Da Vinci Code suddenly banned in China

Obviously fearing mental/spiritual contamination of the masses with dangerous notions of the Eternal Feminine, which might threaten the famously females-need-not-apply inner circle of the CCP, China has suddenly and unexpectely yanked the Da Vinci Code from its theaters (although the DVD was for sale on the streets all over the country the week before It opened). It’s apparently the first time in China that a foreign film has been pulled from theaters after its release.

The Chinese government, in an unprecedented move, has ordered movie theaters to stop showing “The Da Vinci Code,” movie industry officials said Thursday.

Chinese authorities said the withdrawal of the movie from theaters today was to make way for locally produced films, one industry executive said, declining to be named because she wasn’t authorized to speak to the media on the matter.

But another Hollywood blockbuster, “Ice Age: The Meltdown” was to be released in China today, said the executive, who added that “The Da Vinci Code” was the first foreign film to be pulled from theaters in China after being approved for release.

“The Da Vinci Code,” which has been opposed by Christian groups because it suggests Jesus fathered children who continued his lineage, has made $13 million since its release on May 19. It was on its way to becoming one of the highest-earning foreign films in China, the executive said.

A man who answered the phone at the press office of China’s Film Bureau in Beijing said he was “unclear” about whether the film was pulled from cinemas. He declined to give his name.

Wu Hehu, a spokesman for Shanghai’s United Cinema Line Corp., said he received a notice to cease showing the film, but he didn’t know why the order was made.

“This is such a short notice from the film’s distributor,” Wu said. “I don’t know the reason either. We just do what we are told to do.”

Some good comments on the surprise move over in the forum.

A shame that now the Chinese people won’t be able to learn about how Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene or how the father-based structure of the church was all the result of a vast Catholic conspiracy to grab power for the all-boy’s club at the top, subjugate women, make sex an obscene and sinful act, and brainwash us with preconceived (no pun intended) notions of coming into this world in a state of sin. On the other hand, if the movie is as dreadful as I hear (it’s hard to imagine it being much worse than the embarrassingly superficial and silly book), they’re probably not missing much.

The Discussion: 26 Comments

I’m not for banning the movie (in any country), but Tom Hanks ought to be banished to Gansu for his quality of acting in it.

Most hilarious line in the Movie: Tom Hanks says, in deadly earnestness: “I need to get to a library, FAST!”

June 9, 2006 @ 2:02 am | Comment

I am dying to know why this happened and I can only speculate that something must have occured AFTER its opening. Did someone involved with the movie do something against China like complain about DVD piracy? Did the Vatican put the squeeze on China over the movie (I doubt this is it). What?

June 9, 2006 @ 7:18 am | Comment

Actually there’s no rational reason for the Communists to ban this moronic movie. Thus, I think it’s just a typical example of them censoring things almost at random, and mostly out of sheer ignorance.

Considering that virtually NO CCP cadres know the first thing about any traditional religions (least of all any Western ones), some monkey who had nothing better to do probably had a vague idea that it had something to do with religion, and then he hit the censor button, so to speak.

I just don’t give them much credit for applying any kind of rational thought whatsoever to their censoring decisions. And even if any of them were inclined to be “rational” about censorship, it’s almost impossible to do so when, well, you’re so bloody ignorant BECAUSE of all the censorship…on and on in a spiral…

June 9, 2006 @ 8:38 am | Comment

It’s because the story is so bad…

OK, OK, Iโ€™ll quite picking on the awful book. Who knows, the story does ask the reader/viewer to question history which may be a bit spooky to those that want no questioning of such.

June 9, 2006 @ 11:00 am | Comment

“I need to get to a library. FAST!”

HAHAHAHAHAH! That one should go on my Wall of Shame.

Of course, banning this silly movie is just going to make everyone in China even more liable to get their hands on a pirate DVD.

I do think it has to do with the whole Vatican/Chinese Catholic Church conflict, on some level…

June 9, 2006 @ 11:44 am | Comment

The movie was banned because of complaints from various Christian groups (including the Catholic Church). There were even some small scale protests against the movie.

June 9, 2006 @ 12:50 pm | Comment

I couldn’t even watch about half of it, that is, the half with the car chases and the helicopters. I fast forwarded through those parts. (Bless me Arnold Schwarzenegger, for I have sinned.)

