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Beijing's sinister invasion of Hollywood, almost every major LA studio kowtows to China in return for its cash

beijingwalker

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Beijing's sinister invasion of Hollywood, almost every major LA studio kowtows to China in return for its cash

By TOM LEONARD IN NEW YORK FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 22:04 BST, 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 22:35 BST, 24 September 2020


Did you watch the Marvel comics superhero film Dr Strange and wonder why British actress Tilda Swinton stood in for a Tibetan mystic?

Or sit through 2012 action film Red Dawn, in which the U.S. is occupied by Communist forces, and were puzzled as to why the hordes of invaders are, er, North Korean?

Yet in both cases, Hollywood was terrified of offending China, as it was when it interfered with a range of films including Bond movie Skyfall, Mission: Impossible III, Top Gun: Maverick and Iron Man 3.


There are many more — some where the toadying to Beijing is easy to spot, some where you won’t notice anything amiss.

Tinseltown is never normally scared of upsetting other countries with its output, as German and indeed British viewers will well know. However, now the major studios live in dread of offending China.



The reason is simple: money. China is now the second most lucrative film market in the world and is soon expected to overtake the U.S.

In the past 15 years, its box office takings have increased 35-fold to nearly $10 billion. In 2005, China had 4,000 cinema screens — about the same as the UK. Now it has 70,000.

Its companies are also pouring money into struggling Hollywood studios. But this comes at a heavy price: China chooses which films can be released there and keeps a quota of just 34 foreign movies that can come out there each year.

And authoritarian China offends easily. Its powerful censors, part of the Central Propaganda Department, have to watch any foreign film hoping to be released there. They can even script re-writes, or simply reject it.

Their demands have ranged from the piffling, such as the removal of tattered underwear on a line in Shanghai in the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible 3, to the fundamental, such as the editing of the flags and insignia of invading Chinese forces in Red Dawn to make them North Korean.

Another shameless example of Beijing’s meddling was last year’s animated family film Abominable, about a lost yeti.

The movie, made by DreamWorks, featured some fairly abominable Chinese propaganda in the form of a map that made out China controlled the South China Sea and completely ignored the existence of Tibet — even though the film is about an expedition to Everest.

Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen Square — known in the industry as ‘the three Ts’ — have long been the great unmentionables as far as Chinese censors are concerned.

But the country has started to object to far more and, too often, Hollywood meekly complies.

Aware that Chinese censors can delay a film’s release date by months if they have to reshoot scenes, Hollywood increasingly doesn’t even wait for the Chinese censor to get out his big red pen.


Instead, studios consult China ‘taste experts’ to make sure they get it right the first time and produce a film lacking anything that could possibly offend the Chinese — to the alarm of U.S. politicians and free speech campaigners,

So by the time the trailers appeared for this year’s sequel to Top Gun, Paramount had already realised that the Japanese and Taiwanese flags on the hero’s bomber jacket in the original film might offend You Know Who and removed them.

More and more we are watching films that have been made to please one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

This may be good for business in Hollywood but recent days reveal there’s a steep price to be paid for an industry that prides itself on its open-minded, liberal values.

First, a new report by U.S. academics found that Hollywood has been casting more light-skinned actors in starring roles since 2012 — the year in which the Chinese government began allowing more foreign films into the country.

The trend was most marked in action films and thrillers — which go down particularly well in China. Researchers concluded the studios were addressing the preference in China for lighter skin.

The report’s author was prompted to investigate after seeing a 2015 Chinese poster advertising Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It had shrunk the image of one of the main characters, Finn, played by black British actor John Boyega, although he appeared much more prominently in the poster used in the rest of the world.

Then, just days later, it emerged that Boyega had been removed from the Chinese version of a new promotional film he’s made for British perfume company Jo Malone and replaced with an Asian actor.

Disney, Hollywood’s biggest film studio, is today squirming over its own embarrassing kowtowing to China with its new blockbuster Mulan.


The live-action remake of the 1998 animated film of the same name took five years to make and cost $200 million. The Chinese folktale about a girl who enlists in the army was clearly aimed at Chinese audiences.

