Hollywood Sign. Photo by Designmark via Flicker
CAIRO - 11 July 2017: Chinese censorship of Hollywood films is not only to censor the Chinese audience, but also to influence the foreign audience.
China’s box office sales have doubled more than the country’s economy, which means that the film market is growing at an exceptional rate.
It is expected that by the end of 2017, movie sales in China will surpass those in the U.S. as a result of the country’s growing middle class who will make up 76 percent of the country’s population in 2022.
China allowed 34 foreign films in the theaters every year. This means that only 34 of the hundreds of blockbuster films made each year will get a taste of the Chinese box office revenue.
Although the censorship scheme is unclear, the films are not allowed to show the United States in a positive light nor are they allowed to show the Chinese in a negative light. The content of the film should not contain ideas that will undermine the “social harmony.”
To get a taste of the Chinese box office revenue, Hollywood films are made with the Chinese censorship scheme in mind.
Block buster films like Skyfall have slightly altered their storyline to pass the Chinese censorship test. It used the Chinese cities, Shanghai and Macau as phenomenal scenery. To further please the Chinese government, the movie makers changed the plot line of the character in the Chinese custody. Although you would think that this would influence the Chinese to debut the film, it was only screened after they removed the scene where Bond shoots a Chinese body guard.
Another film that has been censored is Star trek 2016, where it portrays happily married homosexual couple in some scenes, because the portrayal of homosexuality on screen undermines “social harmony,” the censorship scheme cut most of the scenes with the happily married couple.
The influence of the Chinese government on Hollywood films worries officials in the U.S. who fear that this relationship would lead to “pro Chinese propaganda films.” You would think that all this censorship is to control what the Chinese audience sees, however this goes far beyond that.
Films play a huge role and influence on our lives. Films pave the way for discussions and conversations and with the rising Meme culture, catch phrases are casually used in everyday conversations. China is aware of people’s behavior and uses this phenomenon to ultimately change the way the U.S. and the rest of the world think of China and the Chinese governance.