Surprise, suprise, the Chinese government — through a so-called private firm called Wanda -- has not been shy about the goal of buying into the Hollywood media. In China, the Communist Party banned or currently bans thousands of books it has deemed controversial or offensive and it heavily censors the Internet. Don't forget that Facebook and Twitter remain prohibited in China. Freedom House ranked the Chinese a more restrictive society than even Iran and Saudi Arabia because of this tight control of the internet, social media, and censorship.
Now, after buying up Dick Clark Productions (think the ball descending in Times Square on New Years' Eve), the Chinese have gone on a shopping spree with Hollywood being the products of choice. While some wonder what this will mean for China, I wonder what it might mean for religion, for truth, for any semblance of objectivity in media that people increasingly confuse with the news media as a reliable source of information. Read below:
China has never been shy about its desire to acquire “soft power” – the kind of cultural and economic influence that can’t be wielded by military might. And Hollywood has often been a partner in its project.
China’s bid for soft power was on show this week, as Sony Pictures Entertainment formed an alliance with Dalian Wanda, a Chinese company that has become one of the world’s largest media empires, in a deal announced Friday. While the partnership was smaller than some of Dalian Wanda’s previous acquisitions, it attracted attention as the Chinese company’s third major deal in Hollywood this year.
These deals have sparked concern over whether China’s expanding influence in Hollywood could lead to more pro-Chinese propaganda in U.S. films. The Chinese government tightly controls media content, and Hollywood studios have been known to alter films to feature China or the Chinese government in a more flattering light to gain access to the country’s lucrative film market.Globalism is certainly the long term view of many politicos -- everyone from Obama to Bush 43 have been seen as promoting global trade, global economy, global policy toward current issues. Nationalism, on the other hand, has been seen more and more in a less positive light. While I have no profound opinions on the trade aspect of global policy, I am increasingly concerned that the direction of much of this globalism seems less in the direction of freedom of religion and more toward those who neither advocate nor tolerate freedom of religion. It is a strange thing that the media that objects most to censorship is allied with societies that practice the most rigid censorship on the planet -- China being even more restrictive than even Iran!
For Hollywood, China provides the blockbuster combination of a huge movie market and cash-rich equity funds that are eager to invest in films and companies. The Chinese box office is on pace to soon surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest market, perhaps next year.
The partnership -- in which the Chinese company will help promote Sony films in China and co-finance some of Sony's biggest China movie releases -- comes on the heels of two major acquisitions. In January, Dalian Wanda announced the acquisition of Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood production company behind such blockbusters as “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight.” In March, AMC Entertainment, a U.S. cinema chain previously acquired by Dalian Wanda, made a bid for Carmike Cinemas that would make Dalian Wanda Group the owner of the biggest cinema chain in the United States.
In the midst of all of this, it seems that Christianity will be left hanging. Islam receives a pass on its sins against feminism and GLBTQ folks but Christianity is regularly ridiculed for not embracing the same agendas. It almost makes you wonder if this is not part of a global agenda to restrict Christians if they cannot be eradicated. Look at the Middle East and see what an effective job the conflicts there have done to dilute the Christian presence. What a shame that Christians fared better under despots and dictators than folks there now who claim legitimacy from a ballot box. Christians are heavily restricted and controlled in China and are almost non-existent in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Yet we seem to be willing to accept cash from the highest bidders and condemn an Islamophobia that is less about Islam than about terror and violence against Christians and Judeo-Christian values.