Disaster struck when viewers noticed that in the credits for Mulan, part of which was shot in China, the film-makers thanked eight government departments in the province of Xinjiang, home to the country’s Muslim ethnic Uighur population where at least a million people are in concentration camps and subjected to a ‘re-education’ programme that has been compared to genocide.

Some say the film further demonises this oppressed minority because its villains — a clan of assassins with dark skins and turbans — will automatically remind Chinese audiences of Uighurs.

The sad truth is that Hollywood hasn’t dared to make films likely to offend Beijing for more than 20 years, not since a string of movies in 1997 — notably Seven Years In Tibet, starring Brad Pitt, and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun about the Dalai Lama, both of which focused on China’s 1950 invasion of Tibet.


The films weren’t even shown in China but Beijing still put their stars, directors and production companies on a blacklist. Kundun was also made by Disney whose then boss, Michael Eisner, proceeded to offer a grovelling apology in person to Chinese premier Zhu Rongji.

Shanghai Disneyland opened in 2016 so they must have got something right.

Of course, Disney is not the only production company with eyes on Beijing. Only recently, free speech organisation PEN America published a withering report about the extent to which Hollywood writers, directors, producers and actors live in fear of being blacklisted by China.

Even films such as Top Gun: Maverick that are far too pro-America to ever get passed for release in patriotism-obsessed China are censored just to avoid antagonising anyone in Beijing, said the report.

Stars who have been temporarily or permanently banned from China, either in person or in films, include Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, Selena Gomez, Brad Pitt and Richard Gere — usually because of their support for Tibetan independence.

The ban on Pitt may explain why his 2013 zombie film World War Z was never allowed into China — despite its studio, Paramount, expressly demanding the script be changed so the lethal virus didn’t originate there.

Yet for the most part, UK audiences often won’t even see the censorship as studios simply produce a special edited version for China.

Mission: Impossible III cut a scene of Cruise’s character killing a Chinese henchman, while Skyfall dutifully cut the execution of a Chinese security guard, as well as references to torture by Chinese agents — but only in the Chinese version.

Kisses between characters of the same sex are routinely cut, including in Star Trek Beyond and Alien: Covenant, while Beijing’s censors demanded gay scenes involving Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury be taken out of the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.


Sometimes, it has been a question of adding scenes. The Chinese release of the Disney-distributed Iron Man 3 contained extra scenes in which Chinese doctors worked frantically to save the life of the hero, played by Robert Downey Jr. They were so out of place that even Chinese critics expressed their dismay at the shameless flattery. In return, the studio that made it got a string of useful perks in promoting the film from a grateful Beijing.

Making Chinese versions of films has the disadvantage, however, of exposing this tinkering. So Hollywood usually prefers just to make one sanitised version for everyone. Hence at least three Hollywood films — 2012, Gravity and Arrival — have all portrayed the Chinese government or officials acting as the saviours of humanity.

Hollywood often does joint productions with Chinese studios (a way of getting round the quota) but these are often even more partisan — witness Transformers: Age Of Extinction in which U.S. officials were worse than useless while their Chinese peers heroically try to save Hong Kong from aliens.

By contrast, when did you last see a Chinese villain? Films which have ventured in those dangerous waters — such as Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie Dark Knight which has a corrupt Chinese moneyman — have found themselves blocked from release in China.

There’s an irony in that as Beijing becomes the West’s greatest bogeyman in the real world, Chinese baddies have almost disappeared in Hollywood.

Other deletions are a tad more surprising. For example, the Chinese government dislikes anything that encourages superstition. This usually rules out films with ghosts — both the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters and the 2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest were barred from China for that reason. (Some whisper that the real reason for the spirit ban is because, in Chinese literature, evil ghosts are a metaphor for corrupt officials.)

They have also long banned films about time travel on the grounds it trivialises history.

And so it always helps keep the Beijing censor happy when China and the Chinese come off lightly in films. Take the example of The Meg, a 2018 Jason Statham thriller about a giant killer shark, which was not only set in China but, as the sharp-eyed noticed, even had the monster ripping the western characters to pieces, while leaving Chinese swimmers alone.

