Nomadland fracas a chance to test China’s resilience
Published: Mar 08, 2021 02:02 PM
Chinese female director Zhao Ting Photo: CFP

Chinese female director Zhao Ting Photo: CFP

Chinese director Zhao Ting, also known as Chloe Zhao, and the film she directed, Nomadland, have triggered controversy recently. I believe her experiences made her a self-contradictory figure. During the period when she shot to fame in the US, China became the world's largest movie market. These two events are expected to generate impacts on her future speech and values.

Netizens dug out Zhao's speeches in the past. And many were furious about those words and thus changed their impression of Zhao. Such fury and change in attitudes are normal. You reap what you sow, and what happens now is the cost she needs to bear. 

Meanwhile, I don't think her movie should be removed from the film market. As China remains open, the country should be able to tolerate divergences. Zhao said something believed to be "an insult to China" in 2013, but she is not one of those dissidents who turn their values into political stances and exploit it. As Zhao has become famous, more of her past will be dug up. Facing the fermentation of a mix of information, Chinese audiences will come to their own judgment of how to view Zhao and her films. This controversy will eventually end in a commercially marketed manner. 

I think Chinese people should be given more of such opportunities to deal with controversies of this kind on their own. The market will tell, and our authorities shall stand more aloof more often. Hence, our society will grow more dynamic and become more resilient. People will also understand more profoundly that many things are not just about being black or white. There is a large-scale intermediate zone regarding quarrels of public opinions. 

The more room the market has to deal with problems, the stronger the market itself will be. And this will also help China grow stronger, more attractive, more tolerant, and more inclusive in various dimensions. At that time, it will be harder for any force to intend to crush China. 

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn