China’s presumed future president is a big fan of Hollywood movies on World War II, but says many top Chinese films are “not worth very much,” according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
A cable leaked this week by the Web site recounted a 2007 conversation between then US ambassador to China Clark Randt and Xi Jinping (習近平), who at the time was Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief of Zhejiang Province.
Xi, now vice president and widely expected to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in 2013, told Randt he “tremendously enjoyed” the 1998 Steven Spielberg war epic Saving Private Ryan, the cable said.
“Xi said he particularly likes Hollywood movies about World War II and hopes Hollywood will continue to make them. Hollywood makes those movies well and such Hollywood movies are grand and truthful,” the cable said.
In 2006, Xi also owned and was trying to find time to watch the DVD of Flags of Our Fathers about the US-Japanese battle for Iwo Jima. He also had watched and enjoyed the Martin Scorsese thriller The Departed, the cable added.
China’s secretive CCP elite closely guard personal details of top officials.
Aside from the fact that he is married to a well-known Chinese singer, few personal details are available on Xi, who strikes a bland figure in public appearances, as do all of China’s top leaders.
Xi said that “Americans have a clear outlook on values and clearly demarcate between good and evil. In American movies, good usually prevails.”
By contrast, Xi described Curse of the Golden Flower, a 2006 Chinese movie directed by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀), as “confusing,” the cable said.
“Some Chinese moviemakers neglect values they should promote,” he was quoted as saying, adding that “America is a powerful nation in terms of culture because Americans say what they should say.”
“Too many Chinese moviemakers cater to foreigners’ interests or preconceptions, sometimes vulgarly so,” it added.
He also pilloried the kungfu action movie genre, now all the rage in China, and in particular Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon an international hit in 2000 by -Taiwanese director Ang Lee (李安), saying of such films, “all are the same, talking about bad things in imperial palaces.”
The lack of Oscar nominations or other top awards for major Chinese movies indicated “that such movies are not worth very much,” Xi reportedly said.