Shut Down or Shut Out? China closes the window to U.S. Media

President Trump at the daily coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House last Tuesday.
Source: The New York Times

On March 2nd, following Trump’s travel ban from China, the State Department announced the expulsion of Chinese media outlets that worked within the U.S. While long-planned, this came in response to the Chinese government’s lack of information shard regarding the spread of the Coronavirus prior to the explosion of cases in the United States.

While the U.S. had waited for this opportunity to expel Chinese media from the U.S. this was reciprocated by the Communist Party in China, and China expelled reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These reporters had given the world a look into the mistakes China made in reporting on the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as the reality faced by the Chinese people. While expelling Chinese journalists from the U.S. was meant to reprimand China for their failure to disclose fully on the virus, it backfired greatly, “’Given the fact that it’s vital to have good information out of China right now because of coronavirus, the U.S. decision was pretty disastrous timing,’” said Megha Rajagopalan.

While both the Chinese and U.S. governments are playing the “blame game” and attributing the expulsions to even the playing field, both sides had long awaited the chance to regain their privacy from the other. This issue is particularly tenuous for the U.S. as access into China by U.S. media reporters has been an on again off again game. While there is hope to re-stabilize relations in order to allow a necessary look into how China is coping with the virus, the timing could not have been worse.

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Kids movie ‘Abominable’ removed from Vietnam

Image result for abominable map
The “nine-dash line” that caused Vietnam to remove Abominable from theaters

As we have recently seen, nothing is spared from Chinese international politics not even a cute animated movie. The Dreamworks animated film “Abominable” has recently been pulled from all Vietnam theaters for showing a chinese map that contains the “nine-dash line” The movie which follows a chinese girl who befriends a yeti has no intention of starting a political outrage but yet here we are. The nine-dash line in question is a hotly contested border created by the Chinese that includes a lot of territory that the governments of Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim they have. 

Since China has made the claim in 1940 and created the nine-dash line, they have defended the territory their extensively. They have created islands and added infrastructure on those island so people can live there. They also have their navy defend the waters from other governments.This comes during a very problematic time for China or more importantly human rights, with China erasing any content they deem insults the government. South Park released was completely erased from the Chinese internet after they insulted China’s censorship laws. China has a 8.87 billion dollar movie market and Hollywood and other companies want to get a piece of the market but are sacrificing their rights or at least bending to Chinese censorship. The inclusion of the nine-dash line in the movie was there to appease the Chinese government but failed to respect the other countries involved in this dispute. It is scary to see so many companies and corporations give up their rights to appease a foriegn government based solely on money but I do not think this is going to stop and moving forward I think China is going to start threatening more companies into this censorship. Hopefully more media companies like the creators of South Park take a stand against this kind of censorship because if movies like Abominable can not escape the limelight any movie or show is a target for censorship.