Chloé Zhao “Zhao Ting” (Zhao’s name in Chinese) made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to win the Oscar for best director, winning the category for the film “Nomadland.”
Those in China, however, aren’t celebrating Zhao’s win. In fact, most Chinese citizens would be stunned to learn she won. According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese media, major search engines, and social media platforms have removed and censored all mentions of Zhao’s win.
When users search for Zhao on China’s three main search engines, Baidu, Weibo and Sogou, they are directed to links of deleted articles that mention her Academy Award.
“State broadcaster China Central Television, the official Xinhua News Agency, and Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily stayed silent on the award throughout the day. Two state media reporters told the Wall Street Journal that they had received orders from China’s propaganda ministry not to report on Ms. Zhao’s victory, despite what they described as her status as a Chinese national, because of ‘previous public opinion,” the reports adds.
So, what exactly did Zhao do to upset the Chinese Communist Party? Soon after Zhao’s best director win at the Golden Globes last month, a 2013 interview in which she said China is “a place where there are lies everywhere” resurfaced.
Chinese state media then went from calling Zhao “the pride of China” to censoring mentions of her and reportedly publishing critiques of Zhao from social media users. In addition, the 2013 article has since been “edited and condensed,” even omitting Zhao referring to her upbringing in China.
Congratulations to Chloé Zhao. Few people watched the Oscars, but winning best director remains an achievement of a lifetime.