Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton recently outlined a plan calling for the United States of America to “ban Chinese investment” in Hollywood.
Cotton shared the 84-page plan called Beat China: Targeted Decoupling and the Economic Long War to Twitter, where he stated, “The Chinese Communist Party has lied, stolen, and killed its way to the top. America needs a plan to beat this new Evil empire.”
As part of this plan, Cotton has an entire section labeled “Entertainment” that begins on page 34.
Cotton begins the section by detailing why Chinese influence in Hollywood is troubling and needs to be addressed.
He notes, “For years, Hollywood justified its presence in China by arguing that it served a greater good by giving the Chinese people access to films made in the free world. Hollywood did not succeed in changing China. Instead, it became addicted to Chinese money and responsive to CCP control.”
Cotton goes on to detail that “the CCP, like other totalitarian movements, views entertainment, the arts, and sports as means to maintain social control at home and export propaganda abroad.”
To hit this point home, the report quotes Chinese leader Xi Jinping from 2014 where detailed that arts should serve politics. Xi Jinping stated, “Art and literature is the engineering that molds the human soul… Art and literary workers are the engineers of the human soul.”
The report then details, “The CCP’s censorship of U.S. productions, then, is not simply a reactionary measure to ensure regime security, but a part of China’s grander ambitions for global ideological competition.”
“The CCP is intent on subverting the power of American movies and television in the short term. Its ultimate aim is to overthrow Hollywood as the world’s cinematic powerhouse, replacing it with a Chinese entertainment and media industry that can suppress all content critical of the CCP and engineer a world safe for autocracy,” it adds.
In order to prevent this from happening, Cotton’s report states, “the federal government should ban Chinese investment in U.S. studios and streaming services.”
He also calls on America companies to “divest from Chinese sources and dissolve existing joint ventures.”
“The government should also prohibit Chinese investment in platforms that show movies and TV shows in the United States, such as movie theater companies and cable and broadcast television providers,” he adds.
To that end he calls on the government to require AMC Theaters to separate from Dalian Wanda, the Chinese company according to The Hollywood Reporter holds “58.8 percent of the voting power of AMC’s stock, despite owning much less than 50 percent of the company.”
Cotton notes that “these actions would limit the CCP’s ability to directly control American entertainment, they would not prevent Beijing from using its market access to compel U.S. companies to comply with CCP censorship.”
In order to address the problem he wants the United States to “prohibit the DOD, CIA, and FBI from supporting any television and film studios that allow the content they release in the U.S. market to be censored by the CCP.”
Still, he believes these policies “will be limited if Hollywood does not commit to resisting malign foreign influence.” In order to help Hollywood resist this “malign foreign influence” as Cotton puts it, he wants the federal government to work with Hollywood executives “to raise awareness about the CCP’s systemic campaign to manipulate, infiltrate, and capture it studios.”
Finally, Cotton concludes the “Entertainment” section stating, “Entertainment executives must understand that the CCP, while a profitable partner in the short term, is ultimately hostile to their freedom and creativity. They must be willing to face down this threat, as brave artists have done with past totalitarian regimes, by placing their ideals ahead of their short-term financial interests.”
“The government can help these executives have the courage of their convictions by weakening the CCP’s hold on their industry,” he adds.
Cotton is not alone in seeing the threat of the CCP in Hollywood. Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced a bill called the “SCRIPT ACT” back in May 2020.
The bill’s goal is to limit or prohibit Department of Defense resources being used to help movie studios.
The summary reads, “To prohibit the use of Department of Defense funds for the production of films by United States companies that alter content for screening in the People’s Republic of China, and for other purposes.”
It specifically states the Secretary of Defense “may not provide technical support or access to any asset controlled by the Department” if the film is “co-produced by an entity located in the People’s Republic of China that is subject to conditions on content imposed by an official of the Government of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party.”
On Twitter, Cruz called the bill a “wake-up call” for Hollywood. He wrote, “For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits.”
In a subsequent tweet he added, “The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China.”
What do you make of Cotton’s plan to “ban Chinese investment” in Hollywood?