As long as Beijing continues to call the shots in Hollywood, it won’t just be killer sharks that refuse to get their teeth into the Chinese.

 

Beidou2020

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China’s movie market will be the largest in the world in 2020. Hollywood need the Chinese market.
 

cloud4000

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Hollywood film studios -- and their huge budgets -- are looking for profits wherever they can find them...and it's not in the US. Streaming services like Netflix are killing the old business model. Movie theatres are closing and those that remain are trying to remain relative: meaning they are only showing big budget films. Small- and mid-budget films are now going to straight to VOD and streaming these days. I, for one, spend more time watching Netflix and Amazon Prime than going to the movie theatre.
 

KurtisBrian

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yeah rich Chinese were among that group of people who were suddenly buying up vast tracts of near "worthless" land in Africa.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mee...rica-2011-6#where-else-is-farmland-booming-12


and others

far as I am concerned all guilty of being part of the attack on me.
 

Nan Yang

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For those really interested and to silence all those Right wing Neo-cons Sinophobic posters spreading anti-china disinformation.

The closest look yet at Chinese economic engagement in Africa
June 28, 2017 | Report

By Kartik Jayaram, Omid Kassiri, and Irene Yuan Sun

Field interviews with more than 1,000 Chinese companies provide new insights into Africa–China business relationships.

In two decades, China has become Africa’s most important economic partner. Across trade, investment, infrastructure financing, and aid, no other country has such depth and breadth of engagement in Africa. Chinese “dragons”—firms of all sizes and sectors—are bringing capital investment, management know-how, and entrepreneurial energy to every corner of the continent. In doing so they are helping to accelerate the progress of Africa’s economies.

Yet to date it has been challenging to understand the true extent of the Africa–China economic relationship due to a paucity of data. Our new report, Dance of the lions and dragons: How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve?, provides a comprehensive, fact-based picture of the Africa–China economic relationship based on a new large-scale data set. This includes on-site interviews with more than 100 senior African business and government leaders, as well as the owners or managers of more than 1,000 Chinese firms spread across eight African countries1 that together make up approximately two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP.

Africa’s largest economic partner
In the past two decades, China has catapulted from being a relatively small investor in the continent to becoming Africa’s largest economic partner. And since the turn of the millennium, Africa–China trade has been growing at approximately 20 percent per year. Foreign direct investment has grown even faster over the past decade, with a breakneck annual growth rate of 40 percent.2 Yet even this number understates the true picture: we found that China’s financial flows to Africa are around 15 percent larger than official figures when nontraditional flows are included. China is also a large and fast-growing source of aid and the largest source of construction financing; these contributions have supported many of Africa’s most ambitious infrastructure developments in recent years.

We evaluated Africa’s economic partnerships with the rest of the world across five dimensions: trade, investment stock, investment growth, infrastructure financing, and aid. China is among the top four partners for Africa across all these dimensions (Exhibit 1). No other country matches this depth and breadth of engagement.


Exhibit 1
1601075323110.png


Chinese firms in Africa
Behind these macro numbers are thousands of previously uncounted Chinese firms operating across Africa. In the eight African countries on which we focused, the number of Chinese-owned firms we identified was between two and nine times the number registered by China’s Ministry of Commerce, until now the largest database of Chinese firms in Africa. Extrapolated across the continent, our findings suggest there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa today (Exhibit 2).


Exhibit 2
1601075386146.png



Around 90 percent of these firms are privately owned—calling into question the notion of a monolithic, state-coordinated investment drive by “China, Inc.” Although state-owned enterprises tend to be bigger, particularly in specific sectors such as energy and infrastructure, the sheer number of private Chinese firms working toward their own profit motives suggests that Chinese investment in Africa is a more market-driven phenomenon than is commonly understood.

