Ted Cruz Takes Aim at China, Accusing Hollywood of Bowing to Its Censors

May 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
Sen. Ted Cruz. (Screen grab from CSPAN)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday introduced a bill on the floor of the Senate that could have a profound effect on American movie studios as it aims to stop Chinese censorship of Hollywood films.

American studios have long allowed Chinese censors to make changes to their film because the huge Chinese market — with 1.3 billion potential moviegoers — is so lucrative.

In 2019, China’s box office revenues were a record $9.2 billion, having risen 54% over the previous year, according to Variety.

But Cruz said in a nearly empty Senate chamber Thursday that complying with the edits is tantamount to helping China engage in an anti-American and anti-West propaganda campaign.

In drafting The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act (SCRIPT Act), Cruz had originally said he intended to cut off any assistance by the Department of Defense to those film studios that submit their films to Chinese censors.

The bill he actually introduced Thursday, went even further, including all federal agencies.

Movie studios regularly turn to the federal government seeking permission to use everything from logos and uniforms, to military bases and government-owned buildings for shooting locations.

While the bill, if passed, would surely disrupt business-as-usual, it stops short of ordering American filmmakers to cut ties with China.

As he rolled out the bill, Cruz warned that Hollywood needs to be “vigilant about the Chinese government’s attempts to censor and silence elsewhere, including our own nation.”

During his soliloquy, Cruz name-checked a number of Hollywood films.

One act of Chinese censorship particularly irksome to the senator involves Tom Cruise’s character in the forthcoming Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Cruz highlighted the character’s bomber jacket had been stripped of Japanese and Taiwanese flags in promotional images and trailers — thought to be done in deference to Chinese censors.

“What message does it send that Maverick, an American icon, is apparently afraid of the Chinese communists?” Cruz said. “That’s ridiculous.”

“In Bohemian Rhapsody, the Chinese Communist Party edited out references to the fact that Freddie Mercury was gay,” the senator said. “In Dr. Strange, they changed the Ancient One’s character from Tibetan, as portrayed in the comic book, to Celtic.”

Cruz’s attack on Chinese censors comes at a time when the Chinese government is trying to salvage its image on the world stage in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

China has been accused of suppressing the fact the virus originated in its city of Wuhan and maintaining a level of secrecy that helped the virus spread globally.

In a statement, Cruz said, “From buying media outlets to broadcast propaganda into America to coercing Hollywood studios and sports leagues to self-censor by threatening to cut off access to one of the biggest markets for sports and entertainment in the world, the Chinese Communist Party spends billions and billions of dollars to mislead Americans about China and shape what our citizens see, hear, and think. 

“All of these activities are part of China’s whole-of-state approach to amass more influence around the world through information warfare, and we need to put a stop to it,” he continued. “For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits.

“The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China,” Cruz said.

Geopolitics

Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
Geopolitics
Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
November 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Defense analysts warned Congress Friday against the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan announced this week amid indications that radical Islamists could resume terrorist attacks. They said further proof is needed that Taliban fighters would not try to seize control of Afghanistan before the Trump... Read More

ASEAN, China, Other Partners Sign World's Biggest Trade Pact
Trade
ASEAN, China, Other Partners Sign World's Biggest Trade Pact

China and 14 other countries agreed Sunday to set up the world’s largest trading bloc, encompassing nearly a third of all economic activity, in a deal many in Asia are hoping will help hasten a recovery from the shocks of the pandemic. The Regional Comprehensive Economic... Read More

Dreams of a Red Emperor: The Relentless Rise of Xi Jinping
Geopolitics
Dreams of a Red Emperor: The Relentless Rise of Xi Jinping

YANAN, China — Stars showered from the ceiling as actors suspended by ropes ran through the air. An unseen man's voice boomed through the theater: "I have followed this red flag, walking thousands of kilometers with the faith of a Communist Party member in my heart!" Here in the hallowed... Read More

Watching US Presidential Vote, Much of the World Sees a Less-strong America
Geopolitics
Watching US Presidential Vote, Much of the World Sees a Less-strong America

BERLIN — In the eyes of much of the world the United States is a potent, yet faltering force, a conflicted nation heading into an election that will either redeem it or tug it farther away from the myths and promise that for generations defined it in capitals from Singapore to Paris and Buenos... Read More

Iran and Russia Have Attempted to Influence US Election, Officials Say
2020 Elections
Iran and Russia Have Attempted to Influence US Election, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information and are sending disinformation to Americans ahead of Election Day, the leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI warned Wednesday night. The announcement was made during a brief and hastily announced news conference, and it was another reminder of the shadow game that surrounds this... Read More

Amnesty: Credible Reports Protesters Shot Dead in Nigeria
Foreign Affairs
Amnesty: Credible Reports Protesters Shot Dead in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Amnesty International said late Tuesday there was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in the megacity of Lagos had fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality despite a new curfew going into effect. The Lagos state commissioner for information,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top