House Passes Defense Bill Measure That Blocks Funds for Studios That Censor for CCP

House Passes Defense Bill Measure That Blocks Funds for Studios That Censor for CCP
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 19, 2021. (Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images)

An amendment in the newly House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would bar the federal government from providing support to film studios that censor products at the request of China’s communist regime.

The Stopping Communist Regimes from Engaging in Edits Now Act (SCREEN Act) was included in the House version of the FY24 NDAA as an amendment.

The amendment, first introduced in February 2022 and reintroduced to the current Congress by Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) in March, would prevent the federal government from assisting studios in Hollywood with the production of a film if that film is co-produced by a Chinese company.

“The Chinese Communist Party is exporting its totalitarian censorship to Hollywood, demanding that America’s film industry kowtow to its agenda,” Mr. Green told The Epoch Times.

“The CCP has one goal: Silence any voice that exposes its illegal, inhumane, and malign activities. That’s why my SCREEN Act is so important, and why I am pleased it passed the House today.”

The SCREEN Act would also require film companies receiving production assistance from the Department of State to report to Congress any previous films substantially edited by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and ban the federal government from assisting any studios that have edited a film for the regime.

The House version of the NDAA passed along party lines on July 14 but is unlikely to pass the Senate due to a number of Republican-introduced amendments that would bar payment for medical travel for soldiers seeking abortions.

SCREEN Act Takes Aim at CCP Censorship

The issue of CCP censorship and interference in U.S. media has become an increasingly contentious issue as relations between the regime and the United States continue to spiral downward.

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the issue of taxpayer dollars intended for defense being used to help Hollywood productions of companies that frequently censor films for the CCP.

For decades, the Pentagon has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with Hollywood studios, allowing movies to be filmed on military bases, planes, and ships, in exchange for positive portrayals of its soldiers, which at times can even lead to recruiting booms.

In recent years, however, the CCP regime has increasingly used the allure of its massive film market to get Hollywood studios to censor or alter movies to promote communist values, a trend that jeopardizes free speech while sacrificing U.S. values and principles.

In response, the Pentagon updated a media production document in late June, declaring that the DoD would not work with film studios that tailor their movies to meet China’s demands.

“The [Department of Defense] 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,” a document shared with The Epoch Times (pdf) reads.

Mr. Green’s SCREEN Act would take that sentiment further by prohibiting the whole of the federal government from funding any project by a studio that censors on behalf of the CCP.

It would also require Hollywood studios to provide written statements promising to not censor their films at the CCP’s request before they receive any assistance from the Department of State.

“I applaud the decision of the Pentagon to refuse government assistance to studios that censor American films at the request of the CCP, but we can do more,” Mr. Green said.

“I introduced the SCREEN Act to stop Communist China from using our film industry to spread its propaganda.”

Studios Must Stop ‘Kowtowing’ to Communist Ideology

The introduction of the SCREEN Act follows two recent examples in which the CCP has sought to quash the expression of American filmmakers.

The China release of last year’s children’s film, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” featured an altered ending that supported the communist regime’s policies. While the global version of the film ends with two anti-heroes riding into the sunset after a heist, the Chinese version ends with one character going to prison for 20 years and the other renouncing his evil ways. The latter then dedicates his life to raising three children, in an apparent reference to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping’s three-child policy.

The first two installments of the related film series “Despicable Me” were banned outright in China.

Similarly, 2022’s “Top Gun: Maverick” featured a bomber jacket with Taiwanese and Japanese flag patches, which was featured in the original 1986 film. A trailer for the second installment showed both flags removed and replaced with fictional emblems, however, drawing speculation that the move was aimed at appeasing Beijing.

The flags were reinstated in the final version of the movie after significant public backlash, and the film was never cleared for release in China.

The SCREEN Act, according to Mr. Green, will help American media companies make similar decisions in the future by ensuring U.S. taxpayer dollars are never used to subsidize the CCP’s anti-American ideology.

“This amendment will make permanent changes to protect American taxpayers from subsidizing film studios kowtowing to the CCP,” Mr. Green said.

Eva Fu and Frank Fang contributed to this story.

From The Epoch Times

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