The actor Choi Min-sik has returned a government decoration in protest against Seoul¡¯s decision to halve the number of days reserved in theaters for Korean movies. Staging a one-man protest on Sejong Street in front of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the actor said the decision to halve the screen quota was ¡°tantamount to a death sentence for Korean film." He said the medal, once a symbol of pride, was now ¡°nothing more than a sign of disgrace, and it is with a heavy heart that I must return it."
Actor Choi Min-sik talks to reporters gathered in front of the Kyobo building at Gwangwhamun intersection on Tuesday, where he protested against a decision to halve the screen quota for domestic movies.
The actor, who came to international notice with his role in the prize-winning movie ¡°Old Boy,¡± was as good as his word. In the early afternoon, he handed the medal and accompanying certificate in at the Ministry's first-floor information desk while holding a picket that read, "No screen quota, no Old Boy."
Choi was awarded the Og-Gwan Order of Cultural Merit in honor of his role in the movie, which won Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2004. A ministry official said there was no stipulation providing for the return of an order of cultural merit. ¡°We will keep it and give it back to him later,¡± he added. Choi walked across to the Kyobo building at Gwanghwamun intersection and continued his one-man demonstration.