The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to have a strange love-hate relationship with filmmaker Chloe Zhao, alternately praising her achievements and using its censorship powers to suppress all mention of her Oscar wins on Sunday.
It is hard to see why the CCP would decide to erase Zhao, who has not been a strident public critic of China’s authoritarian regime. It is much easier to understand the CCP’s desire to send Zhao, her American collaborators, and Hollywood a message about China’s increasing box-office clout, and Beijing’s willingness to use business interests as leverage to accomplish its political agenda. If a history-making Asian female director can suddenly become a non-person at the peak of her career, then no one is safe.
Zhao, 39, was born in Beijing under the name Zhao Ting. She emigrated to London when she was 14, attended a British boarding school, moved to Los