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June 22, 2018

For Hollywood China is a huge market it cannot afford to ignore. But closer co-operation with the Chinese movie industry has not always gone well: Expensive co-productions like “The Great Wall” flopped at box offices worldwide in 2016. More recently, a series of high profile deals hit snags. Yet Hollywood is still keen on China and willing to go a long way to please Chinese censors by tweaking scripts, making Chinese movie characters look nicer or replacing Chinese villains with baddies from North Korea. “Hollywood is compromising freedom of expression to stay in China,” warns film critic and Boston College lecturer Martha Bayles. In the new MERICS Experts podcast she argues that the US film industry should become more mindful of China’s influences and draw clear red lines.