Westerners cannot kidnap other moviegoers on ‘Mermaid’
Published: May 26, 2023 12:43 AM
Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

Disney's live-action remake, The Little Mermaid, is set to be released in North America and the Chinese mainland on Friday. But recently, some aggressive Western netizens have targeted Chinese audiences with their "political correctness" toward the African-American leading actress.

Despite Disney's efforts to promote the film, including enlisting Chinese celebrities, its pre-sales had only grossed around 600,000 yuan ($85,000) as of Thursday afternoon, according to ticketing platform Maoyan.

A number of netizens from Western countries on Twitter have attacked Chinese audiences, alleging that poor box office numbers are due to "racial discrimination."

This is to impose their politically correct standards on Chinese audiences, and use this to sow discord between China and African groups.

According to a viral comparison chart on Twitter of two promotional posters of The Little Mermaid, posted and reposted by those group of netizens, the US poster clearly shows the natural skin color of lead actress Halle Bailey, while a Chinese poster shows the same actress under the water swimming up toward a ray of sunshine, which gives her skin a blueish tinge. 

This group of netizens mocked Disney's "hypocrisy," saying Disney is trying to pander to Chinese audiences by hiding the protagonist's skin color using a blue hue and aiming to make the character to appear less black.

By criticizing Disney's choice of photos for the promotional posters in different countries, these critics hint that Chinese audiences are "racist."

In fact, Disney also released a Chinese version of the US poster. Some Chinese netizens shared the Chinese versions of the posters on social media to refute the above mentioned accusations, which clearly show that some people biased against China only pick what they like to see to consolidate their prejudice and advance their narrative.

"After all, why can't the mermaid look blue? Are they [some aggressive Western netizens] discriminating against Na'vi people [from Avatar]?" one Chinese netizen joked.

The vast majority of Chinese audiences do not have any bias against a black Little Mermaid and would rather evaluate the film based on its own merits. The primary topic of discussion in China has been about the adaptation of the traditional fairy tale.

However, some American leftists are imposing their own politically correct values on Chinese audiences, expecting them to embrace the film the same way as Western audiences have. This expectation is unreasonable since Chinese don't have such political correctness, as the country's modern history is more about being invaded by Westerners rather than colonizing or oppressing black people. Instead, China has always maintained brotherly relations with Africa and has never needed an "atonement" mentality prevalent in Hollywood.

Unlike Western countries' invasion of Africa, China's efforts on the continent have been peaceful, supporting African countries to resist imperialism and fight for national independence and liberation.

Common historical experiences and fighting side by side have forged a traditional friendship between China and African countries and laid a solid historical foundation for China-Africa relations. 

China's support and assistance to its African friends have been tangible and visible, instead of the empty talk and "false promises" from the West.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Western countries only focused on themselves, but China began providing vaccines to Africa even when domestic supplies were tight.

So far China has built more than 80 large-scale power facilities, assisted in the construction of over 130 medical facilities, 45 sports venues, and more than 170 schools in Africa.

Chinese enterprises have used various funds to help African countries add and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of highways, close to 1,000 bridges, nearly 100 ports, and over 150,000 kilometers of communication backbone networks, covering nearly 700 million user terminals, bringing real benefits to both peoples.

Western "white leftist" netizens using their political correctness to kidnap Chinese audiences is naked cultural hegemony. Some people simply don't have a clue how to reflect on themselves but only stand on a so-called moral high ground to criticize others. Colonizing a group of people on Earth and then yelling at another group for not sharing its own guilty conscience - how convenient to always be the right one!