Monday, November 18, 2013

China causes academics, journalists in the US to self-censor

Here’s an attention-getting story in the Washington Post, p. A23, by Fred Hiatt, “How China censors Americans”.  The online title is more detailed, “Chinese leaders control media, academics, to shape the perception of China”, link here.
  
China has a history of denying visas to academics and sometimes journalists with a history of criticizing the policies of the country.  Would they deny entry to a blogger like me?
  
Some universities operate campuses in China, or have a lot of Chinese students, and feel an incentive to tow the self-censorship line. Journalists with relatives in China report that those extended family members are sometimes threatened.  
  
What’s more interesting is that, according to the story, Hollywood often alters scripts so they will be acceptable in China.  That may not matter for some kinds of films, but I wonder how it would affect the “independent” market.  If someone goes out and looks for investor money to produce a controversial film, are bean counters really likely to worry about how a movie will sell in authoritarian countries?  That could matter to me.



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