The Chinese communist regime, like any authoritarian model, seeks to homogenize the way its citizens think and act. Therefore, everything must happen as designed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was the method used to perpetuate itself during the last decades.
Western art, fashion, and ideals of freedom have always been a stumbling block for the CCP, although it has managed to keep China isolated enough not to allow these thoughts to enter.
Globalization and the development of the Internet have been a great inconvenience for these types of dictatorships. They not only allowed the world to know about the atrocities committed by Chinese communism against its population but also allowed the unrestricted entry of the values of freedom that the CCP wanted to hide.
Nevertheless, the CCP has developed a vast intelligence army to censor any idea, information, art, or issue that goes against its perverse and immoral ideals. During the last decades, those Chinese who chose to go against the regime were persecuted, disappeared, killed, or forced to take refuge abroad.
At the same time, the world’s entertainment mega-industry, represented in its maximum expression in Hollywood, big media, social networks, and sporting events organizers such as the NBA, have always been very attracted to entering the Chinese market because of the enormous mass of consumers it offers.
As part of the CCP’s strategy to extend its power in the West, it has gradually accepted the entry of these representatives of world show business and entertainment to China, but under its strict censorship rules, which have often been embraced and even replicated in the West.
What happens in China with art, film, radio, and television?
The National Administration of Radio and Television of China is an executive agency at the ministerial level controlled by the CCP’s Publicity Department. Since 1986 it has been in charge of overseeing that all content published on radio and television anywhere in China responds to the official discourse promoted by the communist leaders.
The agency controls state media directly linked to the CCP and those with private participation.
Control was and continues to be very rigorous in the art world. Therefore, music, theater, and painting cannot reflect the people’s dissatisfaction with the communist regime because it implies an enormous risk of censorship and extreme danger for the people involved in this type of expression.
The agency is responsible for supervising the production, distribution, and screening of domestic films, organizing the review of the content of foreign cinema, and requesting the pertinent modifications for their suitability. It is also responsible for importing and exporting all films, media, publications, and other content.
For the CCP, art, which includes the film industry, is a means of social control. That is why any artistic production to which a Chinese citizen has access must be aligned with the ideology of communism.
New technologies, the Internet, and social networks did not take long to arrive in communist China after their emergence and development in the West from the 2000s onwards. However, it was initially a big problem for the communist regime. Millions of Chinese used these tools to reflect their discontent, organize, disseminate information and communicate easily with the outside world.
However, the CCP quickly adapted to the new reality and made available its entire intelligence apparatus, which, together with new technologies, promptly entered the virtual world and rigorously controlled everything.
With the filters and censorship barriers imposed, the Chinese public receives completely biased information about reality. In this way, the regime has managed to modify China’s history by eliminating all vestiges of traditional culture, replacing it with the worship of the Party, which is promoted mainly through works of art, films, series, news programs, and school education, etc.
Countless cases denounce censorship in China, especially those that have to do with content linked to the belief in God, criticism of the CCP, or artistic manifestations that show sympathy with the West and mainly the United States.
Such is the case denounced by the Christian community in China after the imposition of a series of regulations in 2020 prohibiting 20 new categories of film content, including all material promoting miracles, healings, holy relics, and demonic possessions.
These guidelines have a destructive effect on the religious and spiritual film industry, especially China’s well-developed Christian film industry.
A Chinese filmmaker who identified himself as Joseph, speaking to UCA News, commented that Bible-based content mainly includes miracles and healing. However, the new censorship guidelines almost completely prohibit such content. “If we film the life of Jesus, avoiding the content prohibited by the new restrictions, we will only present Jesus as an ordinary person, and this is unacceptable to Christians.”
Censorship reaches Hong Kong
Restrictions and censorship go beyond Mainland China. For example, after the imposition of the controversial National Security Law in Hong Kong, the CCP managed to adapt a series of laws in the island city that guarantee its control in all areas, including information, art, and entertainment.
Thus, at the end of 2021, Hong Kong legislators close to the CCP approved a bill to tighten the city’s film censorship law and television content.