Chinese firms operate across many sectors of the African economy. Nearly a third are involved in manufacturing, a quarter in services, and around a fifth each in trade and in construction and real estate. In manufacturing, we estimate that 12 percent of Africa’s industrial production—valued at some $500 billion a year in total—is already handled by Chinese firms. In infrastructure, Chinese firms’ dominance is even more pronounced, and they claim nearly 50 percent of Africa’s internationally contracted construction market.

The Chinese firms we talked to are mostly profitable. Nearly one-third reported 2015 profit margins of more than 20 percent. They are also agile and quick to adapt to new opportunities. Except in a few countries such as Ethiopia, they are primarily focused on serving the needs of Africa’s fast-growing markets rather than on exports. An overwhelming 74 percent said they feel optimistic about the future. Reflecting this, most Chinese firms have made investments that represent a long-term commitment to Africa rather than trading or contracting activities.


Ceros

Impact in African economies
At the Chinese companies we talked to, 89 percent of employees were African, adding up to nearly 300,000 jobs for African workers. Scaled up across all 10,000 Chinese firms in Africa, this suggests that Chinese-owned business employ several million Africans. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of Chinese employers provided some kind of skills training. In companies engaged in construction and manufacturing, where skilled labor is a necessity, half offer apprenticeship training.

Half of Chinese firms had introduced a new product or service to the local market, and one-third had introduced a new technology. In some cases, Chinese firms had lowered prices for existing products and services by as much as 40 percent through improved technology and efficiencies of scale. African government officials overseeing infrastructure development for their countries cited Chinese firms’ efficient cost structures and speedy delivery as major value adds.


On balance, we believe that China’s growing involvement is strongly positive for Africa’s economies, governments, and workers. However, there are areas for significant improvement:

  • By value, only 47 percent of the Chinese firms’ sourcing was from local African firms, representing a lost opportunity for local firms to benefit from Chinese investment.
  • Only 44 percent of local managers at the Chinese-owned companies we surveyed were African, though some Chinese firms have driven their local managerial employment above 80 percent (Exhibit 3). Other firms could follow suit.
  • There have been instances of labor and environmental violations by Chinese-owned businesses. These range from inhumane working conditions to illegal extraction of natural resources including timber and fish.
Exhibit 3
1601075459996.png


Differences in country engagement
At a national level, we focused on eight large African economies, and identified the following four distinct archetypes of the Africa–China partnership:

  • Robust partners. Ethiopia and South Africa have a clear strategic posture toward China, along with a high degree of economic engagement in the form of investment, trade, loans, and aid. For example, both countries have translated their national economic-development strategies into specific initiatives related to China, and they have also developed important relationships with Chinese provinces and with Beijing. As a result, China sees these African countries as true partners: reliably engaged and strategic for China’s economic and political interests. These countries have also created a strong platform for continued Chinese engagement through prominent participation in such forums as the Belt and Road initiative (previously known as One Belt, One Road), and they can therefore expect to see ongoing rapid growth in Chinese investment.
  • Solid partners. Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania do not yet have the same level of engagement with China as Ethiopia and South Africa, but government relations and Chinese business and investment activity are meaningful and growing. These three governments recognize China’s importance, but they have yet to translate this recognition into an explicit China strategy. Each has several hundred Chinese firms across a diverse set of sectors, but this presence has largely been the result of a passive posture relying on large markets or historical ties; much more is possible with true strategic engagement.
  • Unbalanced partners. In the case of Angola and Zambia, the engagement with China has been quite narrowly focused. For Angola, the government has supplied oil to China in exchange for Chinese financing and construction of major infrastructure projects—but market-driven private investment by Chinese firms has been limited compared with other African countries; only 70 to 75 percent of the Chinese companies in Angola are private, compared with around 90 percent in other countries. Zambia’s case is the opposite: there has been major private-sector investment but not enough oversight from regulatory authorities to avoid labor and corruption scandals.
  • Nascent partners. Côte d’Ivoire is at the very beginning of developing a partnership with China, and so the partnership model has yet to become clear. The country’s relatively small number of Chinese investors are focused on low-commitment industries such as trade.
The next decade
We interviewed more than 100 senior African business and government leaders, and nearly all of them said the Africa–China opportunity is larger than that presented by any other foreign partner—including Brazil, the European Union, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

But exactly how quickly will the Africa–China relationship grow in the decade ahead? We see two potential scenarios. In the first, the revenues of Chinese firms in Africa grow at a healthy clip to reach around $250 billion in 2025, from $180 billion today. This scenario would simply entail business as usual, with Chinese firms growing in line with the market, holding their current market shares steady as the African economy expands. Under this scenario, the same three industries that dominate Chinese business in Africa today—manufacturing, resources, and infrastructure—would dominate in 2025 as well.

