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), told reporters, "We protested against the organizers introducing the two delegations as 'China and Taiwan.' And our request to introduce Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei or China's Taiwan" was rejected by the organizers."

Of course, this will be seen as part of a larger issue than what Ang Lee's homeland gets to call itself. Anti-Japanese protests broke out in half a dozen Chinese cities over the weekend and the Japanese government has formally protested the presence of Chinese military patrol boats near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Passport

Britain selling Sherwood Forest?

The Telegraph reports that as part of its austerity measures, Britain plans to sell off around half of its 748,000 hectares of government-owned forest, possibly including Robin Hood's old haunt:

The controversial decision will pave the way for a huge expansion in the number of Center Parcs-style holiday villages, golf courses, adventure sites and commercial logging operations throughout Britain as land is sold to private companies.

Legislation which currently governs the treatment of "ancient forests" such as the Forest of Dean and Sherwood Forest is likely to be changed giving private firms the right to cut down trees.

Laws governing Britain's forests were included in the Magna Carta of 1215, and some date back even earlier.

A source close to the British environment department describes the move in terms of "putting conservation in the hands of local communities," a phrasing consistent with the Cameron government's "Big Society" vision. Most of Britain's forests were lost by the 17th century to firewood and construction. We'll see if the private sector can take care of the trees a little more responsibly this time around?