Opinion | China’s Military Mission May Extend to Hollywood

The Chinese Communist Party’s expanding global ambitions are increasingly spilling over into the realm of entertainment. A recent investigation by The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter has revealed how Beijing has been using its economic power to influence the content of American films and television shows.

Through a combination of financial incentives and political pressure, the Chinese government has been able to secure the removal of scenes that could offend Chinese sensibilities or undermine its political narrative. This censorship has extended to a wide range of topics, including Taiwan, Tibet, and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In some cases, American studios have even altered their scripts to avoid offending Beijing. For example, the 2016 film “Doctor Strange” was originally set to feature a Tibetan character. However, after the Chinese government expressed its concerns, the character was changed to a Celtic one.

The Chinese government’s influence in Hollywood is not limited to specific films or television shows. It is also working to shape the broader narrative of American entertainment. For example, Beijing has been funding the production of films and television shows that portray China in a positive light. These productions often whitewash the country’s human rights record and its authoritarian political system.

The Chinese government’s efforts to influence Hollywood are part of its broader strategy to reshape global public opinion. Beijing is investing heavily in public diplomacy, and it is using its economic power to gain access to and influence foreign media outlets.

The consequences of the Chinese government’s influence in Hollywood are far-reaching. It is eroding the independence of American media and entertainment, and it is limiting the ability of Americans to access information about China. It is also undermining the global norms of free speech and expression.

The United States government must take action to address the Chinese government’s influence in Hollywood. It should work with allies and partners to develop a common approach to countering Beijing’s efforts. It should also support independent media outlets in China and around the world.

The freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. It is essential for a democratic society and for a free and independent press. The United States government must not allow the Chinese government to undermine this right.

This issue is of particular concern to the United States because of its close economic ties to China. The United States is China’s largest trading partner, and China is the United States’ largest source of imports. This economic relationship gives China significant leverage over the United States.

The Chinese government has used its economic leverage to pressure American companies to self-censor. For example, in 2019, the Chinese government threatened to ban Apple from selling its products in China if the company did not remove a map app that showed Taiwan as a separate country.

The United States government must take steps to reduce its economic dependence on China. This will help to reduce China’s leverage over the United States and make it more difficult for Beijing to pressure American companies to self-censor.

The United States government should also work with its allies and partners to develop a common approach to countering China’s influence in Hollywood. This could include developing a set of principles for engagement with Chinese media companies, and coordinating efforts to support independent media outlets in China and around the world.

The freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. It is essential for a democratic society and for a free and independent press. The United States government must not allow the Chinese government to undermine this right..

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