Magazine August 2, 2021, Issue

The CCP Goes to Hollywood

A movie advertisement in Beijing in 2016. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)
Perhaps Hollywood could care about freedom again

When visiting China in 2007, I was told by several scholars and journalists that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) granted different degrees of freedom to different cultural sectors, depending on the size and nature of the audience. For example, the world-renowned visual artist Ai Weiwei could do pretty much as he liked, because his work fetched high praise and high prices in the West but had a minuscule audience at home.

That was then. In 2014, CCP general secretary Xi Jin­ping decreed that all Chinese artists must “adhere to correct views of history, the nation, the country, and culture.” Nowadays, Chinese

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This article appears as “Xi at the Cinema” in the August 2, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Martha Bayles is the author of Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad. She teaches at Boston College and, as a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, is working on a book about free speech in the digital age.

In This Issue



Economic Competition

Human Rights

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

The geopolitical, economic, and ideological competition between the U.S. and China is now out in the open.


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