Oscars

China Censors the Oscars To Block a Hong Kong Protest Film

Documentary short Do Not Split draws the ire of Beijing.

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In 2019, Norwegian director Anders Hammer traveled to Hong Kong to document the demonstrations that erupted after a bill was introduced allowing criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

It was the beginning of the end for Hong Kong's political independence.

Hammer's documentary short, Do Not Split, takes viewers into the streets as protesters go head to head with the police in a desperate fight to preserve their freedoms.

Do Not Split, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, has garnered glowing reviews and an Academy Award nomination. The film is also one reason why the Oscars won't be broadcast live in Hong Kong for the first time in more than half a century. 

"The Communist Party's propaganda department issued the order to all media outlets" not to broadcast the Oscars in real time, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg. Along with Do Not Split, censors object to the nomination of Beijing-born director Chloe Zhao, who is up for best director for her film Nomadland, and was once hailed as "the pride of China." But then it came out that in a 2013 interview with Filmmaker magazine, Zhao recalled the China of her youth as "a place where there are lies everywhere."

"Beijing is known to react," explains Hammer. "They will take action in many different ways if they feel that something is going against their plan."

Ironically, Beijing's actions are having the opposite of their intended effect.

"We have had so many more media requests after this became a news story," says Hammer. "In that sense, I think that Beijing is helping the aim of this movie, which is to bring attention to the critical situation in Hong Kong."

Produced by Meredith Bragg.

Photo Credits: Li Gang / Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; Winson Wong/SCMP/Newscom; John Angelillo/UPI/Newscom; WENN / WENN English Top Features/Newscom; Hahn Lionel/ZUMA Press/Newscom; ABA/Newscom;  Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom; WENN / WENN English Top Features/Newscom; Winson Wong/SCMP/Newscom; Rafael Ben-Ari/Rafael Ben Ari/Newscom; Chinee Nouvelle/SIPA/Newscom; Matthias Balk/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

NEXT: More Than A Dozen States Are Trying To Nullify Federal Gun Control

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  1. I assure you, Chairman, that this mistake will not be repeated next year.

    —The Academy

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  2. China’s just the best and that’s why democrats want to emulate them.

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  3. The Oscars have never been less important, and that’s saying something. The opening monologue by Ricky Gervais at last year’s Golden Globes is more important than anything happening at the Oscars this year. The closing of the Cineramadome on Sunset is more important than the Oscars this year.

    1. Yes but what’s really sad is that those very same Oscars have taken a bigger, riskier stand against China’s attack on Hong Konger’s freedoms, than Reason.

      Koch money was the cancer that killed a once noble libertarian magazine.

      1. Yeah, I’m sure Reason is huge in China and censor their content accordingly. Like this article for example… oh, wait.

        1. Maybe you can point out all the articles actually devoted to China’s attack on Hong Kong democracy, or the Uighur holocaust, because as far as I’ve found they don’t even amount to one hand’s worth of fingers. And for a magazine that was once devoted to freedom, that’s fucking disgusting.

          Sullum wrote almost one hundred articles in four months crying about Trump’s post-elect court challenges, but Reason can’t come up with a whole article examining the biggest genocide since the Cambodian Killing Fields.

          Also, are you White Knight’s new sockpuppet, because your suckholing sounds like his.

  4. I’m surprised the Oscars didn’t censor the Oscars to block a Hong Kong protest film.

  5. “China Censors the Oscars To Block a Hong Kong Protest Film”

    You think that’s bad?

    The Democratic party used intimidation and threats to force Big Tech to shut down an entire social media platform earlier this year.

    1. Local story. Not nearly as important as what the average Chinese subject gets to watch on television.

    2. Censorship is okay when the free market does it. If you don’t believe in the right of a private company to stop the dissemination of misinformation and disinformation on their private platforms that they market as open social media platforms, then you don’t truly believe in liberty.

      1. “Censorship is okay when the free market does it.

        The Democratic party using the coercive power of government to force private companies to shut down a social media platform is not an example of the free market at work.

