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February 22, 2019

Film fans still wonder why Zhang Yimou’s “One Second” was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival. The official explanation that “technical reasons” were to blame only fueled speculation that Chinese censors objected to the film’s debut. Leading Chinese film scholar Ying Zhu, who teaches in New York and Hong Kong, discusses Zhang Yimou’s case in the new MERICS Experts podcast. For Chinese filmmakers “censorship is a very challenging issue”, she notes, adding that controls over film narratives were tightened last year. The Chinese leadership regards film as a key soft-power tool and uses the cinema – often with help from Hollywood - to get is messages out.  As the collaboration between China and Hollywood matures, Zhu warns, “we will see more and more stories with highly sanitized China images.”