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Cruz Proposes Bill to Block Pentagon-Backed Films from Submitting to Chinese Censorship

Senator Ted Cruz speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is drafting legislation targeting Hollywood’s demonstrated willingness to self-censor in order to access the Chinese market.

“The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act” (SCRIPT Act) would block contracts between the Pentagon and film studios that edit their movies for Chinese audiences.

“For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits,” Cruz said in a statement. “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.” According to a report in The Independent, the Department of Defense has assisted Hollywood in the production of over 800 movies since 1917.

Beijing reviews every foreign film that asks to be screened in China, and has been known to recut or cancel screening to audiences. In October, regulators canceled the release of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood after Bruce Lee’s daughter objected to the portrayal of her father in the film, despite Tarantino working with a Chinese state-owned media group to recut the film to fit censorship guidelines.

Later that month, Disney CEO Robert Iger refused to publicly comment on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong because such a position “that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake.”

Filmmaker and comedian Judd Apatow criticized the industry in a January interview, during which he for “very slowly and insidiously” submitting to Beijing’s wishes.

“The result is, there are a million or more Muslims in reeducation camps in China, and you don’t really hear much about it,” he said, referencing the Chinese Communist Party’s detention of roughly the minority Uighur Muslim population.

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