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China’s Encounter with Global Hollywood: Cultural Policy and the Film Industry, 1994-2013

by Wendy Su

Availablecloth$60.00x 978-0-8131-6706-0
Availableepub$60.00x 978-0-8131-6709-1
Availableweb pdf$60.00x 978-0-8131-6708-4
Asia in the New Millennium
240 pages  Pubdate: 05/13/2016  6 x 9  3 figures, 6 tables

In recent years, the film industry in the People’s Republic of China has found itself among the top three most prolific in the world. When the Chinese government introduced a new revenue-sharing system in 1994, the nation’s total movie output skyrocketed with gross box-office receipts totaling billions of yuan. This newfound success, however, has been built on an alternately competitive and collaborative relationship between the ascendant global power of China and the popular culture juggernaut of America.

In China’s Encounter with Global Hollywood, Wendy Su examines the intertwining relationships among the Chinese state, global Hollywood, and the Chinese film industry while analyzing the causes and consequences of the rapid growth of the nation’s domestic film production. She demonstrates how the Chinese state has consolidated power by negotiating foreign interest in the lucrative Chinese market while advancing its cultural industries. Su also reveals how mainland Chinese and Hong Kong filmmakers have navigated the often-incompatible requirements of marketization and state censorship.

This timely analysis demonstrates how China has cannily used global capital to modernize its own film industry and now stands poised to step clear of Hollywood’s shadow. The country’s debates—on- and offscreen—over cultural change, market-based economic reforms, and artistic freedom illuminate China’s ongoing efforts to build a modern national identity.

Wendy Su, assistant professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside, is a winner of the Pacific Affairs William J. Holland Prize.

Su has given us an important book on an understudied topic, albeit one that has finally begun to attract the attention it deserves. What distinguishes Su’s work and is likely to continue to make it valuable for the foreseeable future is her extensive use of the Chinese language press, her interviews with Chinese policy makers and others connected to the industry, and her understanding of the process of policy evolution, including a dissection of policy documents over time to reveal the key changes that have opened and expanded the market. For those interested in the industry itself—and not just film aesthetics and filmic textual analysis—Su’s work should be required reading. -- Stanley Rosen, author of Chinese Politics: State, Society and the Market

This book is a vivid thick description on China’s tug of war with global Hollywood. Wendy Su walks us through the complex interplay between market and politics in the film industry in today’s postsocialist China. -- Anthony Y. H. Fung, author of Global Capital, Local Culture: Transnational Media Corporations in China

There is much talk of a 'win-win' partnership today between China and Hollywood. While the investment capital and mass audiences that Hollywood moguls are hungry for can be found in China, Chinese film makers seek the tacit knowledge and 'soft skills' associated with successful Hollywood blockbusters. Wendy Su's forensic account of the recent history of China-Hollywood relations in the film industry captures why such a relationship has not been smooth, with considerable questions about politics, ideology, economic power and cinematic integrity arising in such relations. -- Terry Flew, author of New Media