by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s no secret that Hollywood’s political views lean left. But few of us would expect the American move industry to have overly close ties to the communist Chinese government. Bobby Miller writes at National Review Online about one way in which those ties were put on display for the whole world to see.
Hollywood loves to portray itself as the voice of the voiceless, highlighting the struggles of marginalized people everywhere. But when giving a voice to the voiceless would entail acting against a one-party autocracy actively committing genocide, many of the most vocal stars balk.
Case in point, on Sunday night, Star Wars actor Donnie Yen was given the honor of presenting an award at the Academy Awards. Yen currently sits on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a consortium of representatives from various sectors of Chinese society that advises Chinese-government officials and intelligence officers (among others). Yen has also called the 2019–2020 protests against the Chinese Communist Party’s encroachment upon his native Hong Kong’s autonomy a “riot.”
Yen’s ties to the CCP and criticism of the Hong Kong democracy movement should be condemned. Instead, the Academy gave him the honor of pronouncing a winner at the Oscars. It’s further evidence that much of Hollywood has been compromised by studios’ desire to tap into the Chinese market. Until that changes (and perhaps to help facilitate a change), American moviegoers should support the parts that are not.
Perhaps people in Hollywood need to learn more about China’s plans.
At the opening of its annual People’s Congress last Sunday, the Chinese government announced a 7.2 percent increase in its military budget, bringing China’s total military spending this year to $224 billion. China’s actual military expenditures will undoubtedly be much higher. Still, the timing of Beijing’s announcement is interesting because only a week ago, at the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing cast itself as a peacemaker by issuing a 12-point “peace plan.”