China's Richest Man Tells MPAA's Chris Dodd To Tell Donald Trump To Be Nice To China… Or Else

from the strange-bedfellows dept

I really have no idea what to make of this fairly odd story. The richest man in China, Wang Jianlin, has apparently deputized MPAA boss Chris Dodd as his messenger to Donald Trump on the issue of China. As you may have heard, China is currently “seriously concerned” about Donald Trump’s decision to publicly question the “One China” policy held for decades by US officials, which accepts China’s position that Taiwan is a “renegade province” rather than its own autonomous country. Whatever you think of this policy, the Trump administration seems to have approached it with something approximating a diplomatic sledgehammer.

You can find all sorts of articles discussing how China might retaliate if this moves forward, but perhaps the oddest is that Wang is using Chris Dodd as his mouthpiece to influence Trump. Wang owns AMC, the largest movie chain in the US, which is where that connection comes in — but Wang also has strong ties to the Chinese government:

Wang, who is China?s richest man, is a former commander in the People?s Liberation Army, and a current delegate to the Chinese People?s National Congress, as well as a member of an advisory board to the Communist Party. Some of his current and former businesses are closely linked to the family of current president Xi Jinping, the New York Times noted last year.

And, of course, one of Chris Dodd’s major focuses as head of the MPAA has been to open up the Chinese market to Hollywood films. And that leads us to Dodd suddenly being the spokesperson asked to deliver the message to Trump to knock it off with the China stuff… or perhaps AMC employees go hungry. Really.

Yesterday, I met with the president of Motion Picture Association of America who said he wants to meet with Mr. Trump and asked me what message I would like delivered. I told him to tell Mr. Trump that I have $10 billion of investments in the United States and more than 20,000 employees there who wouldn?t have anything to eat should things be handled poorly, and nothing else mattered. At least in the film and television industry, you must understand that the growth of English films depends on the Chinese market.

Of course, like many threats from Hollywood about “job losses,” this one appears to be massively exaggerated. Yes, Hollywood is increasingly relying on China for boosting its record-breaking revenue increases (remember how piracy was killing movies? Me neither), but the idea that 20,000 employees will suddenly go hungry over this aspect of the dispute seems like little more than posturing. Either way, this is just another weird data point in a very weird year on the politics front.

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Comments on “China's Richest Man Tells MPAA's Chris Dodd To Tell Donald Trump To Be Nice To China… Or Else”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

We all laughed at the silly meme that "When you download MP3s, you’re downloading COMMUNISM!"

It turns out that when you way to watch movies in the theatre, you’re paying a member of an advisory board to the Communist Party and former commander in the People’s Liberation Army.

Perhaps there ARE some ideological differences between the RIAA and MPAA after all.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 China is not communist

That’s unrealistic without recognizing wildly different forms of socialism.

Sweden is VERY socialist by American standards, with its social system providing universal health care and tertiary education. And yet it’s nothing like the political system of China or the Soviet Union.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 China is not communist

They fell on their behinds when they tried to form a coalition government with the other parties:

To be fair, the others wouldn’t budge on certain issues but I’d say the lack of leadership on the Pirates’ part had a lot to do with it. You can’t drive from the back seat.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 China, like the old USSR is socialist

China is not socialist by any definition I’m aware of.

Recently I had an exchange student (high school) from Beijing living with us for a year.

I took him to the supermarket, and while we were waiting to check out, explained about the food stamps that were slowing the people in front of us.

His eyes widened in amazement – "That would never happen in China!".

The very concept that the government would give free money to people who didn’t earn it was shocking to him.


Andy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 China, like the old USSR is socialist

Like most modern countries food stamps seem to be a crazy way to help the poor. Most if not all except America actually give people money direct into there bank accounts and make them responsible for buying there own food.

Amazing that America is more communistic in many ways compared to most other countries where most people would absolutely refuse to allow the government to do as they are doing like stealing money from people and taking there land from them with minimal payments and where American citizens have no recourse in the court as it is too expensive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 China, like the old USSR is socialist

Food stamps certainly are not the best way to help the poor, perhaps a living wage would be. Many people, when thinking of those who use government assistance, think they are lazy bums who look for handouts rather than looking for work. The majority of those on welfare are full time employees of some cheapass employer who pays the bare minimum allowed, some don’t even pay minimum wage. Then they complain about not finding “qualified” personnel. What a bunch of morons. An increase in wages at the bottom of the spectrum would also improve the economy immediately thus helping everyone … but let’s just argue about whether we are commies or socialists, as if anyone can agree on wtf those terms actually mean. What are these other countries where the public absolutely refuses to allow their government to do bad things, just name a few.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 China, like the old USSR is socialist

I like what you are saying, but doesn’t increasing base wages cause inflation? Labor is an expense, so If business’s costs go up, the price of the goods goes up no? I would think to keep inflation in check, you would need to get the money from someone and redistribute it right? So from whom do we take the money? The rich aren’t going to give it up. The rich can use their money to protect their money. The poor don’t give millions to the politicians campaigns, the rich do. The middle class? Then your just making more poor people. I’ll have to give this some more thought, it doesn’t appear as their is an easy answer eh?

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 China, like the old USSR is socialist

There is little evidence to suggest that is true. I submit Seattle as evidence that raising wages for the poorest workers benefits all.

