China continues to exert damaging influence on Hollywood, report finds

China continues to exert damaging influence on Hollywood, report finds

  • A study from Pen America warns of the long-term effects of studios censoring content to appease the Chinese government

A new report has found that the Chinese government’s influence on Hollywood is posing a serious threat to free expression.

The 94-page study, from the literary and human rights group Pen America, details the many ways that studios and film-makers continue to change “cast, plot, dialogue and settings” in an “effort to avoid antagonising Chinese officials” in films including Iron Man 3, World War Z and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick.

“The Chinese Communist party is increasingly shaping what global audiences see,” said James Tager, deputy director of free expression research and policy at Pen America, also a lead author of the report. “While we are all well aware of the strict controls that China’s government maintains over dissent, independent thought and creativity within its own borders, the long arm of Chinese censorship – powered by vast economic incentives – has also reached deep into Hollywood, shaping perceptions, inculcating sensitivities and reshaping the bounds of what can be shown, said and told.”