Kodak bows to China by deleting an Instagram post featuring photos by a French photographer who called the Xinjiang region – where Beijing has been accused of human rights abuses – “an Orwellian dystopia.”
The US photo company apologized this week for sharing the work of photographer Patrick Wack after online outcry from Chinese supporters.
Wack, who has lived in China for more than a decade, promoted his new book with a series of photos — all shot on Kodak film — from the northwestern Chinese region between 2016-2019.
Kodak shared 10 of Wack’s images on Instagram last week, as well as a post written by the photographer describing the work as a “visual narrative of the region and a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia.”
The post, which is still available on Wack’s own Instagram, was removed by Kodak this week following a response from Chinese supporters.
Kodak shared 10 photos of French photographer Patrick Wack on Instagram last week to promote his new book. His book features photos shot on Kodak film from China’s Xinjiang region. Kodak also shared a post from Wack, which he also shared on his own page, describing the region as “an Orwellian dystopia”
The US government has accused China of committing ‘genocide’ and major human rights violations in Xinjiang against the Muslim Uyghur community.
Kodak apologized on Instagram, saying Wack’s views were not “endorsed” by Kodak.
“Kodak’s Instagram page aims to enable creativity by providing a platform for promoting the medium of film. It is not intended as a platform for political commentary,” the statement said.
The post, which is still available on Wack’s own Instagram, was removed by Kodak this week following a response from Chinese supporters. Wack lived in China for over ten years
“Mr. Wack’s views do not represent those of Kodak and are not endorsed by Kodak. We apologize for any misunderstandings or insults the post may have caused.”
According to the Hong Kong free pressKodak also released a statement on Chinese social media WeChat that reportedly said the US company will “respect the Chinese government and Chinese laws.”
“Kodak has had a good relationship with the Chinese government for a long time and works closely with various government departments. We will continue to respect the Chinese government and Chinese law,” the statement said.
“We will rein and correct ourselves, taking this as an example of the need for caution.”
In that statement, Kodak blamed the post for “management loopholes.”
DailyMail.com has reached out to Kodak regarding the statement shared on WeChat.
Wack, the 42-year-old photographer, told the New York Times that Kodak’s decision was remarkable, as photography is used to record political events.
“So for them, historically one of the most important actors in photography, the fact that they say they don’t want to be political is what upsets so many people,” Wack said.
Kodak apologized on Instagram, saying Wack’s views were not “endorsed” by Kodak
A number of people on social media accused Kodak of being quick to bow to the Chinese government for removing the post.
Others called the US company a “disgrace” and stated that “China owns us.”
Just last week, the US Senate passed legislation that would ban products from Xinjiang – the latest step to pressure Beijing over what Washington says are major human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur community.
The Uyghur Law to Prevent Forced Labor, passed unanimously by the upper house a week ago, aims to ban imports of products made through forced labour, which is reportedly used in the region.
“The message to Beijing and any international company benefiting from forced labor in Xinjiang is clear: no more,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement.
“We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party)’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not give companies a license to take advantage of those heinous abuses.”
Human rights groups say at least one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are detained in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labour.
The US has already taken action against China over Xinjiang, and Foreign Minister Antony Blinken met in Washington earlier this month with survivors of those camps.
Washington recently banned imports of solar panel materials from a Chinese company and imposed trade restrictions on four others over alleged use of forced labor in the region.
The new US law calls for the dissemination of guidelines to importers regarding “effective supply chain tracing” and other due diligence actions.
It also directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies to prepare plans to prevent such imports and to identify the facilities, companies or individuals involved in forced or involuntary labor.
Kodak is not the only American company, or American, to bow to China in recent years.
John Cena was labeled “pathetic” and “spine” for crawling to China in Mandarin, saying he “really, really loves China and the Chinese people,” after enraging them with Taiwan as a country in May. to name.
Cena was in the middle of the queue when he said in Mandarin during an interview on Taiwan’s TVBS on May 8: “Taiwan is the first country to be able to watch F9.” [his new Fast & Furious movie].
Chinese fans and the government were outraged after seeing his video that Cena, after years of worshiping him, did not identify Taiwan as part of China.
Sensing the heat of the criticism from Chinese fans, Cena recorded an apology video that he released on Weibo, where he has 600,000 followers.
The NBA apologized in late 2019 after China banned broadcasting of pre-season games after
the Houston Rockets general manager posted a pro Hong Kong tweet amid the ongoing turmoil.
In the wake of that backlash, Nike then removed Houston Rockets merchandise from its online store in China. The NBA team is popular in China since Chinese player Yao Ming was drafted in 2002.
Tiffany & Co. removed an ad in 2019 in which Chinese model Sun Feifei covered one eye after Chinese consumers accused the jeweler of supporting protesters in Hong Kong.
Angry Chinese buyers thought it was a deliberate echo of the stance of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong to denounce police brutality in the semi-autonomous city after protesters were punched in the eye.