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