The image of China in Hollywood

Lately, film makers in Hollywood are being pressurised by the big studios to not only avoid negative depiction of China, rather find ways to portray positive and heroic Chinese characters in their movies. The growing power of China’s box-office and its enthusiastic censorship board are the two main reasons for this self-censoring by Hollywood, that is not usually very sensitive towards other foreign cultures.

‘Men in Black 3’ is the most recent victim of China’s censorship in which the film maker had to shorten the movie by 3 minutes. The scenes which were trimmed from ‘Men in Black 3’ included Will Smith and the aliens who were disguised as Chinese workers and another where Smith erases the memories of few Chinese men after they see him fighting a giant monster.

In ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’, China’s censorship board made the film maker remove a prime character in the movie since the thought of a Chinese rapist and looting pirate did not go well with them. The makers of ‘Red Dawn’ also had to digitally change the villain of the movie from Chinese to North Korean origin due to nervous distributors.

Sony, the promoter of ‘Men in Black 3’ regretted filming the censored scenes in the movie. They said that that they would have modified the ethnicity and the location of the characters if they knew that China would be offended by the way Chinese men were depicted in the movie.

Many script writers and filmmakers have been cautioned not to portray Chinese as villains in their scripts. Initially, many Hollywood movies have portrayed Chinese men and women in stereotypical and marginal roles. But now, Hollywood filmmakers do not want to take a risk by depicting China or the Chinese in a negative way because the country has the largest audience for Hollywood movies.

Click to comment
To Top