Ted Cruz’s Legislation Could Halt China’s Censoring of Hollywood

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz may really be on to something big.

Sen. Cruz plans to introduce legislation soon, which will address a critically important issue involving the rights of Americans, as well as folks in other nations, to enjoy entertainment product that is free from Chinese communist censorship.

The former 2016 GOP presidential candidate has, in accordance with modern congressional practice, affixed a clever acronym to his new bill, SCRIPT, which stands for the “Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies” Act.

The legislation seeks to deter a current practice of Hollywood studios in which, prior to release, they submit movies to Chinese censors. The proposed law would cut off any assistance given by the Department of Defense to those film studios that allow the communist regime to alter cinematic content.

With regard to many a film and television production project, Hollywood has often requested help from the Pentagon. It has been this way for years. In each branch of the military, there is actually a liaison office that aids filmmakers with consultation, personnel, equipment, and access to military installations.

“For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship. The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China,” Sen. Cruz recently said in a statement.

The truth is Hollywood is in need of a wake-up call. China was set to surpass the U.S. box office of 2020 just before the coronavirus shutdown occurred.

Hollywood executives are well aware of the fact that the Chinese regime limits the number of foreign films that can be released annually in its country. Additionally, many Chinese companies provide considerable amounts of capital for Hollywood productions.

The Chinese regime is preoccupied with projecting a false image in order for it to continue to maintain its power. As a result it has frequently injected itself into creative aspects of American entertainment production and oftentimes altered content to fit its own agenda.

Back in 1997, Martin Scorsese’s film “Kundun” was banned, because it appeared to be sympathetic to the Dalai Lama. Scorsese and other members of the production team were literally banned by the Chinese regime from ever entering the country again.

China also took the dramatic step of banning Disney films and television shows. Disney actually apologized in 1998 for releasing “Kundun.” Eventually, though, the company was able to make a deal in 2016 to open Shanghai Disneyland.

In 2006, creators of “Mission Impossible III” were required to remove part of the film’s opening sequence in which underwear hanging on a clothesline made its “undesirable” appearance in a Tom Cruise chase scene in Shanghai.

The following year, creators of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” were evidently persuaded to edit out footage of the character Chow Yun-fat, because it offended the Chinese powers that be.

In a 2012 reboot of “Red Dawn,” the original plot featured an invasion of the United States by China. The storyline was dutifully altered to depict the invading enemy as being from North Korea. Since the initial filming had already been completed, this feat was accomplished via re-shoots and digital alteration. It would be to no avail though, because the movie still ended up in the position of being unable to obtain a China release.

The James Bond 2013 installment, “Skyfall,” was released only after scenes that included Chinese police using torture tactics and prostitution occurring in Macau were edited out.

That same year the Brad Pitt film “World War Z” was banned by the regime in Beijing, because the plot of the film had the origin of the zombie outbreak kick off in China. Interestingly, Chinese officials also had a grudge against Pitt for his audaciousness in having starred in the movie “Seven Years in Tibet.”

As a condition of the China release of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” creators of the 2018 Queen biopic had to redact any references to lead singer Freddie Mercury’s sexual identity and the cause of his passing. The Chinese censors even removed part of star Rami Malek’s Oscar acceptance speech from the streaming Academy Award ceremony.

During the same year, Disney’s “Christopher Robin” was banned by Chinese censors, because activists had noted on the internet President Xi Jinping’s resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.

In the movie trailer of the yet to be released “Top Gun: Maverick,” missing from Tom Cruise’s iconic leather jacket are the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches, which appeared on Maverick’s original coat. The patches have been replaced by two non-descript, similarly colored symbols.

Sen. Cruz’s SCRIPT Act would be a great first step in trying to address China’s egregious pattern of modifying U.S. entertainment product.

Now if only Hollywood could lend its support to the cause embodied in the legislation — that even in the entertainment industry, artistry and its dual pursuits of truth and self-determination, still reign supreme over profit.

Quentin Tarantino Pushes Back on China

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Someone in Hollywood is finally standing up to China.

Bucking the trend of the big studios, which have been routinely allowing Chinese censors to dictate movie content, Quentin Tarantino has made it clear that he will not alter his latest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as Chinese officials had demanded.

As a result, China has cancelled the release of Tarantino’s fantasy-dramedy, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. The homage to 1960s Hollywood had originally been scheduled to hit Chinese movie screens on October 25.

Chinese officials have not publicly revealed exactly what they found to be objectionable in the movie. Reportedly, the reason that the demand to modify came about was because of the filmmaker’s depiction of legendary martial arts practitioner and actor Bruce Lee.

Lee’s daughter Shannon had reportedly requested that the National Film Administration of China intervene over the portrayal of her father in the movie as a conceited braggart.

