China's Soft Power Grows

China's media control spreads to Taiwan, Hong Kong
The protest and its fallout come amid a growing fear among many Taiwanese that China's influence is already starting to spread to the local media. Highlighting these concerns is the brewing controversy over how some major Taiwanese bookstores have decided not to sell a book by Yuan Hongbing, a Chinese defector and author.

Titled "Shafo" (killing a Buddha), the book was published last autumn. In it, Yuan claims that the 10th Panchen Lama, a leader of Tibetan Buddhism and a living Buddha, died suddenly in January 1989 not of a heart attack, as the Chinese government says, but because he was assassinated at Beijing's behest for political motives.

In November last year, Yuan spoke out against Eslite Bookstore, Taiwan's largest bookstore chain, and other shops for not selling the book. They defended their actions by pointing out the highly sensitive nature of the book. News reports later said many other Taiwanese bookstores also became cautious about carrying Yuan's books, and not just Shafo.

......In Hong Kong, meanwhile, a series of unsettling incidents has taken place since the beginning of the year. Commercial Radio Hong Kong, for example, abruptly fired the popular host of a current-affairs program in February. That same month, a former chief editor of the Ming Pao Daily News, an influential daily, was attacked by unknown assailants and seriously injured. Both journalists are known for being critical of Beijing's heavy influence in the Hong Kong government.

Relevant: China Film takes 1st stake in Hollywood movies
"Seventh Son" is a fantasy adventure starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore that's scheduled for release on Feb. 6, 2015. "Warcraft," based on a popular video game series, is slated for release March 11, 2016.

If approved for release in China, China Film would distribute the movies under current rules and regulations for foreign films, which are limited to just 34 a year. The deal calls for China Film to be credited on the movies.

China Film, which is planning to go public, owns stakes in movie theater chains that make up half of the country's box office receipts. Its parent, China Film Group, is the gatekeeper for foreign studios because it controls film imports and co-productions.

The projects are the first since Legendary and China Film teamed up about a year ago to produce global blockbusters. It's one of a number of recent tie-ups between companies in the world's two biggest movies markets.

China doesn't have to buy in to influence Hollywood though. There are rumors that certain films are denied entry due to unfavorable comments on China made by the director or stars in a film. There's also this example. It comes from the presskit for a movie Dragon Day, so it comes with a grain of salt.

The concept of a massive cyberwar from China taking over the US brings to mind big Hollywood effects and big budgets. Naturally, I think there is a story that can be told at that level, and considered it. We even had some studios interested in the script, but they told me “you can’t have China be the bad guy”. They wanted me to rewrite it to make North Korea the invaders. These studios were afraid of offending their Chinese financiers. Plus, I knew with a larger studio, the script could easily go into development hell like my previous script, and I wasn’t ready for another round of that.

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