Chinese Newspaper: 'The Interview' Shows Hollywood's "Senseless Cultural Arrogance"

The Interview Still 2 - H 2014
Ed Araquel

The Interview Still 2 - H 2014

In an op-ed, the Global Times newspaper wonders why no one criticizes China now that the market is so big

A state-run Chinese newspaper has slammed Sony's North Korean-baiting comedy The Interview, which it pulled after a cyberattack, saying it was evidence of Hollywood's "senseless cultural arrogance".

An editorial in the Global Times newspaper, part of the group that publishes the official Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily, said making a comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "tasteless" and "nothing to be proud of."

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China is North Korea's only significant ally. China supported the North during the Korean War (1950-53) and aid from Beijing has probably kept the North Korean economy going since it lost the support of the Soviet Union following its collapse in the early 1990s.

However, relations have been strained since the North decided to go ahead with its nuclear weapons program against China's wishes.

The editorial ran as North Korea said accusations by the FBI that it was involved in the cyberattack on Sony Pictures were "groundless slander" and that it was wanted a joint probe into the incident with the U.S.

"Any civilized world will oppose hacker attacks or terror threats. But a movie like The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the U.S., is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and U.S. society," ran the commentary.

"No matter how the U.S. society looks at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Kim is still the leader of the country. The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance," it said.

There have been murmurs that China may have been involved in the hack, possibly with the hackers hiding behind Chinese servers. Beijing has denied any involvement.

The op-ed asked why the leaders of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia or Singapore were not made into assassination targets in movies.

"The protests would be exceptionally strong, and the entertainment companies in the U.S. might also end up in big troubles," it said.

The op-ed said that China was getting an easy ride from Hollywood these days since it became the second largest film market in the world and the U.S. started to aggressively woo the booming market.

"China used to be also portrayed in a negative light occasionally. Now that the Chinese market has become a gold mine for U.S. movies, Hollywood has begun to show an increasingly friendly face, just in order to attract more Chinese viewers," it said.

U.S. society should "show some good manners instead of being too aggressive" and American elites "should not just speak like gentlemen, but behave like them".

The commentary said that China should stick to its principles when dealing with Hollywood and not worry about complaints about using its economic power to stifle freedom of creativity.

"Apparently, it is easier to show them the economic consequences than trying to reason with them," it said.