Chinese Director Censored in Home Country After Oscar Win

Photo from The Oscars Instagram

Chinese Director Censored in Home Country After Oscar Win

By Movieguide® Staff

NOMADLAND director Chloé Zhao became the first Chinese woman to win the Oscar for best director. However, in Zhao’s home country of China, her win has been censored. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chinese social media sites took down posts celebrating Zhao’s win.  

WJ reported

Searches for her name on Baidu and Sogou, the country’s dominant search engines, produced numerous links to news of her previous accolades but only scattered links to deleted articles about the Academy Award honor.

State broadcaster China Central Television, the official Xinhua News Agency, and Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily stayed silent on the award throughout the day. Two state media reporters told The Wall Street Journal that they had received orders from China’s propaganda ministry not to report on Ms. Zhao’s victory, despite what they described as her status as a Chinese national, because of “previous public opinion.”

The 39-year-old director was born in Beijing, China, and moved to the U.S. while in high school. 

Zhao is candid about her experience in China and experienced censorship there previously after saying that “there are lies everywhere” in a 2013 interview.

Despite excitement from Chinese fans, China’s social media sites took down users’ posts related to Zhao’s win within hours.

“I am truly happy about it because a Chinese filmmaker has left a magnificent mark on global film history. It’s worth celebrating no matter what,” wrote a user on Zhihu.

“Why is it I can’t find any news about Nomadland in the country at all, is that really necessary?” wrote a Weibo user.

Americans also responded to China’s censorship of Ms. Zhao. 

“There is a basic contradiction between wanting to claim credit for someone born in Beijing who has succeeded in the West in a creative field and wanting to control the message about how great and successful China is as well,” Stanley Rosen, a Chinese politics professor at University of Southern California, said.

China has experienced increased restrictions and regulations on media as the Communist Party approaches its 100th year anniversary.

“China doesn’t want any distractions from the patriotic message they are sending,” Rosen added.

Movieguide® recently reported

China’s regulation of citizens’ online activity is nothing new. However, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently launched a hotline that will allow other citizens to report internet comments that discredit or disagree with the Communist Party and its history. 

As the nation gears up to celebrate the Party’s 100th anniversary, CAC claims the new hotline will help stop “mistaken opinions” and encourage a “good public opinion atmosphere.”

“For a while now, some people with ulterior motives…have spread historically nihilistic false statements online, maliciously distorting, slandering and denying Party, national and military history in an attempt to confuse people’s thinking,” a CAC notice said. “We hope that most internet users will play an active role in supervising society…and enthusiastically report harmful information.”