The Department of Defense (DoD) recently updated a media production document, declaring that it will not work with film studios that tailor their movies to meet China’s demands.
“The DoD will not provide production assistance when there is demonstrable evidence that the production has complied or is likely to comply with a demand from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party, or an entity under the direction of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party to censor the content of the project in a material manner to advance the national interest of the People’s Republic of China,” according to a document shared with The Epoch Times (pdf).
The document says media productions include feature motion pictures, episodic television programs, documentaries, and electronic games.
According to the document, the update is made in accordance with a provision (Section 1257) in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (pdf), a massive defense spending bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in December last year.
In response to an inquiry from The Epoch Times, the Pentagon said the new regulation is “currently in effect” after the document was updated on June 28.
For decades, Hollywood and the American military have had a mutually beneficial relationship, with movies being allowed to be filmed on military bases, planes, and ships, while the military gets positive portrayals of its soldiers—sometimes evening leading to a recruitment boom.
However, in recent years, the Chinese regime has increasingly been using the allure of its massive film market to get Hollywood studios to censor or alter movies, a trend that jeopardizes free speech while sacrificing American values and principles.
The issue of Chinese censorship came under scrutiny with the release of “Top Gun: Maverick” in 2022. In the original “Top Gun” film, Tom Cruise’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, wears a bomber jacket with Taiwanese and Japanese flag patches. However, a trailer for the second installment showed both flags removed and replaced with emblems, drawing speculation that the move was aimed at appeasing Beijing. Eventually, the flags were reinstated in the final version of the movie.
Also, in 2022, the movie “Minions: The Rise Of Gru” got an alternative ending in China that supported the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) policies.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement on June 30 applauding the Pentagon for its decision.
“I am glad to see the Pentagon stand up against the CCP’s attempt to censor and control American films. Studios that bow to an adversarial nation’s political agenda do not deserve support from our defense agencies,” Green wrote.
“American filmmaking should be about free expression and American values. It should not be used as a vehicle for CCP propaganda,” Green added. “The Pentagon’s new rule is a great step forward, but we need protections against CCP propaganda written in law.”
In March, Green reintroduced the Stopping Communist Regimes from Engaging in Edits Now Act (SCREEN Act) to discourage Hollywood from bowing to Beijing censorship. The Tennessee lawmaker first introduced the bill in February 2022 during the previous session of Congress.
If enacted, the legislation would prevent the federal government from helping Hollywood studios with the production of a film if the film is co-produced by a Chinese company.
Additionally, it would require Hollywood studios to provide written statements promising not to censor their films at the CCP’s request before they receive any assistance from the Department of State.
Since last February, “the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) escalated attempts to censor free speech in the United States. The CCP will not make our film industry an arm of its propaganda machine,” Green wrote in a statement accompanying his legislation.
“Many high budget films rely on help from the U.S. government for filming and technical assistance; with my legislation, this assistance will no longer be available if these studios kowtow to Beijing,” Green added. “My SCREEN Act counters the CCP’s blatant attack on our values by demanding transparency and accountability.”