Friday, 19 February 2016

China Cash and Movie Moguls — The Disturbing New Hollywood-Beijing Axis

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It's “Leftward, Ho!” for Chollywood (yes, even though you thought the denizens of Tinseltown had no further Left to go), as the big film studios hop into bed with the corporate fronts of China’s Communist Party. First there was the buyout/takeover of AMC Theaters in 2012 by China’s Dalian Wanda Group led by Wang Jianlin, usually referred to now as “China’s richest billionaire.” More recently, Wang “force of nature” Jianlin has gobbled up Legendary Entertainment (merger ceremony shown), the film studio behind such blockbusters as Jurassic World, 300, the Batman/Dark Knight trilogy, Pacific Rim, Godzilla, and Man of Steel. Wang paid $3.5 billion for that acquisition — and is hungry for more.

The $2.5 billion purchase of AMC, the second-largest theater chain in the United States, catapulted Wanda Group to the status of world’s largest cinema operator, with more than 5,000 screens at nearly 400 locations in six countries. In addition, AMC’s more than 26,000 employees in the United States and Canada also have given Wang Jianlin, a top functionary in the Communist Party of China (CPC), a growing toehold for leverage over American workers dependent on foreign companies for their paychecks.

But the AMC acquisition was only an opening wedge in Wang’s strategy for transforming Hollywood’s global reach into a propaganda vehicle and revenue stream for the communist regime in Beijing. In 2013, Wanda Group gave $20 million to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ film museum, in Los Angeles, the largest donation received by the Academy. In recognition of its largesse, the museum has named its film history gallery the Wanda Gallery. The same year, Wanda launched its mammoth five-year project to transform China's movie industry into the world's biggest, with an eye-popping $8.2 billion investment in a film studio/entertainment complex in Qingdao, China. Hollywood paid homage to the almighty Chinese yuan, sending Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Harvey Weinstein, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ewan McGregor, Kate Beckinsale, and other celebrity notables to bend their knees before Wang.

In 2014, Wanda Group won the bid for a much-coveted choice property on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, near Beverly Hills’ famous Rodeo Drive. “The Los Angeles project will serve as the Wanda Group’s first important step into Hollywood,” a Wanda Group release stated regarding the planned $1.2 billion development, which includes a luxury hotel and film studio. “The company will set up a Los Angeles office, which will handle entertainment sector investments while the company’s New York office will be responsible for commercial sector investments. The Los Angeles office will be able to leverage on Hollywood’s solid film industry resources to support the Group’s Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis and Qingdao International Film Festival projects in China. The office will also be the base for investment in local film production companies or global theatrical releases.”

“The Los Angeles project,” the Wanda Group release continued, “is expected to aid in China’s entry into Hollywood’s film industry and generally promote Chinese culture abroad.” The promotion of “Chinese culture abroad” is generally understood to be “Chinese culture” as defined by, and as an outreach of, the Communist Party of China’s Central Department of Propaganda.

“Wanda already has a big say in China’s film industry, but that’s far from enough,” Wang said at a ceremony in Beijing on January 12, 2016, inking the huge Legendary Entertainment deal. “Maybe in the not too distant future, we’ll hold an even bigger ceremony. Maybe we’d be buying some big entertainment company, or entertainment group. Such things can certainly happen.”

According to Wang, he is also interested in buying major stakes in — and has been in talks with — Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation (or Lionsgate, the owner of the mega-hit Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight Saga vampire series) and MGM (the James Bond and Hobbit franchises, in addition to a huge vault that includes such classic hits as The Wizard of Oz, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

"The acquisition of Legendary strengthens Wanda’s entertainment ecosystem in China," David Hao, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, told Bloomberg Business. "I would expect Wanda Group and Wanda Cinema to continue acquiring high-quality cinemas and online ticketing platforms both overseas and in China to further solidify its positions as the world’s largest cinema operator.”

"Chollywood": the New “Entertainment” World Order
Hollywood, it seems, has gone totally gaga over Wang's Wanda magic. Titans of the film industry swoon for him. “He is a force of nature,” says Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation (Katzenberg is the “K” in Dreamworks SKG — with Stephen Spielberg and David Geffen). “He is a very, very strong personality, and he is extremely confident about what he is doing.”

Katzenberg, producer of the Shrek and Fung Fu Panda series, called the Legendary-Wanda marriage “huge.” “Wanda is one of the biggest, most aggressive, most successful movie and media enterprises in China today,” he said. “For them to make this kind of investment in a Western company is a game-changer.”

And the game is changing rapidly. In January, only days after the announcement of the Wanda-Legendary union, the Beijing-based video game and television programming company Perfect World Pictures revealed that it would soon release details of a $500 million “strategic partnership” with Hollywood studio giant Universal Pictures. This is the latest expansion in a recent trend involving Chinese investment in America’s most iconic industry. Although the Wanda and Perfect World incursions have garnered the most attention, other Chollywood alliances and partnerships include:

• China Media Capital (CMC) and Warner Bros. Entertainment — “In anticipation of Chinese President Xi’s state visit to the United States, China Media Capital (CMC) and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced a groundbreaking collaboration to deepen the cultural exchange between the two countries,” a Warner Bros. press release stated  on September 20, 2015. “Together, they have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture, Flagship Entertainment Group Limited, to develop and produce a slate of Chinese-language films …for distribution around the world, including China.”

