What Happens When Values Collide? 1


Avatar, James Cameron’s latest blockbuster, has seen its time in Chinese cinemas dramatically reduced as China enforces regulations restricting the number of screens where fans can see the movie. According to quotes in the New York Times, this appears to be a move to protect the interests (i.e., office receipts) of domestic films. China limits foreign films to 20 per year, according to China Digital Times, and also can restrict the number of screens where you can see a foreign film.

I was reminded of the Avatar story this morning as I read news reports that the rules were, in fact, being enforced.  And only minutes later I read an editorial (The Evolving Asian Consciousness) written by Wang Xiaolong, a Minister-counselor and Deputy Chief of the Mission at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore, explaining to readers the increased importance of what has widely been referred to as an “Asian Way.” (interesting academic text on the subject found here)  He highlights three values of this Asian Way–consensus building, pragmatism and gradualism, and open-mindedness–and elaborates.

Seeing these two stories within such a small span of time got me thinking.  What really happens when the pride evoked by nationalism comes up against a more traditional, and arguably less provocative, value such as open-mindedness?  Though Avatar presents viewers with a different set of competing values, I suspect the Na’vi could answer my question without hesitation. 

Just a random thought….

One comment

  1. Interesting post! I like your question at the end, thought provoking. I doubt nationalism is going to stay long because it seems really unfair from the consumer’s point of view. To the average person, there probably isn’t a conflict- he would support both foreign and local films anyway.The authorities are fearful because this movie bears similarity to the forced evacuations in rural areas. People at the ground are more open minded and hopefully one day this mentality will spread upwards.

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