        1. The Rabbi needs to attend a seminar from the OBL school of parody; it has gotten to the point that, if I had not seen his earlier posts [before you went full on sarcasm], I would have no idea; Poe notwithstanding.

          1. Five or six years ago nobody would have thought that the good rabbi’s posts were anything but parody.
            Now he reads exactly like Jeff or Tony.

  6. yikes who green-lighted that?

  7. Where the entertainment industry and China is concerned, CCP $ talks, dissent walks.

    Makes me wonder when our betters will tells us to not criticize China?

    https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/445589-why-hollywood-turns-a-blind-eye-to-chinas-abuses

  8. So all of Hollywood will unite to call on American companies to boycott Communist China, and stop using their slave labor, right?
    We can expect Nike and Apple and the NBA and Delta to immediately recall all personnel in Communist China to show how much they oppose restrictions on freedoms, right?
    Who is John Galt?

    1. “So all of Hollywood will unite to call on American companies to boycott Communist China”

      This makes no sense. Hollywood is among the very rare industries in America that have a surplus with China. Businesses are not run like this and Hollywood is a business and a successful livelihood for many.

      And don’t sell Hollywood’s potential too short. A few years back they got behind the Tibetan cause, and made the Dalai Lama an International Celebrity. Thereby raising the issue of the plight of Tibet (which the Communist party denies) higher in public consciousness.

      1. Yeah, that Tibetan cause is really burning up the headlines since then!

        1. Blame the Dalai Lama. He’s their spiritual and secular leader and an International Celebrity. Hollywood has other concerns like making movies and money.

          And if you are thinking Hollywood is going to boycott China, put that nonsense out of your mind forthwith. It’s not going to happen.

    2. “We can expect Nike and Apple and the NBA and Delta to immediately recall all personnel in Communist China to show how much they oppose restrictions on freedoms, right?”

      These corporate brands are probably the most, if not only, popular, respected and all round well regarded face of America with the Chinese public today. Pull them out, and you’re left with the press, government officials, students and a motley crew of other distrusted, arrogant undesirables.

      1. They still don’t have to staff their factories with Uighur slaves, even if they want to be there.

        One day, when a new round of Nuremburg trial deals with the Uighur holocaust, I hope the executives from profiteers like Disney, Nike and Apple and the NBA are sitting in the same dock as the CCP butchers.

        1. “They still don’t have to staff their factories with Uighur slaves, even if they want to be there.”

          It’s so unfair to America’s own slaves.

    3. I think we can stop calling it Communist China given it is rapidly drifting far closer to fascism and away from communism.

  9. I, for some reason, do not see celebrities speaking truth to power here.

    1. We might have to settle for someone speaking truth to celebrities.

      1. Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?

        So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

        So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and fuck off, OK?

        —Ricky Gervais

        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/transcript-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-2020-opening-monologue-1266516

      2. Lots of people are trying, but you’ll never hear it past the media and big tech censorship.

  10. Perhaps China just made a mistake in its algorithm.

    1. lol… that excuse has worked well in the west so far! but I dont think China feels any need to try to justify their actions. Biden’s got their back … sort of like how the press doesnt feel the need to justify their blatant partisan hackery… tech oligarchs and the Dem govt have their backs

  11. So, because of one guy, a whole year of the industry’s best efforts to appease the Butchers of Beijing goes up in smoke.

    I wonder if the dozens of people in the US who will watch the broadcast will notice any difference.

  12. I really hope the Communist Party’s propaganda department is actually called the Propaganda Department. At least I could rest assured that they kind of suck at their job.

  13. And this surprises – how?? This is exactly out of their playbook, which looked so effective that facebook, twitter google et al adopted it for their political goals… [though i doubt those goals align with the interests of a goodly portion of their users – hey.. just like in China! I guess we’re all China now]

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  16. Dear REASON editors;

    When it comes to the Uyghurs, Hong-Kong, BBC is miles ahead of you in providing deep coverage of genocide and human rights issues. Al-Jazeera is not as good as BBC but is still much better than REASON in this regard

    1. Goddamn Pravda is better than reason.

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