In a recent interview with The Wrap, Shannon inserted a broader controversy into her objections concerning the film.

“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie, I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion. I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-a** who could beat up Bruce Lee,” Shannon stated.

“But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive,” she added.

When the subject came up at a recent press conference in Moscow, Tarantino defended the depiction of Lee in the film, telling reporters the following:

“I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read… She absolutely said it. Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up.”

Media content is routinely and strictly controlled by communist bureaucrats in China as has been recently observed with the banning of Winnie the Pooh, the animated series “South Park,” and the NBA pre-season games.

It is yet to be seen whether Tarantino will hold the line and remain solid in his refusal to bend to the Chinese powers that be. In the past, the filmmaker made cuts to scenes in the movie “Django Unchained” after Chinese censors exerted pressure and the film’s release was cancelled.

After “Django Unchained” was re-edited and released in China, it ended up flopping, taking in a meager $2.7 million, despite a global box office of $425 million. However, Tarantino’s current offering, “Once Upon a Time,” features DiCaprio, an actor fave of Chinese audiences. Expectations were that the film was going to do much better than the above described re-edit debacle.

A critics’ favorite, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has increasingly become a part of the buzz surrounding next year’s Academy Awards. The movie’s performance has been a solid one at the box office, with a $367 million take. Its profit margin has been even more impressive, thanks to a budget of a mere $90 million.

If it were solely up to the studio, which is Sony Pictures, the Chinese censors might have had an easier time getting their way. However, Tarantino was able to obtain the contractual right to the final edited version of the movie, and that puts the filmmaker in the catbird seat in terms of decisions regarding any modifications to the final cut.

China Attempts to Censor the World

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The People’s Republic of China has been busy stopping its own people from seeing, listening to, and otherwise engaging in informational and entertainment media of all sorts, including movies, television, books, newspapers, magazines, music, video games, and the Internet.

The Communist Party of China, the nation’s single ruling party, heavy-handedly mandates so. Notably, since 2012, when Xi Jinping became the General Secretary of the Communist Party, censorship has increased significantly.

A Hollywood case in point. Richard Gere, by all measures, had in the past been considered to be a bona-fide superstar. But something curious happened after he made a pro-Dalai Lama speech at the 1993 Academy Awards.

In what he likely assumed was a free speech prerogative, the actor went about sharing with others that he was a follower and even a defender of someone the Chinese government abhors. He soon found himself being shunned by the major studios, and he has been noticeably absent from Oscar ceremonies ever since.

“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” Gere told the Hollywood Reporter.

Apparently, tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo have been voluntarily self-censoring their content for Chinese markets in order to continue conducting business with the country. Other companies and individuals have not been afforded the same opportunity.

China has banned a host of musical artists over time including Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Guns N’ Roses, and Kylie Minogue.

Zedd, the international Grammy-winning DJ, found himself permanently banished from China. The mistake he made was that he “liked” a tweet posted on the “South Park” Twitter account. The tweet in question referred to the 300th episode of the successful animated television program. Perhaps surprisingly for Zedd, the government of China had just banned “South Park” over an episode that lampooned China along with the NBA.

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV made the decision to ban NBA pre-season games after a tweet was posted by Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, which lent support to the anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Using their show to poke China, “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone aired an episode titled “Band in China,” which sent a delightfully satiric message to tech, entertainment, and sports institutions about some of the current practices of dutifully complying with China’s censors.

In the episode, one of the “South Park” characters is arrested in China and subsequently observes the brutal treatment that some of the Chinese prisoners are forced to endure.

Which prisoners suffer the abuse? Two banned characters from one of the world’s most beloved literary faves – Winnie the Pooh and his best friend Piglet, who were eliminated because Chinese dictator Xi was said to resemble Pooh in online memes.

A cartoon version of an entertainment executive who appears in the episode states that Pooh cannot be the subject of a film because the literary and Disney character is “illegal,” due to the fact that “some Chinese students said he looked like the Chinese president.”

Real life entertainment executives have been bending to China’s will for years. Disney’s movie “Christopher Robin” was not shown in the communist nation because Winnie the Pooh had a starring role in the film.

Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” had to be altered because the plot originally had the zombie outbreak originating in China and subsequently spreading throughout the world.

The remake of “Red Dawn” was re-shot and digitally altered to switch the ancestral heritage of the invaders of the U.S. from Chinese to North Korean. Despite the modifications, it still ended up not being released in China.

The James Bond movie “Skyfall” could only be shown in China after scenes were edited out, ones that depicted the existence of prostitutes in a part of China known as Macau. Additionally, references to torture that was being carried out by Chinese police had to be eliminated.