The new regulations would implement penalties of up to three years imprisonment and up to $1 million in fines for those responsible for reproductions that advocate “subversion, secession, and terrorism” or disrupt national security.
The controversial bill also gives controllers the power to intervene in past film productions, which could threaten several Western and Asian cinema classics, which would disappear from theaters and movie rentals if so decided by the watchdogs.
The concept of “disturbing national security” is inclusive. The CCP frequently uses it as an excuse to repress ideals, religions, political dissidents, or simply people against the Chinese communist regime.
The amendments are made in the context of the contentious National Security Law imposed by Beijing to repress the protests of pro-democracy and anti-CCP movements, in a perspective of increasing censorship.
Communism infiltrates Hollywood
In this context of extreme censorship and repression, the international film industry, centered in Hollywood, has been showing its interest in penetrating the Chinese market for several years.
China has more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, representing a massive market for the film industry. But, as is well known, this industry is not known for its ethical values but rather for its speculative profit logic.
And this is how the CCP and the big Hollywood production companies have been developing a perverse relationship during the last few years. Communism has managed to penetrate film content while Hollywood is driving to enter the Chinese market with greater intensity, as long as it complies with the censorship requirements imposed by the regime.
As early as July 2020, U.S. Attorney General William Barr criticized Hollywood for appeasing China with self-censorship to ensure entry into its market, claiming that the studios were seeking to propagandize the CCP.
During an interview, Barr said that Hollywood now regularly censors its films to appease the CCP. He calls it “the most powerful human rights violator in the world.” Adding, “This censorship affects not only the versions of films that are released in China but also many that are shown in U.S. theaters to U.S. audiences.”
William Barr aimed at Hollywood and at corporations such as Apple, Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, and Walt Disney Co., whom he accused of being too willing to collaborate with the CCP.
Attorney General Barr criticized the companies, stating that while the CCP deliberately thinks and acts to pursue its interests, the companies are generally only looking at the next three months’ earnings report. This attitude would have resulted in large U.S. technology companies acting as pawns influenced by the Chinese regime.
Hollywood accepts censorship to enter China
The Chinese regime has been working to boost its film production and consumption capability for more than a decade. A statement published by the CCP in October 2011 already spoke of “the urgency” of enhancing “China’s power and the international influence of its own culture” and the desire to “turn our country into a socialist cultural superpower.”
Following this policy, large amounts of money were invested in developing the local film industry over the past few years. So much so that in 2020 China became the first country to overtake the United States as the world’s largest film market.
“The day has finally come when China is the number one film market in the world, surpassing the total box office of North America by 2020,″ published China’s State Council Information Office, also known as the CCP’s Foreign Propaganda Office.
Of course, China’s cinematic success is not good news for Hollywood because China will no longer depend on its content to fill its movie theaters. But, on the contrary, Hollywood does need the Chinese market to continue its financial success.
This situation puts the communist regime at an extreme advantage over international production companies when imposing its demands and censorship.
Hollywood films must overcome more and more obstacles before they can get the approval of the CCP and enter the Chinese market. They often have to modify entire scenes and dialogues to meet the requirements.
Censorship takes many forms. There are films that Hollywood no longer makes because they annoy the CCP and could instantly end all business with China.
It usually happens with politically themed films, as was the well-known case with “Seven Years in Tibet,” about China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet, or “Red Corner,” about human rights abuses in China’s legal system. After those films were produced in 1997, China ordered the suspension of business with the three Hollywood studios that distributed the movies.
Since then, all productions that intend to enter the Chinese market know that they should not risk incorporating content that may be controversial for the CCP because the latter will not hesitate to cancel their reproductions and commercial agreements.
Most of the new film productions arise thinking of being able to enter the enormous Chinese market. However, the lack of values and the extreme ambition that prevails in Hollywood leads many to believe that responding to the censorship demands of the Chinese regime makes them accomplices of an endless list of atrocities committed by communism against the Chinese population.
NBA complicit with Communist China
The sizeable Chinese audience has been feeding the U.S. basketball industry for several years. Taking this reality into account, the NBA’s top executives have not only remained silent in the face of the severe abuses of the communist regime, but in many cases, they have openly cooperated with the CCP, which makes them direct accomplices.
