China’s pride or traitor? Release or ban? Sina micro-bloggers enjoying free speech over controversy around Chloé Zhao and Nomadland

The Chinese government may have been busy convening the so-called “Two Sessions” of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference for a week earlier, Chinese netizens were busy posting comments on two movie topics, Chloé Zhao and Nomadland, for two weeks.

When Zhao first won the Golden Globe awards for best picture and best director for Nomadland on Feb. 28, China’s media cheered her as the first Chinese female director to do so. A release date of the movie in China was also set for April 23. But things went downhill quickly after someone had dug up an interview Zhao gave years ago in which she said her teenage years were in a place where there were lies everywhere. With such “anti-China” remarks, her nationality became a question, so did the release of Nomadland.

Here is a look at how Sina Weibo users have been debating over Chloé Zhao and her Nomadland.

Boyish mature gentleman-Laughing_Cheung:  The Critics Choice Awards are the wind vane of the Oscars. Chloé Zhao took four of them, best movie, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography. She is another step closer to the Oscars.

Benipenny:  What? I can’t see Nomadland???? I don’t care about Chloé Zhao’s political standpoint. Movies are movies.

Qiao Mu DC:  Why are there so many homeless in the U.S.? Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland shows only the tip of the iceberg. It is also artistic. The reality is even worse.

Chen Jing of winds and clouds society: The case of Chloé Zhao and her movie is something like this:

One. Chloé Zhao is the stepdaughter of Song Dandan. Her father is executive of a state-owned enterprise. With the changes in the family, she became rebellious and went to school overseas.

Two. Chloé Zhao’s movie Nomadland is an American story, with nothing to do with China. In fact, it bad mouths the U.S. in a way. There should no problem for its release in China. However, with masses’ reporting that Zhao made anti-China remarks, so it has become an issue.

Three. Her nationality. Foreign reporters might have heard her wrong. She said she “was not American,” the reporter thought she said she “was now American.” Zhao has Chinese nationality and American green card.

Four. Anti-China remarks. This is somewhat exaggerated. Chloé Zhao has not been known in this area. She may have said something on the margin, just like some public intellectuals making a few complaints, very common. They just need to express some patriotism.

Five. This movie should not be banned, but the masses’ voice should be heard. The movie is probably going to be released ultimately. For such a big American movie that would need to make money in China, relations with China should be handled well.

dorcasmm:  It looks like Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland has been withdrawn. This is how it should be done. How could we let Zhao take advantage at both ends, having smeared China and wanting to make money from China. Chloé Zhao’s behavior is fundamentally that of a traitor. If our country let traitors like Chloé Zhao make money, it will be encouraging more Chinese to become traitors.

Bamboo bear:  I do not want to say anything about Chloé Zhao. As for the movie Nomadland, it is actually one that caters to America’s “White Left.” Personally, I do not enjoy such art film. Just like Green Book, do you say it exposes America’s social problems? Certainly. But does it analyze the root cause of the problems or suggest any solution to the problems? Not at all!

Mangmang little sun:  Watched Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland last night. It was about a woman with her RV enjoying nature’s beauty on a vast land and a story of “eternal connection, endless travel, and reunion in clouds.” Only halfway through, I was already deeply moved by the people freely traveling the world in their RV. Many people spend a lifetime making the same part on a machine and only try to see the world before dying. Others take the road only after losing loved ones. Looking at the sky filled with sunrise glow or the land covered in ice and snow, I suddenly felt how small I really was. I began to ask myself: What completes my life?

Flying boulder from south:  Things now have broken out. Ms. Zhao must make known her position and apologize for things she said in the past. She might think that she was just voicing a few complaints and that it is us the Little Pinks, the Boxers and the 50 Cents Party that are persecuting her. Hum, hum. So we are persecuting you. Can’t take it? Who cares if you come or get out?

Generous and dashing words:  About American director Chloé Zhao’s problem, Hu Xijin made some comments. He said it was not necessary to remove Zhao’s movie Nomadland and that China should “accommodate some conflicts and disagreements,” and “let things get resolved through market.” Sorry, Old Hu. This time, I am not with you. What you suggested is muddying things up and too forgiving. Chloé Zhao’s problem is not just “some conflicts and disagreements.” She is completely on the side of the U.S. and the U.K. and has discredited China. There are many ways to succeed in foreign countries. But opposing China and humiliating China seems the most convenient shortcut. Besides, she already thinks she is American. It is definitely not “some conflicts and disagreements” within the people.

