Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal: Center for American Security Concerned About AMC, Carmike Deal
News story originally published at DailyStarJournal.com
By Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia
Not everyone supports AMC’s plan, with Carmike stockholders’ agreement, to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc.
The Center for American Security has been highly critical of the merger in recent months.
“The AMC-Carmike deal is the most blatant example of China’s soft power play, yet the U.S. government has naively allowed Chinese propagandizing to continue unabated,” Executive Director Richard Berman told The Daily Star-Journal on Tuesday. “While American law prevents the vertical integration of movie production and distribution, Washington has failed to apply the same measures to the Communist-sponsored Dalian Wanda and its ability to influence the movie industry. The American public should be aware of how the Chinese government is expanding its sphere of influence overseas.”
China may attempt to use the power that comes from owning U.S. movie making companies and distributors to prevent the public from seeing films critical of Chinese policy, based on information from the non-profit center.
The center found Dalian Wanda, which owns AMC, is aligned closely to the Chinese Communist Party and receives subsidies from that company.
“The link is very strong between the two,” information from the center states.
In addition, knowing that the Chinese might disagree with criticism, some movie makers may become self-censoring.
“That means taking out critical references to Chinese foreign policy or the Chinese military–anything that the Chinese party wouldn’t like,” information from the center states.
Although Chinese companies can buy U.S. film studios and distributors, there is no reciprocal agreement allowing the U.S. to do the same in China. If the Chinese allowed reciprocation, then a pro-democracy film studio could distribute a film in China that could, for example, show the Chinese people what really occurred at Tiananmen Square.
The center wants the U.S. government to look harder at, and in some cases block, Chinese purchases of U.S. businesses.
More than a dozen members of Congress, on a bipartisan basis, have signed a letter urging the Government Accountability Office to take a closer look at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is supposed to review such purchases.
In addition to extending such “soft power” influence, China seeks to extend military muscle, a white paper by the center states.
“The country’s ongoing efforts to develop and weaponize man-made islands in the South China Sea represent one example of hard asset accumulation. Another is the country’s use of cyber espionage against foreign governments and private companies, aimed at the ‘theft of intellectual property and trade secrets,’ according to one report. Both are meant to enhance China’s military capabilities,” the white paper states.