We believe much more is possible: in a second scenario, Chinese firms in Africa could dramatically accelerate their growth. By expanding aggressively in both existing and new sectors, these firms could reach revenues of $440 billion in 2025. In this accelerated-growth scenario, not only do the three established industries of Chinese investment grow faster than the economy, but Chinese firms also make significant forays into five new sectors: agriculture, banking and insurance, housing, information communications technology and telecommunications, and transport and logistics. This expansion could start with Chinese firms moving into sectors related to the ones they currently dominate—for example, from construction into real estate and housing. Another part of this accelerated growth could come from Chinese firms more fully applying their formulas that have proved successful in China to markets in Africa, including business models in consumer technology, agriculture, and digital finance.

There is considerable upside for Africa if Chinese investment and business activity accelerate. At the macroeconomic level, African economies could gain greater capital investment to boost productivity, competitiveness, and technological readiness, and tens of millions more African workers could gain stable employment. At the microeconomic level, however, there will be winners and losers. Particularly in sectors such as manufacturing, where African firms are significantly lagging behind global productivity levels, African incumbents will need to dramatically improve their productivity and efficiency to compete—or partner effectively—with new Chinese companies on their turf.

With continued and likely growing Chinese investment, it will become ever more urgent to address the gaps in the Africa–China partnership, including by strengthening the role of African managers and partners in the growth of Chinese-owned businesses. Moreover, both Chinese and African actors will need to address three major pain points: corruption in some countries, concerns about personal safety, and language and cultural barriers. In five of the eight countries in which we conducted fieldwork, 60 to 87 percent of Chinese firms said they paid a “tip” or bribe to obtain a license. After corruption, the second-largest concern among Chinese firms is personal safety. For their part, our African interviewees described language and cultural barriers that lead to misunderstanding and ignorance of local regulations. If these problems are left unaddressed, the misunderstandings and potentially serious long-term social issues could weaken the overall sustainability of the Africa–China relationship.


Everyone—African or Chinese, government or private sector—has a role to play in realizing the promise of the Africa–China partnership. We suggest ten recommendations, consisting of actions to be taken by African and Chinese businesses and governments, to ensure the Africa–China relationship grows sustainably and delivers strong economic and social outcomes (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4
1601075500257.png



Download Dance of the lions and dragons: How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve? ,the full report on which this article is based—available in both English (PDF–3MB) and Chinese (PDF–5MB).
 
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Nan Yang

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Beijing's sinister invasion of Hollywood, almost every major LA studio kowtows to China in return for its cash

By TOM LEONARD IN NEW YORK FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 22:04 BST, 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 22:35 BST, 24 September 2020


Did you watch the Marvel comics superhero film Dr Strange and wonder why British actress Tilda Swinton stood in for a Tibetan mystic?

Or sit through 2012 action film Red Dawn, in which the U.S. is occupied by Communist forces, and were puzzled as to why the hordes of invaders are, er, North Korean?

Yet in both cases, Hollywood was terrified of offending China, as it was when it interfered with a range of films including Bond movie Skyfall, Mission: Impossible III, Top Gun: Maverick and Iron Man 3.


There are many more — some where the toadying to Beijing is easy to spot, some where you won’t notice anything amiss.

Tinseltown is never normally scared of upsetting other countries with its output, as German and indeed British viewers will well know. However, now the major studios live in dread of offending China.



The reason is simple: money. China is now the second most lucrative film market in the world and is soon expected to overtake the U.S.

