WASHINGTON, February 1, 2017 — In 1966, while actor John Wayne was visiting U.S. servicemen stationed in Vietnam, a captured sniper told his U.S. Marine interrogators that he had journeyed to Vietnam from China to collect a bounty that had been placed on the western actor’s head by none other than China’s communist dictator, Mao Zedong.
Wayne told biographer Michael Munn, “What was so pathetic was this sniper said that Mao had promised that the reward would be glory, but he also said he had heard there was a financial reward too, and this sniper needed the fortune more than the glory because his family back in China was so poor.”
“What was so pathetic was this sniper said that Mao had promised that the reward would be glory, but he also said he had heard there was a financial reward too, and this sniper needed the fortune more than the glory because his family back in China was so poor.”
After the fall of the Soviet Union, China transformed from a totalitarian communist state to a totalitarian capitalist one. And, according to the World Bank, has seen its median annual income go from $103.18 in 1966 to $7,590.02 in 2014.
And the Chinese people are taking their new-found wealth and spending it at the movies. Last February, the Hollywood Reporter noted that the “Lunar New Year holiday led to the country’s biggest box-office month with $650 million, making it the top film market in the world.”
Needless to say, Hollywood executives are dying to gain access to China’s movie theaters. But there is one roadblock: China currently allows only 20 foreign films into the country per year.
However, the Chinese government has said it is willing to expand that number to “34 titles a year on a revenue-sharing basis” in 2017 and 2018, said the Hollywood Reporter.
And access to the Chinese film market has had an undesirable effect: self-censorship.
Take the wildly successful film “Doctor Strange” (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), which is based on characters from the Marvel comic book universe.
According to the screenplay’s co-writer C. Robert Cargill, Doctor Strange’s mentor, “The Ancient One,” was changed from a robed, white-bearded Tibetan mystic to a white woman with a shaved head.
Cargill said in an interview with the YouTube channel’s “Double Toasted”:
“If you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that [The Ancient One] he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit and risk the Chinese government going, ‘Hey, you know one of the biggest film-watching countries in the world? We’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political.”
China has brutally occupied Tibet for more than fifty years. A statement appearing on The Office of Tibet website, which “represents His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in North America,” states:
“Even though the [Chinese Communist] Party still controls Tibet, its control is beginning to slip. There is a pervasive disillusionment with, and contempt for, the Communist Party and the government in Tibet which can even be found among Party members and government functionaries… the Party’s goals have been drastically reduced from its once grandiose plans of social, human and economic transformation to simply holding onto power, taking care of Chinese settlers and extracting Tibet’s natural resources.
Lately, Hollywood’s pampered thespians have used televised award ceremonies to condemn what they perceive as unspeakable evil: Middle America and its populist champion, Donald Trump.
So, it seems appropriate that Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which owns the second largest movie-theater chain (AMC) in the U.S., is in talks to buy Dick Clark Productions for one billion dollars.
Dick Clark Productions just happens to produce the Golden Globe Awards.
You may recall actress Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe rant condemning the powerful for their “instinct to humiliate” and that “violence incites violence.”
She was not speaking of China’s oligarchs or their long list of atrocities in Tibet, but the duly elected president of the United States for verbally bashing a biased New York Times reporter.
Streep was praised for her “courage” in speaking truth to power, despite facing no personal or financial risk.
The condemnation of America, its constitutional institutions and the American people themselves will only increase as the ties between Hollywood and brutal, totalitarian China grow closer.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Donald Trump’s tough talk could ignite a trade war.
And last December, Wang told a group of Chinese entrepreneurs in Beijing that former Democratic senator and current Motion Picture Association President Christopher Dodd served as his personal White House delivery boy.
The former People’s Liberation Army commander told the leader of the free world:
“I have $10 billion of investments in the United States and more than 20,000 employees there who wouldn’t have anything to eat should things be handled poorly.”
Trump’s response to Wang’s threat should be the same as Duke Wayne’s in the film “The Shootist”:
“I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
If China wants a trade war, Trump should give it to them.