I mean, what’s a movie about the history of Jesus unless it has helicopters, right?

June 9, 2006 @ 8:00 pm | Comment

Hui Mao:

Correction of your remark: In China, THERE IS NO CATHOLIC CHURCH! Except for the ones who would be immediaely arrested if they ever made any such public complaints.

June 9, 2006 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Luckily, I saw it last week. I don’t know about the English version, but the chinese was entertaining, if anything else. I think they pulled the plug mostly because of how popular it was getting, no religious movie should be that famous, right? I’m christian, and I don’t know why churches would get into such an uproar about it. Then again, I like Jesus Christ Superstar too, so maybe I’m just cooky.

June 9, 2006 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

Facinating. Seems so typically authoritarian arbitrary — on one hand they appoint State-sanctioned bishops during negotiations with the Church, thus insulting their negotiation partner; on the other, they ban a movie as a favor to it.

Interesting.

Michael

June 9, 2006 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

Considering that virtually NO CCP cadres know the first thing about any traditional religions (least of all any Western ones),

But a white paper a few years back said about 75% of the locals engage in traditional religious practice — in fact the totals it gave for all religions exceeded those of the US. I really can’t believe that no cadres engage in traditional religious practice.

Michael

June 9, 2006 @ 8:29 pm | Comment

I’m well aware that some cadres at least go through the motions of some kind of “religious practice”, most commonly their idea of Buddhism.
I know this because I know some of them personally.

(Surprise! Ivan the scourge of the CCP has some friends who are cadres…)

What I said, however, was that they don’t know the first thing about traditional religions. Even in the cases of those who are putative “Buddhists”, this remains true, because in-depth religious education was banned in China for so long and has barely resurfaced in recent times.

And this is all the more so in the case of Christianity in China.

On that note, the CCP cadres (and other Chinese elites) who have begun to dabble in religion, remind me of a Russian joke. (Here we go again… :-)….

…well, I heard it back in the 1990s, and it goes:
A Novorusskii (“New Russian”, typically a former Communist Cadre who suddenly got rich after Perestroika) went to a jewelry shop and saw some gold crucifixes. (ie, a cross with an imagine of Jesus being crucified on it.) And he said to the jeweler: “Give me the BIGGEST one of those that you have – but I’d like one without the Gymnast on it.”

๐Ÿ˜‰

June 10, 2006 @ 12:18 am | Comment

I’m well aware that some cadres at least go through the motions of some kind of “religious practice”, most commonly their idea of Buddhism.
I know this because I know some of them personally.

Well, certainly it is “going through the motions” but Ivan, that’s precisely what Chinese religious practice is — it is carrying out practices as opposed to knowledge of a text or set of doctrines. Westerners consistently underestimate Chinese knowledge of their own religion — they don’t even see it as religion.

Christianity in China is a fascinating phenomenon, very syncretic and growing rapidly. If the Chinese government wanted to stamp out Christianity, it should immediately institute religious freedom — just look at the Chinese and Confucian societies around China. With the exception of Korea, Christianity is a failure in all of them, despite some having been Christian colonies. Meanwhile it booms in China. Go figure.

Michael

June 10, 2006 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Michael,
No. The only “practices” which all but a handful of Chinese “Buddhists” know, is to pray for more money to any Buddhist idol who has a reputation for money.

Michael, I wonder why you have such a visceral and IRRATIONAL hatred for the Catholic Church. Were you buggered by a Catholic Priest when you were a boy?

Because, Michael Turton, your visceral hatred of the Catholic Church, is something which cannot be explained in any rational way.

I was born and raised as a Catholic, and I got over it. Actually, insofar as I’m any kind of Christian, I’m a very Protestant one who believes in private conscience – and yet on the other hand, I don’t hate the Pope or the Catholic Church. Eh, but then, I never went to Catholic schools, and I was never molested by any Catholic Priest.

That’s why I can be at peace with the Catholic Church, and defend its civil liberties and its reputation, even while I reject its authority over me or over anyone else.

So I wonder, Michael, what happened to you, to make you hate the Catholic Church in such visceral and irrational ways? Did a Catholic Priest bugger you? If so, then – SERIOUSLY – tell me his name, and I’ll have a word with some of my Russian friends in America, and that pedophile Priest will be shitting his teeth out of his mouth for a month.