Wang Yigang’s weibo:  What do you think of the matter with Chloé Zhao? I guess everyone has some history of bad speech. Ha-ha. I would suggest going back twenty years, or thirty years. Of over one billion people with their values and philosophies, let’s see how many there are who don’t have anything bad in their past.  Do we not have enough enemies already that we have to turn our own into enemies?

Three thoughts on Ke Nan:  So Frances McDormand and Chloé Zhao turned a sad story of a group of socially disadvantaged people into an art film of Nomadland with McDormand as Fern who smokes cigarettes, drinks Whisky, drives an RV, and roams around. In other words, McDormand and Zhao turned Nomadland into a land of lies. The absurdity of this land of lies is that a movie turns a social problem into a praise for the spirit of freedom, and even getting a lot of awards for it. Isn’t this not a reprint of the brainwashing idea that “even though 500,000 people died of Covid-19, America had freedom”?

Former Capcom employee:  There have been several performers in the front of this wind and wave over Nomadland, including an education blogger, an Internet analyst, a science blogger, a military blogger, etc. None of them has five cents to do with films.  Who knew a few said words would bring out so many clowns?

Zhou Ke from legend:  I am looking forward to Nomadland. It is not hard to imagine that criticisms will be flying. I don’t even doubt that Chloé Zhao said something not in agreement with the system in China. However, understanding is a process. It is possible to change one’s views for box office. I would still look forward to it even if she doesn’t change anything. I have said before, works of art are naturally political. Excessive politicization of literary criticism is dangerous. Introspect.

A small dust wind:  Chloé Zhao’s movie Nomadland should be banned in China. For these ethnic Chinese and naturalized Americans, we must not allow them to profit from the China market. Miles Yu is a typical example. This kind of enemy is more dangerous and vicious! For such enemies in the forefront like Miles Yu, their assets in China should be seized according to Chinese laws, just like what the U.S. would normally do. As for Chloé Zhao, such severe punishment is not yet necessary. But she must not be allowed to benefit from the domestic market. Only doing it this way can we warn those who ruthlessly attack and harm China!

Lotus opening a page:  Never thought one sentence said many years ago would bring such big a storm to Chloé Zhao and her Nomadland. Even if she really said those words, what big deal. Made it look like she was betraying the country. Just as you can say things in your own family, what’s the matter making a few complaints about your own country? In this tight environment of ours, we should try to loosen up a little or it will get tighter and tighter.

Westgate Zhou An: The issue is not what exactly is Chloé Zhao’s attitude towards China, or whether Nomadland can or cannot be shown in China. It is that artists and works of art have been sacrificed for political propaganda and ideological games. When there is a great work of art, propagandists would not wait to brag how the artist is Chinese and how she has won glory for the country. As soon as the artist has been found without “sufficient political awareness,” she is immediately banned, and made into a counter example of “un-patriotism.” The real victims are not only Chloé Zhao, but all artists losing the freedom to create, along with us who lack understanding of the diversity and complexity of art.

Xing Lida:  I finished watching the movie in several sections. The theme is sadness, with no criticisms, no sparks. What the movie tries to focus on or find resonance in might be the mood of many Americans these days, disheartened by the weak economy and the pandemic.

Three seven:  Watched Nomadland. The whole movie is filled with solitude. Photography is so good. I like very much Chloé Zhao’s no make-up look and her style of clothing. Compared with those “thin, white and young” cosmetic faces filling the streets without souls, Chloé Zhao’s is vivid and charming. Having won such a big award, she is the pride of all Asians no matter what. Australian media already said she didn’t say those words in those years. She was misread and miswritten. Even if she said them, who could guarantee that they are correct absolutely from birth to death? In vacuum? That kind of life would be boring and terrifying.

Li Wen_Lee:  Chloé Zhao is like a romantic, determined, and wandering poet. The lines are so beautiful.

Chess brother:  I like Chloé Zhao more and more. No matter “unpatriotic” or “traitor” attacks, I ignore them all. It is only in the chaos of the world shall a cool girl from Ganjiakou of Beijing show her qualities! Just ignore and let the garbage gossips get lost in Nomadland.