In further proof that communists never won the culture war in China, they merely shut down culture altogether, the Chinese government decided this week to enforce an outright ban on the popular "time travel" genre of Chinese films. The reason? Chinese officials claim that using history as a basis for fiction "disrespects history." I wrote in today's Daily Caller:
Forget for a moment the implications of a government whose reins on free speech are so tight that a top-down committee can ban an entire popular film genre. What makes this story interesting is the fact that Chinese filmmakers — and the film-consuming Chinese public — are so interested in finding a connection to another time and place. China has banned Google and Facebook and Twitter. Traveling to another time is the only chance many Chinese have of exploring at all. The Chinese government is not banning time travel because it wants to protect history. It is banning time travel because letting anyone besides the Chinese government tell any story threatens the Communists’ death grip on Chinese culture. Communists never won the culture war in China; they merely silenced the opposition. Even the memory of opposition is a threat to the Communists’ hold on power; banning time travel is the Chinese government’s attempt to wipe out any memory of the time when China was free.Indeed. Free society relies on discourse and the arts to bolster transparency and individual expression. People in China have no access to Google, Twitter, or Facebook, and the yuan only goes so far in travels abroad. Time travel is a popular film genre because it is a last bastion of hope for communism-quashed imaginations. Free governance thrives on free speech; count your blessings that we live in a society where individuals can still do so much to protect the freedom we have.