Doing business in China is a minefield. Even international companies that sell clothing, such as H&M, can get inadvertently caught up in Chinese politics, and then crucified by Chinese netizens. What country you are from, what you say, who you are, can be either now or in the future used against you and your company by China. It is unbelievable, really. China is on a mission to change the world to become China friendly in every way, and will pummel anyone or any country that stands in its way.
There is no doubt that China is becoming ever aggressive on the international stage, from human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, to kicking out countries from their native South China Seas fishing grounds, to outright theft of intellectual property rights in the manufacture of products for international firms.
The free world is at a pivot point, where the West either stands up for democracy, free speech and human rights, or we cave in and descend into authoritarianism. China is heavily pushing us into totalitarianism, manipulating our free press and loose government system for their own benefit. Democratic countries are much slower to respond, to the advantage of China.
It is clearly scandalous that some of the West’s largest companies have gone to ridiculous lengths to appease the CCP, because they cannot. The CCP will only use them as tools to show domestic Chinese how depraved and insulting they are to the Chinese people. Given that the CCP controls all narrative within China, it does work. The CCP wields Chinese nationalism like a weapon against international firms. H&M had their online and store presence in China destroyed overnight for adhering to a ban on Xinjiang cotton. Disney had to change their movie script just for China for the movie Mulan. The NBA had to apologize when a team coach supported the Hong Kong people. John Sena had to apologize for stating that Taiwan is a country, which it clearly is. The West needs to reassert its backbone and moral fiber.
While China’s propaganda can sometimes work domestically, it is quite obvious that Chinese propaganda is a complete flop in the West, perceived correctly as lies and deceits. International agreements are easily broken, only to be explained that it is allowed under international law. Western countries all see this as sheer poppycock.
This article is a really interesting explanation of Hollywood’s entanglement with the CCP, but is common to all international companies. From Deal Frenzy to Decoupling: Is the China-Hollywood Romance Officially Over?. The article chronicles the recent political crackdown by the CCP, and demise of China-US relations but specifically using the entertainment industry for examples. It is really an interesting and well done article.
On the Chinese side, Beijing deployed its standard playbook for playing catch-up in a high-sophistication industry dominated by the West: Crack open the door to the local market just wide enough to entice experienced foreign firms to enter into partnerships and joint ventures with local companies — required in many sectors under Chinese law in exchange for market access — with the ultimate aim of facilitating rapid knowledge transfer to the Chinese side while limiting the foreign players’ potential dominance.
The CCP has used Hollywood’s methods to further captivate their domestic Chinese audience and to further the CCP’s objectives. it is rather evil genius, don’t you think?
I am really not a movie goer, but do see the power that movies play on society. This interview, a comment on the above article, Leaving China: The Beginning and THE END of Hollywood’s catering to The Middle Kingdom offers Kamran Pasha’s view of the changing mood of Hollywood, where they move from appeasing the CCP in order to make money, to the realization that money cannot be made in China, and that ketowing is simply not working.
It is worth noting that the CCP has always believed that media is a tool of the CCP, and all propaganda must be controlled. While they can easily do this domestically, the CCP also believes they can do this internationally. To not tow the line and the CCP will use any means to punish the media company.
44:58 Within a few years, within two years I’d say, Hollywood is going to realize that Chinese Communist Party is their adversary. It was never their friend, it was never going to be there to help them, and then the Chinese Communist Party is going to become the villain of movies again. And that will come.
Something pivotal will happen within the next few years, such as they will take control of Disney’s park, something is going to happen where the CCP is going to overplay its hand, and do something that Hollywood is going to want revenge for. And that’s when the CCP will become the villain again, as it was in the “Seven Days of Tibet” and other times. It is coming.
It’s hard to imagine that after kowtowing to China for a decade that the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese people, will become the adversary again, but the events that are happening in the United States, with the revelations of the origins of some of the medical issues that we are facing, it’s going to get worse, and as the American people blame the events of 2020 and 2021 on the Chinese Communist Party, they’re going to be seen as an adversary by the American people.
And Hollywood, once it feels betrayed, once the CCP overplays its hand in some fashion, which is coming, then Hollywood will get on board, and you’re going to go back to some ’80s jingoistic movies of Americans fighting evil Communists. It’s hard to imagine that coming, after watching the John Sena’s of the world, but I absolutely believe it is coming.
And it will be a good thing, because the Chinese Communist Party is the villain of the story by those of us in our industry who are promoting global narratives. It proves to be its own enemy due to its own arrogance, which is part of authoritarianism. You become blinded to the actual board that you’re on because you assume that every piece is going to move the way you want it to. And so that is coming.