One of the most paradigmatic cases is Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, who has multi-million dollar business dealings with the communist state and the People’s Liberation Army Navy, also known as the Chinese Navy.
Arison (worth $6.6 billion) is also chairman of the board of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship operator, who, as ESPN reported, has a joint venture with a state-owned Chinese shipbuilder.
Another frequently criticized case is that of Joe Tsai, the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Nets, who made his fortune in China with his company Alibaba.
Paradoxically, in the United States, Tsai donates hundreds of millions of dollars to fight racism and discrimination. While in China, under Tsai’s leadership, Alibaba partners with companies blacklisted by the U.S. government for supporting a campaign of repression, arbitrary mass detention, and high-tech surveillance through advanced racial profiling.
In 2019, the NBA suffered what its CEO described as “substantial” losses after an online comment by a Houston Rockets team executive sparked a backlash in China.
Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. As a result, State broadcaster CCTV and Tencent Holdings, which broadcasts NBA games in China, announced they would stop airing Rockets games.
The decision of the Chinese authorities caused multi-million dollar losses for the NBA. Since then, it has tried several ways to make excuses to please the regime. However, on several occasions, the NBA demonstrated that it prioritizes its economic gains over the social responsibility expected from it, owing to its reaching so many people worldwide.
In one of its attempts to appease the regime, the NBA announced the appointment of a Chinese national as CEO of its company in China in May 2020, but that was not enough either, as Chinese official media, Global Times, reported last year.
“If it wants to win its way back into the mainland Chinese market, [the NBA] must properly handle Houston Rockets CEO Daryl Morey, who tweeted in support of Hong Kong rioters last year,” the communist media outlet noted.
Some stars rebel against the big production companies
The vast majority of those working for the big entertainment producers such as Hollywood and the NBA only think about the success of their productions and financial gain. However, a few still preserve specific moral values that make them reflect on the implications of the penetration of communism in the world of show business.
Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight is a Hollywood legend whose career spans more than 50 years. He speaks out and denounces how leftism and Marxism have infiltrated the media and Hollywood, completely ruining the film and communications industry.
Voight, during the interview, warns that the countries where communism managed to penetrate have been destroyed, and among them, he mentions China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. But, at the same time, he is surprised by how it has also managed to enter the U.S. and denounces that Hollywood works as a propaganda apparatus of communist values.
Another Hollywood bigwig who dared to confront the CCP was the renowned film director Quentin Tarantino, who in 2019 rejected censorship demands for his film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Chinese auditors had already approved its playback, but days before it was due to open and without any explanation, they decided to cancel the premiere and ban its playback at least until an amended version was released, entertainment media reported.
However, Quentin refused to comply with the listeners’ wishes, causing quite a stir in Hollywood.
The prominent producer and director’s decision was celebrated by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in one of his tweets.
“I applaud Quentin Tarantino’s refusal to recut his film to appease China’s censorship. Unalienable rights such as free speech should not be for sale,” Pompeo said on October 19.
There are also voices within the sports world that question this growing intervention. One of the most critical is that of NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom, who, in 2021, gained significant prominence in the international news after issuing forthright comments against the Chinese communist regime for violating the human rights of ethnic and religious minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.
Although he was one of the three most prominent players of the year, he has been silenced today. In a recent interview, he said, “When I started talking about what was happening in China, the Celtics were cut off from Chinese television. That cost the NBA money. The NBA says it stands by us for freedom of speech. I do not believe it. In other words, the league stands, as long as what we say helps its pocket, otherwise they will do everything they can to finish you. I am saying that because they are trying to retire me at 29.”
As we have seen, the tentacles of Chinese communism have reached unthinkable places, crossing borders and cultures.
This advance was primarily enabled by the collaboration of specific sectors affected by the twisted values of modern society, which, being blinded by profit and success, did not develop resistance to prevent it.
However, the resurgence of groups and strong conservative personalities, such as the cases mentioned above, indicate that hope is not lost. Therefore, it is possible to resume a course that allows us to continue to evidence the evil nature of communism in China and its way of expanding throughout the world.