There was a petition to remove Donnie Yen as a presenter at the 2023 Academy Awards (Oscars), and it got over 100k signatures. However, unfortunately for the petition, he was still a presenter. The petition was set up by Hong Kong citizens who are against the way that Yen is “whitewashing” the media’s idea of what is happening in Hong Kong and making the world think that how the government is treating them is okay.
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The petition was launched on Change.org by Fu Tong on behalf of many frustrated people from Hong Kong and pro-democracy supporters, citizens against the authoritarian regime in Hong Kong. Fu Tong was a member of the 2019 anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong.
The reasoning behind the petition and wanting to remove him from the Academy Awards was the fear that it would make it seem like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is welcoming China’s authoritarian regime to the stage and giving it a platform in the west.
Donnie Yen has previously stated about the pro-democracy protests, describing them as “riots” in an interview with GQ and painting the pro-democratic movement negatively when they fight for freedom of speech and democracy. He criticised news outlets like BBC, CNN and other Western media for “ignoring the progress made in China and focusing on the negative aspects [only].”
Yen was also for the decision to impose the Beijing National Security Law, which led to the unfortunate arrest of hundreds of pro-democracy activists, journalists and even former legislators. The international community recognised Hong Kong protests as peaceful. It condemned the brutal tactics that the Hong Kong Police Force used against the protestors and the Beijing-imposed national security law. So naturally, those against the authoritarian regime are upset that someone of his standing is getting his voice out into the world when they feel like theirs are not being heard.
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Donnie Yen is a member of one of China’s top advisory committees, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (or CPPCC), and recently attended what is known as China’s “Two Session”, a meeting between CPPCC and the National People’s Congress (or NPC), a group which is often described as China’s “rubber stamp parliament”, a term used to describe the heads of state in a constitutional monarchy or a parliamentary republic. At this meeting, he served as a representative of Hong Kong’s cultural and art sector.
It seems that Donnie Yen has quite a bit of a say. With him acting against the wishes of pro-democratic people, you can understand that those he is against wouldn’t want him to have an even more excellent platform to spread his view on the situation.
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Hollywood’s Approach to China
Hollywood’s approach to and relationship with China has changed quite a lot in the last decade or so, primarily due to the Communist Party-led government, which is pushing for a focus on domestically produced films and restricting the number of Hollywood films that are being allowed into the country. There has been some reversal in this aspect, probably from the Chinese film industry’s struggle to keep up with industry demands alone.
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- Frustrated Hong Kong citizens created a petition to remove Donnie Yen as a presenter at the 2023 Academy Awards.
- Although the petition reached 100k signatures, Donnie Yen still presented at the Oscars on the 12th of March, 2023.
- Donnie Yen is against the pro-democracy protests and movement.
Do you think that the petition against Donnie Yen joining the 2023 Academy Awards should have been fulfilled?