The military-backed government of Burma has deported actress Michelle Yeoh, who stars as the country's famous pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming movie, officials said on Tuesday.
In December, Yeoh visited Burma and spent time with Suu Kyi for the movie, The Lady, which was filmed in neighboring Thailand. When she attempted to return to the nation's main city Yangon (formerly Rangoon) on June 22, she was deported later that same day because her name was on a blacklist, a government official said.
The official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press, did not say why the actress was on the list. However, Burma's repressive government is known for routinely rejecting visa requests of journalists and perceived critics for years.
Yeoh is a former Miss Malaysia and is now based out of Hong Kong. She shot to international fame in 1997 as a bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies. She has also starred in Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
French director Luc Besson's movie about Suu Kyi's life, The Lady, is due out later this year. Yeoh has said publically that she hopes her portrayal of Suu Kyi will raise awareness of the famously imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner's plight.
Suu Kyi spent most of the last two decades under house arrest, detained by the former military junta. She was released last year in the nation's landmark election (which her party boycotted and which she was barred from being a candidate).
The vote was Burma's first in 20 years and in March, the junta handed power over to a civilian government. While many had hoped this would be a major shift in Burmese politics, critics say that little has changed and that the new government is merely a front for continued rule by the army.