Why is Hollywood Pandering to Chinese Censors? By Mitchell Blatt
Watching The Dark Knight Rises in Shanghai in 2012, I wondered how the film had gotten past the censors. A leftist was running around a city decrying the rich, inciting a mindless mob to take over and steal individuals’ property, and convicting people without trial in kangaroo courts. It was as if Mao Zedong had come to Gotham City.
I wasn’t the only one who saw parallels between Bane’s revolution and China’s Cultural Revolution, a chaotic time when mobs of students organized into Red Guard units and beat so-called class enemies and fought each other. The description of the film on a Chinese piracy website summarized: “A modern city is on the verge of having a ‘Cultural Revolution’ ignite!” A Chinese netizen wrote in a blog post at a culture website, “It is a miracle this film got through our country’s film censorship system. . . . This film is a living projection of the unrest that occurred in our country during the 60s and 70s.”
All the more surprising, The Dark Knight, which was the precursor to The Dark Knight Rises, had not been allowed into China; that film’s star, Christian Bale, had caused controversy when he tried to visit a dissident in China in 2011.