Art and Culture # 39: Russia’s and China’s problem with Freedom of Speech

-For the Uncensored!

According to Kinonedelia No. 4 (1925), “The possibilities of cinema as a propaganda, agitation, and educational tool in a country of widespread illiteracy intrigued the Soviet leaders. Their fascination with new technology in general probably contributed as well. Lenin dictated this note to the Commissariat of Education, which was responsible for the cinema, with a request that it draw up a program of action based on his directives. In February, Lunacharsky had a conversation with Lenin in which, by the former’s recollection, Lenin made his oft quoted statement “that of all the arts the most important for us is the cinema” (http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/socialist-cinema/socialist-cinema-texts/lenin-on-the-most-important-of-the-arts/).

            Now, this isn’t lost on me that Russian writers within the Soviet Union faced more censorship than anyone, because books, films, etc., in the Soviet era, foreign and local authors, were always sold on the black market. If cinema was the most important art to Lenin, because it allowed them “to alter reality” as Razorfist said, the problem is much worse when it comes to writers who wrote books within the system. Books on the other hand, are concrete, which is why Communists hated books, and outright banned salacious material. 

            Franz Kafka never got to see the Amerika that he wrote of, but the condition of being free is far worse to slaves inside Communist country. He never got to see the rise of Hitler, either “or experience Hitler or the Nazi’s” (https://www.writlarge.fm/episodes/the-trial).

What Communists do know is that art will always be censored. The Strutgatsky brothers novels faced heavy scrutiny until the Soviet Union collapsed and there novel Uninhabited Island, copyrighted in 1969, saw its first printing in America in 2019, with an afterword by the sole surviving brother, at the time of the early 2000’s. 

            The famous novel, Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak carries a story about a doctor who witnesses the rise of the Russian Revolution. What Lenin would adopt is the pure weight of communist theory into practice, censoring books and destroying art to make sure everyone thought the same. 

            It’s really strange when everything under the sun when China, in 2009, had run Twilight, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, “Twilight’ is an unusual choice for China, where censors for years have shunned supernatural content and violence.” Which is funny because half of the movies, on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast, Bret Easton Ellis added, “Dealing with the Chinese is all madness and lies” and David Brunetti, his guest commented, “I have heard the money was not real.” (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bret-easton-ellis-podcast/id753552884?i=1000386468542).

So, Communist money is a burger with no meat, and the meat you have, is questionable at best. But also, Communist money is a box with what appears to be a burger, with a piece of paper inside it that says, “Burger.” But the word burger is written in brail because you would have to be blind to see what Communists are selling you?  

            Even Alien: Covenant (2017) was censored in China, as the David/Walter kiss was censored. Michael Fassbender plays two characters, just different models of the same machine, kissing itself, so it’s a play on art reflected back at each other. (https://www.indiewire.com/2017/06/alien-covenant-michael-fassbender-gay-kiss-china-chinese-censorship-1201843715/) And hey, maybe Chinese people have something to worry about, maybe? Just saying.

            I mean, if you had ever felt someone suppressing your opinion, then you know what it’s like. Many Conservatives know what that’s like, but Communist Russia and China is everything you fear. Communist China is the same, but China “succeeded where Russia failed” with “soft power” but the thing is when writers are placed within a communist system, there subjects grow limited. They can’t express themselves. 

            Vladimir Nabokov hadn’t lived in Russia since his exile in 1919, when he and “his family made their way to England, and he attended Trinity College, Cambridge, on a scholarship provided for the sons of prominent Russians in exile.” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Vladimir-Nabokov) 

            So, many who faced exile from Russia knew what they were facing if they stayed. There’s always a sense of what censorship can look like, but Americans always had freedom of speech, the right to publish, and be published. That’s part of the world America is raised on. 

            What Russian writers faced is only the blueprint of the way China would copy and paste Russia’s playbook, and apply it to there writers. Hell, most Chinese writers, have another version of the Chinese stories and they sell the uncensored story abroad.

            Professor Ezra F. Vogel biography’s of Deng Xiaoping, addressed, that “the Chinese version did not mention that Chinese newspapers had been ordered to ignore the Communist implosion across Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. Nor that General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, purged during the Tiananmen Square crackdown, wept when he was placed under house arrest. Gone was the tense state dinner with the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev when Deng, preoccupied by the throngs of students then occupying the square, let a dumpling tumble from his chopsticks.”

            Mr. Vogel’s exact response was “the decision to allow Chinese censors to tinker with his work was an unpleasant but necessary bargain,” which is absolutely criminal, because China somehow can excuse a leader of its faults, but the NYT even stated that China is “a gold mine for royalties. Last year J.K. Rowling took in $2.4 million here, and Walter Isaacson, the author of the biography “Steve Jobs,” earned $804,000, according to the Huaxi Metropolitan Daily in Chengdu, which publishes an annual list” (https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/world/asia/authors-accept-censors-rules-to-sell-in-china.html).

            Also, “a St. Louis based novelist,” Qiu Xialong, “whose mystery thrillers are set in Shanghai, said Chinese publishers who bought the first three books in his Inspector Chen series altered the identity of pivotal characters and rewrote plot lines they deemed unflattering to the Communist Party. Most egregiously, he said, publishers insisted on removing any references to Shanghai, replacing it with an imaginary Chinese metropolis called H city because they thought an association with violent crime, albeit fictional, might tarnish the city’s image.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/world/asia/authors-accept-censors-rules-to-sell-in-china.html). And after three times of “being burned” he refused to have his fourth book published. And that was in 2013. If more artists like Qiu Xialong had fought the publishing system, maybe we wouldn’t bend the knee to China’s Communist ideals.

            What I find despicable is that not only the entertainment industry in America doesn’t care about young artists, or who actually have integrity, but the problem is does the American left care? Not a goddamn bit. Hell, they want to sell away there data, as they imagine someone in China can watch them masturbating is the only achievement the American Left can ever fully realize.  

            What you have is the inability to see suffering. A whole generation of men and women who lived under the Soviet and Chinese Communist society that will never be free from it. Now the Russians are, but China, many who rebelled are probably dead. The writers of Communist Russia and China who fled, know the price of freedom. So many have died because of an ideology that has never worked for any government, and stifles creativity. Art and Freedom of Speech are intertwined, and while many of us complain about liberal Hollywood, they do have the right to speak, but liberal Hollywood must reap the whirlwind of what they say. Or as succinctly, “You can say what you want but you must deal with the consequences of your words.” 

            You wonder where the good artists are? Not in the mainstream news and entertainment fields. It’s too easy to rock the boat. Rock the boat and you’ll lose the China money. If you had any intelligence you wouldn’t want Chinese money anyway. There money is soaked with the blood of the rebels who fight for freedom, slaughtered Uiyger Muslims, words of dissent silenced by censorious dictatorships, and there citizens singing America’s national anthem, they know the freedoms that Americans have. 

            It’s about time we stopped living in a censorious mind fuck alternate reality and return back to our real time zone. Not one trapped in the Man in the High Castle storyline.  

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, including, The Michael Project, The Michael Project: Book 2: The Lost Children of Eve, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/. Instagram @lbrruno8063 and @louisbrunoofficialbook. He has written for the Intellectual Conservative and Ephemere. Also, he writes on https://louisbruno.substack.com, where you can support him directly, and where he will post one article a day (the bulk of his work will appear on substack officially). Also he can be found on Our Freedom Book https://www.ourfreedombook.com/thereallouistbruno17 His latest, Come Home, Young One, a dark fantasy novel is out now at Lulu.com. Link is here: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4.  His next series, City of Sand, will be out near June, 2021.

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