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

Checking China’s Diplomatic Piracy in the South China Sea
Foreign Affairs
Checking China’s Diplomatic Piracy in the South China Sea
September 18, 2020
by Craig Singleton

China appears keen to bring piracy back as an instrument of foreign policy, but the days of eye patches and wooden legs are long gone. Instead, Beijing’s most effective raiding parties prefer business suits and briefcases, thus allowing them to ransack and plunder under the guise... Read More

Trump Vote-Rigging Claims Fit Russia’s Plan, Former Top Spy Says
2020 Elections
Trump Vote-Rigging Claims Fit Russia’s Plan, Former Top Spy Says

President Donald Trump is playing into Russia’s hands by claiming that his political adversaries are trying to rig the U.S. election, a former senior intelligence official said. Sue Gordon, who left the second-highest post in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence a year ago,... Read More

Whistleblower Says Trump Aides Suppressed Russia Evidence
2016 U.S. Election
Whistleblower Says Trump Aides Suppressed Russia Evidence

WASHINGTON — Trump administration appointees suppressed intelligence on Russian election interference and the threat from white supremacists, according to a whistleblower complaint filed by the Department of Homeland Security’s former intelligence chief. The complaint by Brian Murphy alleges interference from officials including Acting DHS Secretary Chad... Read More

Japan PM Shinzo Abe Says He's Resigning for Health Reasons
Foreign Affairs
Japan PM Shinzo Abe Says He's Resigning for Health Reasons

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said Friday he is stepping down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced. He told reporters that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished. Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a... Read More

Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska
Geopolitics
Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia's navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about... Read More

US Demands Restoration of UN Sanctions Against Iran
Geopolitics
US Demands Restoration of UN Sanctions Against Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is set to demand the restoration of all international sanctions on Iran in a move that will further isolate the U.S. at the United Nations, test the credibility of the U.N. Security Council and possibly deal a fatal blow to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top