Consumers don’t live in a vacuum, they work. When my own wage went up I spent more; I went out more, I bought new carpets etc. Basically, local businesses benefitted from my largesse because it was large enough to benefit them with.

Inflation isn’t caused by giving people enough money to live on. As it is, we’re subsidizing the rich by providing for their workers. On which planet is that either reasonable or fair?

One anti-wage increase argument goes along the lines of, “Why would you want to see the office junior receiving a wage that is close to your own?”

My response: “Don’t rob workers of the wage they earned for the sake of the economy or because they might be able to look elsewhere for work (good luck with that!). And since the market is not in fact a sentient gestalt entity composed of supply and demand it won’t provide so let’s not be making a deity out of it. Money is like blood, it needs to circulate. When it doesn’t, that’s when we have problems.”

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 China, like the old USSR is socialist

Andy, the word you’re looking for is “authoritarian.” Don’t be surprised; land-snatching from the peasantry was a common practice back when the aristocracy ruled the roost. Why do you think there are so many diasporas from northern European countries? The Scots were subjected to the cruel Highland clearances to make room for sheep and the Irish were given a choice between dying of famine or emigrating. Free market enthusiasts describe it as “the market correcting itself” and it’s why I bash neoliberalism, which is only a new iteration of mercantilism.

Communism hadn’t even been heard of back then. It doesn’t matter who behaves badly; the end result is that the people are suffering due to the bad behaviour. Partisans will ignore your plight if it’s their team that’s doing it but the way I see it bad behaviour is bad behaviour and none of us should be on the receiving end.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: China is not communist

Explain yourself!

Capitalism only deals with one thing. Citizens being able to own a Company vs them being owned by Governments. By that virtue, they usually get to make big decisions about it as well. Unless… you have regulation

Regulation deals with telling a business what they can and cannot do, which minimizes Capitalism, but ultimately has nothing do with whether or not a person owns a business.

So you are damn wrong, China is NOT as capitalistic as USA because to even have a business in China you have to get into bed with the government and that is more like an Oligarchy/Aristocracy than it is Capitalism any day!

China regulates more than the USA does, which directly means you are plumb out of your gourd… so much for being a mugwump!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: China is not communist

“Regulation deals with telling a business what they can and cannot do, which minimizes Capitalism, but ultimately has nothing do with whether or not a person owns a business.”

Are you suggesting that corporations be allowed to do whatever the fuck pleases them? How about requiring nude photos of college students to secure their loans, does this sound like a good idea? Some think so, others not, what could possibly go wrong? How about chip implants to track you 24-7 as a condition of employment, some think this is a good idea. Perhaps a corporation should be allowed to blow up people with drones. Is regulation of corporations always a bad thing?

Anonymous Coward says:

“The richest man in China, Wang Jianlin, has apparently deputized MPAA boss Chris Dodd as his messenger to Donald Trump on the issue of China.”

That just tells me that the richest man in China hasn’t got the balls to talk to Trump. When a person cannot talk and deal with someone direct then the person cannot be worthy to talk to or deal with in the first place!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Obviously you know nothing about diplomacy or cultures outside your television. By presenting it as a conversation between two ‘connected’ people both China and America can officially say there are no issues in thier relationship while having a channel to discuss issues frankly. The fact that our reaction was to run to the media is disturbing.

Paul Clark (profile) says:

An Appropriate Response

How about Donald filing a WTO complaint against China for currency manipulation and requesting the all WTO member countries apply import duties to all Chinese made goods and to all goods made in countries that do not apply the duty.

The good news is this should have been done a long time ago to make trade with China fairer.

The bad news is this will make most things more expensive and may cause a world wide recession.

I.T. Guy says:

“I told him to tell Mr. Trump that I have $10 billion of investments in the United States and more than 20,000 employees”

Awww isn’t it cute. The little man is getting all puffy. Take your 10 billion and go little man. It’s not like you invest here for the fun of it. So if you don’t want to invest here anymore there are plenty of others that will.

Take your ball and go… please do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Rich Communist?

–Wang, who is China’s richest man, is a former commander in the People’s Liberation Army, and a current delegate to the Chinese People’s National Congress, as well as a member of an advisory board to the Communist Party.

Clearly Wang steers the Communist Party away from Communism otherwise he would be sharing the wealth and be poor like his fellow citizens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, this really isn’t a surprise.

We know Chris Dodd has a hard-on for China’s censorship system.

We also know the MPAA directed funding to Republicans after SOPA’s defeat.

It’s not a surprise that foreigners think that the MPAA runs the country, because that’s exactly how it is. antidirt’s boys throw the money that might have been used to pay film crews to demand laws.

Dave Cortright (profile) says:

I’m with Trump on this one...

I’m no fan of Donald “truthiness instead of facts” Trump, but on this one I am with him. If China doesn’t want POTUS talking to the President of Taiwan, then maybe China shouldn’t allow there to be a President of Taiwan. I mean do they govern Taiwan or not? To allow a position to exist within their government whose title conveys a certain level of power, but then to throw a tantrum when someone talks to the person in that position is pretty immature. China should be decisive, either eliminating that position, or recognizing it as a powerless figurehead and knowing that any conversations they have are ultimately meaningless.

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