Demystifying China’s Power Over the US Entertainment Industry

Many American entertainment stars are on the Chinese government’s blacklist because of opinions they hold on such issues as Taiwan and Tibet. (Image:  pixabay /  CC0 1.0)
Many American entertainment stars are on the Chinese government’s blacklist because of opinions they hold on such issues as Taiwan and Tibet. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Many American entertainment stars are on the Chinese government’s blacklist because of the opinions they hold on issues such as Taiwan and Tibet. These celebrities are not allowed to make money in China, and their careers in the United States are also affected. China has since expanded its influence on Hollywood through commercial channels, and the American film industry has consequently adopted self-censorship.

If you express different opinions on the issue of Taiwan and Tibet, your money-making path in China will be totally blocked. In June 2016, American music star Lady Gaga released her photo with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on social media and broadcast a 2-minute conversation between the two on world peace, justice, mental health, humanity, and other issues. This angered the Chinese government and ordered Chinese websites and media to take down all of Lady Gaga’s songs in retaliation.

In June 2016, American music star Lady Gaga released her photo with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on social media and broadcast a two-minute conversation between the two on world peace, justice, mental health, humanity, and other issues. (Image: John Bauld via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

In June 2016, American music star Lady Gaga released her photo with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on social media. (Image: John Bauld via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Selena Gomez, the American female singer, was forced to cancel her concert scheduled in Guangzhou and Shanghai in August 2016 because she had uploaded a photo of herself with the Dalai Lama in 2014 on a social networking site. Prior to that, many musicians on the American music scene were forced to cancel their performances in China.

In July 2015, after a member of the California rock band Maroon 5 congratulated the Dalai Lama on his birthday through Twitter, the band was forced to cancel its scheduled concert performance in Shanghai that September. In September of the same year, the American rock band Bon Jovi was also forced to cancel their tour in China. The Financial Times reported that the Chinese Ministry of Culture discovered Bon Jovi using a photo of the Dalai Lama at a concert held in Taiwan in 2010.

The Chinese government is tough on the Hollywood movie stars who dare to touch upon the issue of Tibet independence. The film Seven Years in Tibet starring Hollywood star Brad Pitt describes the friendship between Austrian mountaineers and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and records the history of the People’s Liberation Army’s entry into Tibet. The film was banned by the Chinese authorities after it was released in 1997 because they believe that it indicated support for Tibet’s independence. Brad Pitt was also banned from entering China until 2014.

The most well-known case is of the famous Hollywood star Richard Gere, chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet. Richard Gere is a devout Buddhist who often publicly criticizes the Chinese government’s suppression of Tibetans and sponsors the cause of human rights in Tibet. In April 2017,  the Hollywood Reporter published an interview with him saying that Hollywood is reluctant to offend the Chinese government, which controls the world’s second-largest movie market.

Actor Richard Gere presented with a Khata by the 14th Dalai Lama, October 17, 2007 at the U.S. Capital. (Image: sneakerdog via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Actor Richard Gere presented with a Khata by the 14th Dalai Lama, October 17, 2007, at the U.S. Capitol. (Image: sneakerdog via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

China expands its influence on Hollywood through commercial channels. In 2012, Dalian Wanda Group of China acquired AMC, the second-largest cinema company in the U.S., for US$2.6 billion dollars. in 2016, the Wanda group spent another US$3.5 billion to acquire Legendary Entertainment. In October 2016, Alibaba Pictures, a Chinese e-commerce giant, also announced that it would acquire part of the equity of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, and Ali Pictures would also send a representative as the board of directors and participate in the decision of the company’s major issues.

Translated by Ying Ming

Source: Secret China

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