Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh was deported from Burma last week. She arrived in Rangoon, was prevented from entering the country and then deported on the same day. Burmese officials refused to explain their reasons for her deportation beyond saying Yeoh was blacklisted from entering the country.
The likeliest reason for the blacklisting is that Yeoh stars in a soon-to-be-released Luc Besson movie THE LADY in which she plays Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The repressive Burmese regime has a history of blacklisting foreign journalists and others it perceives as critical of the government. Yeoh met with Suu Kyi in Burma in December 2010. Yeoh is reported to have shown her images from the movie.
Besson’s film is about the relationship between Suu Kyi and her late husband, Englishman Michael Aris. It focuses on the story of their relationship and the challenge of her house arrest in Burma which kept the couple separated even through Aris’s battle with cancer.
Yeoh is a star of Asian cinema, but is best known in the West for her role as a Chinese spy in the Bond film TOMORROW DIES (1997) and as warrior Yu Shu Lien in Ang Lee’s CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON (2000).