How china is sold to tourists through film

Through popular culture like movies which are worldwide provides a great outlet to sell china to potential tourists. The most popular Chinese movies in the western world would have to be “Hero”, “house of Flying Daggers”, “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and “Mulan”. These films all share very similar images, stereotypes and places of china. All these films are set in the past, characters wear traditional clothes  and live in courtyard houses. Furthermore these films are all kung Fu martial art films with beautiful scenery of china. The film “Mulan” features the Great Wall of China. These films do not match up with modern china which is about city life. The cities are full of pollution and don’t have amazing scenery and open space. The traditional courtyard housing is being demolished to make way for modern skyscrapers to accommodate the population. Furthermore the tradional clothing is only worn for tourists, shows and special occasions in today’s society. These films depict Chinese as being happy and give a positive view of china as a place to visit.

However there are films out here that give a negative view of china like “Kudan”, “red Corner” and “Several Years in Tibet”. These films contain recent Chinese history like the cold war and the Dali Lama. The Chinese government have expressed their displeasure in these films as they contain actions the Chinese are not proud of. These films have been banned in china, as the images shown in  these movies is not what china wants to show their citizens or to be depicted as to the outside world.

China want to be shown as a country that can do no wrong and are happy for the past to represent china as there are heroic deeds in their past  which portrays china in a positive light. There are no heroic deeds in recent history so they do not want their recent actions to represent them.

Since China want to be portrayed in a positive way the relationship between the film industry and china is difficult.

“ Hollywood has learned the hard way that besmirching china can have long running implications for the many arms of a modern media conglomerate” (Ben fritz and John Horn, Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2011)

Film companies don’t want to make the mistake of making films like “Kudan”, “Red corner” and risk upsetting a country.  Therefore companies making films don’t want to portray china in a way that they will dislike as it will affect business and business with china. China is now playing a bigger role in funding and creation of films. Also DVDs are probably produced and packaged in china cheaply to be sold around the world.  Marketing and selling in china is also on the rise. Therefor companies want to portray china the way they want to continue doing business with china.  China only allows 20 foreign films a year to be shown as they want to reduce the amount the outside world can influence the Chinese people in the way that they behave.  The films that are chosen to be viewed are heavily censored, for example the films are not to have any religion, sex or violence. Many aspects of what makes a good story are removed from the film due to censoring.  The World Trade organisation is trying to get china to change their policy on 20 foreign films a year to be removed.

Overall china is sold to potential tourists as being a place stuck in the past with stereotype images and places, like traditional clothing, historical landmarks, and country side living with martial arts. This is how china wants to be portrayed as it shows positive china where everyone is happy. However this does not match up with the countries desire to be modern country where they are building modern cities, advancing technologies, building the worlds products and becoming a super power.


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