The film “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” had footage taken out, which featured Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat’s character, in order to please the Chinese powers that be.

“Mission Impossible III” edited out a car chase that took place in Shanghai because underwear could be seen hanging on clotheslines.

“The Departed” was banned because of an implication that the Chinese communists planned to use nuclear weapons on Taiwan.

The Bond film “Casino Royale” could only be screened after references to the Cold War were removed.

Parker and Stone issued a biting “official apology” panning China’s ban of “South Park” and jabbing the NBA while they were at it.

“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”

As slippery slopes would have it, the stifling of free speech is not being confined within China’s borders. Rather, it looks as if the freedom-denying activity has become one of China’s biggest exports.

Hollywood’s Human Rights Duplicity

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After a law was passed in Georgia to save the lives of pre-born babies with detectable heartbeats, many in Hollywood grabbed their leftist playbooks and began clamoring for a boycott of the state.

Netflix, Disney, and a smattering of Left Coast companies threatened to pull production away from Georgia if the implementation of the law began to take effect.

Allyssa Milano, who had previously called for women to boycott Georgia by means of restraint of affections, has now made a color-coded map of states deemed “most threatened,” “under threat,” or “least threatened” by pro-life legislation.

Despite the high degree of virtue signaling that has taken place regarding the issue, Hollywood continues to conduct business with foreign governments that hold abysmal human rights records.

The very same Hollywood companies that give lip service to the women empowerment movement continue to engage in an all-out quest for money from countries with dreadful women’s rights records, including Saudi Arabia, which consistently ranks in the “worst of the worst” category, according to Freedom House.

The nation of Brunei has a Sharia-based penal code, which imposes death by stoning for extramarital affairs or certain sexual acts as well as amputation of limbs for theft crimes, among other brutal penalties for criminal offenses.

Human Rights Watch states that Brunei’s Sharia law imposes “a wide range of restrictions that discriminate against women and sexual and gender minorities” and “violates freedom of expression and religion.”

Entertainment moguls continue to use the Beverly Hills Hotel for power meetings, ignoring the fact that the venue was boycotted several years ago when the owner of the hotel, the Sultan of Brunei, first decreed Sharia law.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, is roundly condemned by Hollywood’s media allies on the left for his tough stand on illegal immigration, particularly when it comes to the outsized migrant population that has been flooding European countries in recent years.

The establishment media became frenzied recently when President Trump praised the Hungarian prime minister for a “tremendous job.”

“You’re respected all over Europe,” President Trump said. “Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK, You’ve done a good job and you’ve kept your country safe.”

For his part Orban told the press, “I would like to express that we are proud to stand together with United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help Christian communities all around the world.”

Vox characterized the meeting as one “between two like-minded illiberal leaders, men at the forefront of the campaign to undermine Western democracy from within.”

Vox’s statement epitomizes the worldview of liberal Hollywood. Still, many entertainment companies continue to shoot various productions in Hungary, despite differing so fundamentally with the country’s national and political ideology.

It is shockingly real that China, the most dangerous nation to America’s future, is now making decisions on what entertainment content Americans will consume, courtesy of the Hollywood companies that kowtow to the communist censors in Beijing.

Left Coast filmmakers are financing projects, partnering up with Chinese state-controlled companies, and distributing finished product in China. Hollywood firms have partnered on the production of a number of well known films, including “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and “Venom.”

Only a small number of foreign movies are allowed into China each year. Studios are routinely permitting Chinese censors to alter themes, plots, and characters of the movies that are allowed into the country, in an effort to gain access to China’s market.

The ruling Communist Party will not allow media content that deals with religion, alcoholism, ethnic conflict, homosexuality, or any subject that might be critical of the government.

The disaster movie “2012” has a plotline in which the Chinese government rescues humanity. In the film “Gravity,” actress Sandra Bullock is able to survive in outer space via the safety provided by a Chinese Space Station. The makers of Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange” were evidently pressured to change a Tibetan character to a Celtic one in order to satisfy Chinese predilections about Tibet. The Academy Award winning “Call Me By Your Name” was banned in China for its depiction of homosexuality. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Walt Disney Studios had to re-edit the films “Skyfall” and “Iron Man 3” respectively, in order to please Chinese censors.

China is now attempting to destroy the rule of law in Hong Kong with a highly dangerous extradition bill. The proposed bill recently resulted in millions of protesters taking to the streets. If implemented as law, the bill would subject the citizens of Hong Kong to the kangaroo courts of mainland China, which are known for being devoid of due process.

In truth, Hollywood has become a puppet of authoritarian rulers that suppress freedom of thought, word and deed. Meanwhile the town’s silence on the human rights records of countries around the globe is deafening as its own greed eclipses conscience.