Seriously. No shit, man, if you want some pedophile Priest to get some payback, just say the word.

But, Michael, if you were buggered by a Priest, that’s no reason to go on a lifetime campaign against the entire Catholic Church.

I’m just sayin….

June 10, 2006 @ 7:00 am | Comment

My understanding of all of this is that the movie was banned not for its content – I don’t think the government here gives a monkey’s about Christianity – but because it’s popular, it made a lot of money, and SARFT is gearing up for its yearly summer blockade of foreign movies so that domestic productions will have a chance. Nothing to see here, folks.

June 10, 2006 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Michael, I wonder why you have such a visceral and IRRATIONAL hatred for the Catholic Church. Were you buggered by a Catholic Priest when you were a boy?

Ivan, I haven’t attacked the Church in this thread, I’m far more interested in what the CCP is doing. I don’t hate the Church per se; I hate authoritarianism in all its forms, including the various Christian versions of it. I never gave a flying fuck about Christianity until it decided to go after democracy in the US. That sort of woke me out of my slumber in a hurry.

In other words, my problems are with (1) Christianity as a whole of which Catholicism is but one manifestation; and (2) do not relate to personal experiences, but are entirely impersonal and political.

Hope this helps. Can we return to the discussion of why the CCP made this move? I find that far more interesting at the moment. I’m happy to discuss the Church and its issues, but this is not the thread for it.

Michael

June 10, 2006 @ 7:52 am | Comment

Ah, well, Michael, if – as you say – you’re FAR more interested in what the CCP is doing, then you will not confuse what the CCP is doing with anything about Christianity. Right?

It’s only logical, hm?

June 10, 2006 @ 8:06 am | Comment

PS, Michael, you have disappointed my Russian friends in America. Some of them really would have enjoyed beating the shit out of the Catholic Priest who buggered you.

June 10, 2006 @ 8:11 am | Comment

PPS, a disclaimer, for Richard’s sake:

As Michael Turton is stupid enough to use his own real name when he comments here, I want to make it clear, that I have NO EVIDENCE that Michael Turton was EVER buggered by a Catholic Priest.

My remarks to that effect, were entirely speculative.

Although, it’s hard to find any other explanation for why he hates the Catholic Church so much.

June 10, 2006 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Ah, well, Michael, if – as you say – you’re FAR more interested in what the CCP is doing, then you will not confuse what the CCP is doing with anything about Christianity. Right?

Why are you baiting me?

Michael

June 10, 2006 @ 8:53 am | Comment

Come on guys, what’s the point?

June 10, 2006 @ 9:01 am | Comment

Chinese authorities: The withdrawal of the movie from theaters was to make way for locally produced films.
FACT: “Ice Age: The Meltdown” was released in China.

June 10, 2006 @ 10:09 am | Comment

I’m sick of this shit.

June 10, 2006 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Come on guys, what’s the point?

Don’t ask me.

Chinese authorities: The withdrawal of the movie from theaters was to make way for locally produced films. FACT: “Ice Age: The Meltdown” was released in China.

Thanks, Keir.

June 10, 2006 @ 7:24 pm | Comment

I found Roland Song’s comment most orginal and interesting. He said,” Customarily, all we know that Da Vinci Code was pulled ahead of schedule, and there was no explanation. Any speculation with respect to motive is therefore just that … speculation. I would like to think that this is a case of รกยค??รฆยตโ€œ?Whatever the real reasons are, the authorities intend to leave you with the impression that the Catholics are intolerant and want to prevent people from seeing a certain movie, and that would make them no different from some other people. If the Catholics can do it, so can we. Mission accomplished.” Link at : http://www.zonaeuropa.com/200606.brief.htm

Personally, I’m not interested in the movie, not because of my religious conviction (I see no conflicts there), but because of Tom Hanks. I may read the book one day …. may be next time when I’m flying and have nothing much to do.

June 11, 2006 @ 2:47 am | Comment

You do also know that the movie is based on some book, that the book has been translated into Chinese and that it is one of the best sellers this year? that it is nowhere mentioned that the book will be pulled might be an indicator that people now have to use their brains again to digest the story instead of their ears, but somehow that makes me doubt all those: it got banned for its content type of myths…..

June 11, 2006 @ 7:05 pm | Comment

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