China has turned on the star of the new Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” after a four-year-old interview surfaced online in which he described his native country as a third world country where people are starving.
Canadian actor Simu Liu, born in China’s Heilongjiang province, hears in the interview that he explains why his parents left China when he was only five years old.
Footage of the interview, originally published by The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has since been removed by the broadcaster.
China turned on Simu Liu, the star of the new Marvel movie ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ (pictured in the film) after a four-year-old interview surfaced online criticizing his country from birth, featuring stating reasons why his parents left China
Pictured: Grippers from Simu Liu’s interview with Chinese broadcaster CBC, in which he explained why his parents left China when he was only five years old
Despite this, some were able to take screenshots of the interview before it was taken down, and post them on social media.
“When I was young, my parents told me these stories about growing up in communist China,” he is said to have said, explaining why his parents moved to Canada when he was only five years old.
‘They lived in the third world where you have people who are starving. And they felt that Canada is a place where they can live freely and give their child a better future.’
Liu’s comments circulated on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, and opposition to the actor from Chinese nationalists was swift.
“If so, why does he still want to act as a Chinese?” one person wrote, according to RepublicWorld. “Has he brought that many years later, he should come to China to crawl?” another questioned.
“Is this the superiority of ‘high-quality’ Chinese?” read a comment, a sarcastic term applied to Chinese who have left the country to study or live abroad. It has a similar meaning to ‘whitewashed’, according to CNN.
Other users threatened to boycott or report the Marvel film if it is released in China. It has yet to be approved for release by the Communist Party.
Liu is the latest celebrity to criticize their Chinese ancestors for comments deemed critical of the mainland amid mounting pressure on what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) calls “overseas Chinese.”
Pictured: Simu Liu stars as Shang-Chi in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
The term has been widely used in recent years by officials within the CCP and by the state media to refer to foreign citizens of Chinese descent. The term is common no matter how many generations of their family have lived abroad.
Since President Xi Jinping came to power, he has repeatedly said overseas Chinese belong to the nation, in an effort to remove the line between ethnicity and nationality.
Another actor who has been criticized for comments deemed anti-Chinese was American filmmaker Chloe Zhao, who won an Oscar earlier this year for her film “Nomadland.”
Her win was censored and ignored in the Chinese media because in a 2013 interview she described China as a place “where lies are everywhere.”
Despite speaking proudly of her Chinese heritage in her acceptance speech, she continued to be attacked online by Chinese nationalists, showing that criticism of China is on the rise — especially from public figures.
So far — despite efforts to placate Beijing’s censorship by wiping a controversial Fu Manchu character from the script — China has turned down Marvel’s new film.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features an Asian-led cast, Mandarin dialogue, and has been praised by US critics for its “sensitive” handling of Chinese culture and hailed as a “breakthrough” for Marvel.
But Communist Party censors have yet to approve it because of its ties to the “racist archetype” villain and plan to movie after the $90 million Labor Day weekend takeover in the US.
The Disney-owned studio produced the film as part of its ongoing effort to break into the Chinese market, but has again fallen short.
It follows last year’s flopped release of Mulan.
Simu Liu’s comments (pictured Aug. 16) circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo, and opposition to the actor from Chinese nationalists was swift.
Shang-Chi has already sparked the ire of Chinese critics for his ties to Fu Manchu, the supervillain created by English novelist Sax Rohmer, who described him as the epitome of “all the vicious cunning of an entire Eastern race.”
Portrayed by white Britons such as Boris Karloff, Peter Sellers and Christopher Lee, the mustachioed criminal mastermind is considered the archetype of Western anti-Chinese sentiment.
Fu Manchu will not appear in the new film, but in the Marvel universe he is the father of Shang-Chi, as the American comic book franchise bought the rights to Rohmer’s character in the 1970s.
But many Chinese believe that the new film cannot distance itself from this legacy.
Shi Wenxue, a Beijing film critic, told the state spokesperson to the Global Times: “Fu Manchu is an insidious portrayal of the ‘yellow danger’ stereotype. The Chinese public cannot accept a biased character.”
Marvel replaced Fu Manchu with a new character, Xu Wenwu, played by Hong Kong star Tony Leung.
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Pictures, told a Chinese critic last month that Fu Manchu is “highly offensive” and added that Wenwu “cannot even be named.” [a] villain.’
Screenwriter Dave Callaham told Inverse, “We knew we wanted to change those things,” adding that the filmmakers had a “physical list” of things we wanted to destroy.
However, Liu Semu’s choice for the lead role also angered some Chinese critics who considered him “not Chinese enough.” Others claimed the 32-year-old had the stereotypical appearance of what Westerners associated with Chinese people.
Over the past decade, US studios have increasingly turned their attention to the Chinese market – worth $9 billion last year.
Disney, owner of Marvel, came under fire last year for its live-action version of Mulan, which was partially shot in Xinjiang province, infamous for its Uyghur detention camps.
The studio even changed the screenplay to appease the Chinese censors. But despite a plot based on Chinese folklore and a largely Chinese cast, it was rejected by Chinese critics and flopped at the box office.