In the past 15 years, its box office takings have increased 35-fold to nearly $10 billion. In 2005, China had 4,000 cinema screens — about the same as the UK. Now it has 70,000.

Its companies are also pouring money into struggling Hollywood studios. But this comes at a heavy price: China chooses which films can be released there and keeps a quota of just 34 foreign movies that can come out there each year.

And authoritarian China offends easily. Its powerful censors, part of the Central Propaganda Department, have to watch any foreign film hoping to be released there. They can even script re-writes, or simply reject it.

Their demands have ranged from the piffling, such as the removal of tattered underwear on a line in Shanghai in the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible 3, to the fundamental, such as the editing of the flags and insignia of invading Chinese forces in Red Dawn to make them North Korean.

Another shameless example of Beijing’s meddling was last year’s animated family film Abominable, about a lost yeti.

The movie, made by DreamWorks, featured some fairly abominable Chinese propaganda in the form of a map that made out China controlled the South China Sea and completely ignored the existence of Tibet — even though the film is about an expedition to Everest.

Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen Square — known in the industry as ‘the three Ts’ — have long been the great unmentionables as far as Chinese censors are concerned.

But the country has started to object to far more and, too often, Hollywood meekly complies.

Aware that Chinese censors can delay a film’s release date by months if they have to reshoot scenes, Hollywood increasingly doesn’t even wait for the Chinese censor to get out his big red pen.


Instead, studios consult China ‘taste experts’ to make sure they get it right the first time and produce a film lacking anything that could possibly offend the Chinese — to the alarm of U.S. politicians and free speech campaigners,

So by the time the trailers appeared for this year’s sequel to Top Gun, Paramount had already realised that the Japanese and Taiwanese flags on the hero’s bomber jacket in the original film might offend You Know Who and removed them.

More and more we are watching films that have been made to please one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

This may be good for business in Hollywood but recent days reveal there’s a steep price to be paid for an industry that prides itself on its open-minded, liberal values.

First, a new report by U.S. academics found that Hollywood has been casting more light-skinned actors in starring roles since 2012 — the year in which the Chinese government began allowing more foreign films into the country.

The trend was most marked in action films and thrillers — which go down particularly well in China. Researchers concluded the studios were addressing the preference in China for lighter skin.

The report’s author was prompted to investigate after seeing a 2015 Chinese poster advertising Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It had shrunk the image of one of the main characters, Finn, played by black British actor John Boyega, although he appeared much more prominently in the poster used in the rest of the world.

Then, just days later, it emerged that Boyega had been removed from the Chinese version of a new promotional film he’s made for British perfume company Jo Malone and replaced with an Asian actor.

Disney, Hollywood’s biggest film studio, is today squirming over its own embarrassing kowtowing to China with its new blockbuster Mulan.


The live-action remake of the 1998 animated film of the same name took five years to make and cost $200 million. The Chinese folktale about a girl who enlists in the army was clearly aimed at Chinese audiences.

Disaster struck when viewers noticed that in the credits for Mulan, part of which was shot in China, the film-makers thanked eight government departments in the province of Xinjiang, home to the country’s Muslim ethnic Uighur population where at least a million people are in concentration camps and subjected to a ‘re-education’ programme that has been compared to genocide.

Some say the film further demonises this oppressed minority because its villains — a clan of assassins with dark skins and turbans — will automatically remind Chinese audiences of Uighurs.

The sad truth is that Hollywood hasn’t dared to make films likely to offend Beijing for more than 20 years, not since a string of movies in 1997 — notably Seven Years In Tibet, starring Brad Pitt, and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun about the Dalai Lama, both of which focused on China’s 1950 invasion of Tibet.


The films weren’t even shown in China but Beijing still put their stars, directors and production companies on a blacklist. Kundun was also made by Disney whose then boss, Michael Eisner, proceeded to offer a grovelling apology in person to Chinese premier Zhu Rongji.

Shanghai Disneyland opened in 2016 so they must have got something right.

Of course, Disney is not the only production company with eyes on Beijing. Only recently, free speech organisation PEN America published a withering report about the extent to which Hollywood writers, directors, producers and actors live in fear of being blacklisted by China.

