China Censors Chloé Zhao’s Name

After Zhao's Oscar wins users in China got creative to get around government censors

by PartyBoyTroy

Posted 2 years ago

Social media users in China got creative Monday to celebrate Chloé Zhao’s historic Oscars victory after mention of her name was censored by the Chinese government.

Beijing born Zhao, who directed “Nomadland,”won best director at the Oscars on Sunday, but searches for her name and the film were few and far in between on Chinese social media platforms. Nomadland also won best picture but received a similar silent treatment.

On China’s Twitter-like Weibo, users bypassed censors by using alternate translations and iterations of the film’s title. Nomadland, which roughly translates to “unreliable land” in Chinese, was altered and instead referred to as “reliable sky” — giving the film a completely new name.

Zhao has also been given several new names. Some users gave her the moniker “daughter of the clouds” and others simply called her “that girl.” Zhao’s acceptance speech, where she referenced a classic Chinese text about people being inherently good at birth, also reverberated with Weibo users.

Zhao made history on Sunday by becoming the first woman of color to win the award for best director at the Oscars. She is also only the second-ever woman to win best director but is yet to officially receive praise from her native country.

Discussion about Zhao and her film were silenced in China after comments she made appearing to criticize the country were unearthed following her Golden Globes win on March 1.

“Nomadland” immediately received calls for a boycott. Its promotional material disappeared online and there remains no sign of the film being released in Chinese theaters in the near future.

This year’s Oscars were not broadcasted at all in China, and for the first time in 50 years, in Hong Kong too.

Hu Xijin, Editor in Chief of Global Times, a Chinese state-backed newspaper, congratulated Zhao for her win on Twitter, but also added that he hoped Zhao would “become more and more mature” in handling troubles the tense China-US ties may bring to her.

There have been no statements from Chinese state officials on Zhao’s win or the online response.

Topic: Entertainment

Tags: China Chloé Zhao

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