Reform with Chinese characteristics

Reformists are not holding their breath as Chinese policymakers emerge from a closed-door policy summit in Beijing.
Feng Xiaogang, China’s most popular movie director.
Feng Xiaogang, China’s most popular movie director.

Feng Xiaogang, China’s most popular movie director, complained to the Hollywood Reporter recently that it was hardly worth making films under the Chinese censorship regime.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said during a promotional visit to Los Angeles for his latest movie, Back to 1942. “It almost feels like, Okay, I just don’t want to do this anymore because they’re always there to stop me.’”

Not everyone agrees with Feng, who is best known for making feel-good comedies. Older directors say that it was much worse under the pre-2004 censorship regime. But why does China, which is supposedly trying to promote a consumer society, still feel the need...

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