Even films such as Top Gun: Maverick that are far too pro-America to ever get passed for release in patriotism-obsessed China are censored just to avoid antagonising anyone in Beijing, said the report.

Stars who have been temporarily or permanently banned from China, either in person or in films, include Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, Selena Gomez, Brad Pitt and Richard Gere — usually because of their support for Tibetan independence.

The ban on Pitt may explain why his 2013 zombie film World War Z was never allowed into China — despite its studio, Paramount, expressly demanding the script be changed so the lethal virus didn’t originate there.

Yet for the most part, UK audiences often won’t even see the censorship as studios simply produce a special edited version for China.

Mission: Impossible III cut a scene of Cruise’s character killing a Chinese henchman, while Skyfall dutifully cut the execution of a Chinese security guard, as well as references to torture by Chinese agents — but only in the Chinese version.

Kisses between characters of the same sex are routinely cut, including in Star Trek Beyond and Alien: Covenant, while Beijing’s censors demanded gay scenes involving Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury be taken out of the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.


Sometimes, it has been a question of adding scenes. The Chinese release of the Disney-distributed Iron Man 3 contained extra scenes in which Chinese doctors worked frantically to save the life of the hero, played by Robert Downey Jr. They were so out of place that even Chinese critics expressed their dismay at the shameless flattery. In return, the studio that made it got a string of useful perks in promoting the film from a grateful Beijing.

Making Chinese versions of films has the disadvantage, however, of exposing this tinkering. So Hollywood usually prefers just to make one sanitised version for everyone. Hence at least three Hollywood films — 2012, Gravity and Arrival — have all portrayed the Chinese government or officials acting as the saviours of humanity.

Hollywood often does joint productions with Chinese studios (a way of getting round the quota) but these are often even more partisan — witness Transformers: Age Of Extinction in which U.S. officials were worse than useless while their Chinese peers heroically try to save Hong Kong from aliens.

By contrast, when did you last see a Chinese villain? Films which have ventured in those dangerous waters — such as Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie Dark Knight which has a corrupt Chinese moneyman — have found themselves blocked from release in China.

There’s an irony in that as Beijing becomes the West’s greatest bogeyman in the real world, Chinese baddies have almost disappeared in Hollywood.

Other deletions are a tad more surprising. For example, the Chinese government dislikes anything that encourages superstition. This usually rules out films with ghosts — both the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters and the 2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest were barred from China for that reason. (Some whisper that the real reason for the spirit ban is because, in Chinese literature, evil ghosts are a metaphor for corrupt officials.)

They have also long banned films about time travel on the grounds it trivialises history.

And so it always helps keep the Beijing censor happy when China and the Chinese come off lightly in films. Take the example of The Meg, a 2018 Jason Statham thriller about a giant killer shark, which was not only set in China but, as the sharp-eyed noticed, even had the monster ripping the western characters to pieces, while leaving Chinese swimmers alone.

As long as Beijing continues to call the shots in Hollywood, it won’t just be killer sharks that refuse to get their teeth into the Chinese.

This is so so very petty. So some short scenes are modified for the Chinese market. Gosh there are way way more pro American films and for even much longer.
 

Greaves

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Hollywood film studios -- and their huge budgets -- are looking for profits wherever they can find them...and it's not in the US. Streaming services like Netflix are killing the old business model. Movie theatres are closing and those that remain are trying to remain relative: meaning they are only showing big budget films. Small- and mid-budget films are now going to straight to VOD and streaming these days. I, for one, spend more time watching Netflix and Amazon Prime than going to the movie theatre.
maaza
 

hualushui

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Americans worry about China’s human rights issues every day, but allow black Americans to be shot and killed by the police.

Americans are so great, they love the Chinese more than themselves
 

hualushui

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All of them also defend Mao. A man who was 10 times worse than Hitler. What an evil backwards nation.
Indians with low IQ do not understand science, they do not believe in science, so they always spread rumors and fake news.
This is why India will never surpass China.
 

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