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Chinese propaganda films are being made in New Zealand, and the filmmakers are getting a tax rebate from the government.
New Zealand news outlet Stuff reported that a new film, Wolf Warrior 2, is “a militaristic Chinese propaganda film, partly made in New Zealand.” The tagline for the new film reads:
Anyone who offends China, no matter how remote, must be exterminated.
Further, the film qualified for New Zealand’s screen production grant, which returned $243,000 to the producers after they spent $1.2 million making the New Zealand part of the film. Park Road Post, a post-production facility, received the money from the propaganda film. The facility is owned by Peter Jackson’s production company, WingNut Films.
Stuff reported that the film team received a “taxpayer-funded rebate,” but this is inaccurate. The money did not come from taxpayers. The money was given back to the film team after they overpaid taxes.
More from Stuff:
The film was not made directly by the Chinese Government, but by a slew of Chinese state-owned enterprises, including the China Film Group Corporation, China’s largest film producer, and Bona Films.
Bona Films is a subsidiary of China Poly Group, another state-owned enterprise. China Poly Group is an unusual conglomerate housing the world’s third largest art auction house and a real estate business, and has “longstanding ties to the military and the family of the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping,” according to The New York Times.
The first Wolf Warrior was made with the help of China’s military, which supplied real aircraft for the film and 32 active tanks.
Stuff also reported that researcher and China expert, Professor Anne-Marie Brady, has a report coming out that will explain how the cooperation between New Zealand and China may be a financial boon to the smaller country at the expense of its culture.
“It will have a chilling effect on our cultural scene,” she told Stuff.
The reason is that New Zealand’s films will have to follow Chinese censorship rules in order to tap into the massive cinematic market in the communist country.
The demand to bow to China’s censorship has affected numerous films, not just in New Zealand, but also the U.S. Most recently, American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino refused to recut his most recent film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to appease Chinese censors. His stand against China came after the NBA apologized for a general manager’s tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters.
Stuff reported on another New Zealand film caught in the controversy:
New Zealand-made Mulan, directed by Whale Rider director Niki Caro, has copped criticism for its overly militaristic pro-China tone ahead of its release.
People have threatened to boycott the film, after it’s star, Liu Yifei, posted a meme from the Communist Party’s People’s Daily saying “I support the Hong Kong police” on social media, alongside a heart emoji.
The post went up a day after the UN Humans rights office said the Hong Kong police were “employing less-lethal weapons in ways that are prohibited by international norms and standards.”