William Overholt argues that as China reaches a threshold where success has eliminated the conditions that enabled miraculous growth, Xi Jinping is pursuing the riskiest political strategy of any important national leader. Alternative outcomes include continued impressive growth and political stability, Japanese-style stagnation, and a major political-economic crisis.
Stan Rosen: Wanda Boss gets Red Carpet treatment in Hollywood, but is seen as a Threat by Some in Washington
Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group widely described in American media as China's richest man, has made no secret of his intention to invest in all six of Hollywood's major film studios with the goal of acquiring at least one.
He already owns the largest cinema chains in China and the U.S., his reach having expanded with last month's absorption of Carmike Cinemas into AMC Entertainment, which he bought in 2012. Wang last year also bought mid-sized studio Legendary Entertainment, known for a number of recent big-budget blockbusters, and announced a $1 billion deal to buy Dick Clark Productions, producer of the Golden Globes and other awards shows.
As a result, Wang has emerged as a poster child both for those in Hollywood eager for Chinese investment and access to the expanding Chinese movie market and for those in Washington who fear the "infiltration" of Hollywood to serve China's larger interests in winning hearts and minds around the world. The red-carpet treatment Wang now receives in Hollywood contrasts starkly with the fear his global agenda has elicited among U.S. politicians and media.
Given his long-term ambitions in the U.S. then, Wang must address his political challenges as he furthers his business interests. At least 17 Republican and Democratic congressmen and senators have written to various agency chiefs singling out Dalian Wanda as the most prominent example of a company with connections to the Chinese government permitted to acquire U.S. entertainment assets while China denies U.S. media companies reciprocity in its tightly controlled market.
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Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute, the East Asian Studies Center, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a screening of the 1993 Chinese film Woman Sesame Oil Maker (香魂女). It tells the story of a woman in a small village who buys a peasant wife for his mentally disabled son after her sesame oil business becomes unexpectedly successful. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Xie Fei (谢飞).