The Chinese Communist Party already controls the lives of the Chinese people. They control what they see, hear, how they live, how they talk, where they travel, and — by extension — what they think.
The Chinese communists would now want to control the rest of the world just like they do the Chinese people.
Communist Party bosses in Beijing have already ordered China’s movie theaters must play propaganda films this year in order to “celebrate” the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s blood-soaked founding. Movie theaters are required to meet quotas and play a predetermined number of propaganda films per week, as well as ensure that the local public views the screenings and that there is sufficient audience attendance.
The films focus on the themes of “loving the Party, the country, and socialism.” That sounds awfully like the Democratic Party’s 2021 platform. The movies must also focus on “singing the praises of the Chinese Communist Party, the motherland, the people, and its heroes.”
China is putting the squeeze on Hollywood movies, which now rely on the Chinese market for a large share of their box office sales. China is now using this leverage against Hollywood studios to effectively censor American movies before motion pictures are even released.
An instance of this passive censorship occurred during the newest Top Gun movie, where the studio removed Taiwanese and Japanese patches off of the jacket of Tom Cruise’s character. The Chinese Communist Party won that fight without ever firing a bullet or issuing a burning criticism through a party media mouthpiece.
The effect for American citizens is that more and more movies that Americans see are increasingly made with Chinese censors in mind. Domestic film production companies are increasingly focused on the foreign reception of their products — namely, the views of the Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese box office revenue surpassed U.S. box office revenue for the first time ever last year. Between 1995 and 2019, ticket sales in China increased nearly 7000%, according to government statistics
All of this is a disaster for free speech and the First Amendment in America. Yes, Hollywood studios are privately owned companies, but they are also the number one purveyor of major feature films in the United States and around the world. Hollywood has always been in the fantasy industry, but now they are airbrushing out of existence even the slightest critique or blemish about China and the Chinese Communist Party.
There are only two holdouts in the New Hollywood landscape that have refused to play by China’s rules: Netflix and Amazon. The older Hollywood studios have different business models than Netflix and Amazon, which are direct to consumer and driven by digital subscriptions. Warner Brothers (now owned by AT&T), Paramount (owned by ViacomCBS), and Dreamworks (owned by Disney) are all heavily dependent on the Chinese market and ticket sales in brick-and-mortar movie theaters.
By not participating in the Chinese market, Netflix and Amazon are able to make movies and content without punitive repercussions the older studios face. Conservatives have a lot to dislike about both Netflix and Amazon: while they don’t make their movies to appease Chinese censors, they do make movies to appease domestic social justice warriors who will threaten to cancel them if they speak the truth. PureFlix is one option for Conservatives who want to watch faith- and family-based movies and content.
At times it can seem as all 1.3 billion Chinese citizens are all brainwashed parrots of the Chinese Communist Party agenda. However, the Chinese Communist Party’s meddling in movies has sparked some backlash.
We just want to watch popcorn movies,” said one person on the Chinese social media website Zhihu on April 5. “Don’t bother us with US-China relations here, please.” “We are not being unpatriotic,” wrote another a few days later. “We just want to watch good films.”
“The Chinese film industry is not just production studios, but also movie theaters and distributors. And the distribution and exhibition sector makes huge amounts of money off Hollywood imports,” said Chris Berry, a film professor at King’s College London. “They may be worried that they will suffer financially as a result of this policy. After all, the audience can watch other things on TV and on the internet.”
China is desperate to keep its massive population under wraps, the vast majority of which still lives in abject poverty.
“There is resentment about the ‘nanny state’ that determines what you can and cannot see in terms of culture,” said Stanley Rosen, a professor at USC. “Nationalistic pride, which certainly exists, can only go so far…China will need those [foreign] films to continue to be the number one box office in the world, assuming the North American market recovers sufficiently,” Rosen said.
To an extent, the plan of the Chinese communist party masters in Beijing is failing. In the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s Red Army essentially killed off everyone who the communists deemed had been infected with Western ideas; thus, they slaughtered teachers, artists, scientists, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and anyone whose ideas could be traced to Western influences. (And then, at a certain point, they just start killing anyone who smiled wrong.) Mao’s idea was to essentially uproot all foreign influences and start over on his Chinese communist vision.
Fast-forward to the present day, and for the last thirty years, the youth of China have been exposed to and influenced by the very same ideas that Mao wished to destroy.
“After more than 30 years of marketization [of China], people are used to thinking of themselves as consumers with choices, not as pupils to be educated through entertainment,” said Berry from King’s College London. “Even if they enjoy some ‘patriotic’ films, I think Chinese audiences don’t like being told what to do.”.