• Fosun International and Studio 8 — Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate with global investments, has invested a reported $200 million with Studio 8, a production company launched by Jeff Robinov, former head of Warner Bros.

• Huayi Brothers Media Corp. and STX Entertainment — In April 2015, the Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Media closed a deal to co-produce and co-distribute 12 to 15 films with STX Entertainment annually, which means it will finance, virtually, the entire lineup of STX movie projects.

• Hunan TV and Lionsgate — In April 2015, Hunan TV and Lionsgate unveiled a three-year deal in which Hunan TV has agreed to provide $375 million in financing for Lionsgate films.

• Alibaba Pictures and Paramount Pictures — In 2015, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba teamed up with Paramount Pictures to finance Mission Impossible — Rogue Nation, the latest installment in the popular Tom Cruise action thriller series.

• CITIC Group and Dick Cook Studios — The China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC Group) a state-owned enterprise (SOE) controlled by the Communist Party of China, has invested $150 million in Dick Cook Studios, a new entity started by Walt Disney studio chairman Dick Cook to produce family-oriented movie and TV entertainment.

• Bona Film Group and TSG Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox — China’s Bona Film Group Limited announced in 2015 a $235 million finance package for TSG/Fox movie productions.

• China Film Group and Universal Pictures — China Film Group, the government-owned company that holds the monopoly on importing movies into China, was an investor in Universal’s Fast & Furious 7, the Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson vehicle that raced through box-office records, including the fastest time for a movie to hit the $1 billion gross line.

Accomplices in Betrayal: Media’s Willing Shills and Propagandists
The recent deluge of Chinese cash into the movie industry is, apparently, viewed by Hollywood insiders (and most outside observers as well) as a heaven-sent gravy train to Utopia. To paraphrase the old Roy Rogers favorite: Never is heard a discouraging word, and the skies rain money all day. However, there is a heavy price to be exacted for these new “strategic partnerships”: China’s Communist Party rulers are not given to bestowing vast sums with no strings attached.

Wang Jianlin, now leading China’s move into Hollywood, is a creature of and servitor of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), even though most media reports refer to him as a Chinese “businessman,” “billionaire,” “entrepreneur,” “capitalist,” “real estate mogul,” etc. The inconvenient truth is that Wang is a former officer in the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and a lifelong member — and high-level official of — the CPC. There is a willful blindness and an eager willingness to ignore these facts and to assist the dangerous deception that Wanda and the other Chinese Trojan Horses are the magical new ATM machines, dispensing limitless cash, regardless of what should be blatantly obvious perils.

So confident are Beijing’s communist dictators of the willful blindness and ideological affinity of the Hollywood movie industry and the American press that they can hide their schemes in plain sight. This can be seen, for instance, in Wang Jianlin’s official curriculum vitae for the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the super-rich and their tagalongs among the global glitterati, intelligentsia, and commentariat. Besides the brief mention of Wang’s executive positions at Wanda, the WEF bio informs us that he has served as “Deputy to the 17th National Congress, CPC. Member, Standing Committee, CPPCC National Committee. Vice-Chairman, All China Federation of Industry and Commerce.” Nowhere do the words “Communist” or “Communist Party” appear, as such, but that is precisely what “CPC” and “CPPCC” refer to, of course. Too many Americans are blissfully ignorant of these basic facts, but members of the press covering these matters have no excuse to be. They are either unpardonably ignorant and incompetent, or, even worse, they are betraying their country (as well as all humanity) to act as professional shills and propagandists for China’s mass-murdering regime run by the CPC.

Consider, for instance, the innocent-sounding All China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), of which Wang is a top leader. It is presented by our media “analysts” as the equivalent of a chamber of commerce. However, any reporter unfamiliar with the ACFIC’s role as a slavish servant of the CPC may easily check the organization’s website, which openly states: “Established in 1953 under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) … is a channel for the CPC and the government to liaise with the personages of the non-public economy…. The work of ACFIC is a key component of the CPC’s united front and economic work. The cause of ACFIC is an important part of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

That’s fairly clear, yes? No translation necessary. The ACFIC is a “key component” of the Communist Party’s “united front” against the non-communist world. Moreover, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” and “Capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” as we have explained here in previous articles, are references to former CPC leader Deng Xiaoping’s adoption of Vladimir Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP), which called for economic and scientific “partnerships” with the capitalist West in order to strengthen socialism and facilitate global conquest.

Deng told China’s Communist Party Central Committee in 1977:

In the international united front struggle, the most important strategy is unification as well as struggle.... Even though the American imperialists can be said to be the number one nation in scientific and technical matters, she knows absolutely nothing in this area. In the future she will have no way of avoiding defeat by our hands.... What we need mainly is scientific and technical knowledge and equipment.

For the past four decades, the CPC has followed Deng’s vision, along with the indispensable assistance of Henry Kissinger and other members of the globalist choir at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) who sing the praises of full-tilt economic “convergence” and “integration” with Communist China despite its ongoing atrocious record of religious persecution, torture, and murder of dissidents and opponents, tyrannical censorship, cyber espionage, and other features of totalitarian oppression.The CFR globalists at Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group, Kissinger and Associates, and other Wall Street avatars are in the forefront, facilitating and brokering the CPC’s new "Chollywood" entertainment/propaganda empire.

Photo of Wanda/Legendary merger: AP Images

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