Chinawatch, Cont.

Next up in the Western Movies About China Pipeline: a biopic about a Jewish British military adviser to Sun Yat-sen. There are a couple of things that make this a potentially touchy project. First, it comes at a time when China’s displaying extraordinary sensitivity to the way historical figures are portrayed—that’s what drove their ban on time travel movies (although I think it remains to be seen if that ban will be limited to movies where time travel results in the characters encountering major historical figures). Second, Denis Bieber, who is producing the movie (if Justin Bieber had an entertainment company that was producing this movie, as I initially thought when I saw the headline, my whole perception of the entertainment world was going to undergo a radical shift) has a record on two issues that could make the Chinese nervous: democracy promotion and indigenous people’s rights. He held a major support concert for Vaclav Havel after the Velvet Revolution, and he is the reason we got a Sacagewea coin. It’ll be interesting to see if those positions complicate plans to shoot in China, or if like Bob Dylan, Bieber proves politically adaptable.