Star of Oscars 2021 Chloe Zhao gets censored in China
Filmmaker Chloe Zhao was undoubtedly the star at the 93rd Academy Award function that concluded earlier today. The Beijing-born director bagged both the Best Director and Best Picture honors and the whole world came together to celebrate, or maybe not. A hush came from China as the state-run media did not immediately cover her historic win and several websites saw her name being censored.
While the show was not broadcast in Zhao's country of birth, Chinese fans celebrated her becoming the first woman of color to lift the Best Director trophy on social media. But according to The Guardian, within an hour, posts about her victory started getting removed. Thereafter, hashtags about the filmmaker were also censored on Weibo. Another social networking site Douban banned searches for Nomadland.
If one searched up Zhao's Chinese name Zhou Ting on Douban, nothing relevant came up, as verified at the time of writing. This censorship can be traced back to a huge controversy regarding her citizenship that stirred up after an eight-year-old interview resurfaced online last month. In the interview, she had recalled living as a teenager in China "where there are lies everywhere."
Tracing back, China had celebrated Zhou's success at the Golden Globe Awards for becoming the first Asian woman to lift the Best Director trophy. However, things soon changed with the 2013 Filmmaker interview gaining momentum. Reportedly, none of the film's promotional posts were available on the popular forums. Also, the sites said they censored topics like Nomadland "due to related laws, regulations, and policies."
While Twitterati protested the censorship, the Oscars gave them another cause of ire. Actress Marlee Matlin, who's the first and only hearing-impaired actor to win an acting Oscar for Children Of A Lesser God, was a presenter this year. She was signed to present certain categories at the event, but the cameras cut away from her mid-sentence, understandably upsetting fans and social media users.