Saturday, June 10, 2006

China Bans Da Vinci Code Movie

In the category of closing the barn door after the cow has escaped, we now have the banning of the Da Vinci Code movie after it has had a 22 day run there and has exceeded all expectations in ticket sales. Here is the link--

This seems to have been the response of the Chinese government trying to appease the Catholic Patriot League, but also responding to the 'social unrest' and various protests the movie had caused in the last few weeks there. Of course this tactic only makes those Catholics look like obscurantists and censors unfortunately. Nevertheless, it is an irony that the Communist government in China has been more sensitive to Christian feelings on this matter than all the Western governments put together! It also shows, that at least some governmental officials understand that this movie is definitely not "much ado about nothing".


Sandalstraps said...

Of course, while everything that you said seems true to me, there is another perspective:

Regardless of the Da Vinci Code's relative lack of merit and its flagrant abuse of history, you shouldn't simply ban something because some people don't like it, or because it offends your and their moral sensibilities. And I know I don't have to tell you why not. Such bans, while being morally wrong in an important way, also never work out quite how you'd hope they would. They make the powers that be look afraid of something, thus making whatever it is that they seem afraid of much more appealing. The "bad guys" suddenly become much more sympathetic characters.

ChinaLawBlog said...

Not clear this is being done for the Catholics. Another theory is that it is being done on this movie so as to set a precedent for any movie against Muslims, of which China has somewhat of an internal problem. No matter how you cut it, however, it is strange how China did not act on this before the movie had been out for a few weeks.

Rainsborough said...

Yes--just how should the government of any proper democracy properly show its "sensitivity" about the theological content of a motion picture? What business is that of it?

And as a purely practical matter, what manifestation of "sensitivity" wouldn't serve to boost the Da Vinci Code at the box office?

Ben Witherington said...

I agree with you Sandalstraps--- I'm not for censorship as it has the boomerang effect.

And as for governmental sensitivity, it is indeed the duty of the government to protect free speech-- and this includes the rights of Christians to protest all they want about things they see as immoral. This in turn means they have the right to protest the banning of God's name in public venues as a form of censorship of free speech, no matter what the ACLU may say.



Mark F said...

The ACLU is currently involved in a lawsuit over a girl singing "Awesome God" at a school talent show.

The school wouldn't let her sing it and the ACLU is on her side saying the school cannot open up a forum for speech and then regulate the speech.

Remember the ACLU public religion cases have been about the government or its designee speaking religiously.

see-through faith said...

I beg to disagree. i think this book and movie have made people here very interested in Jesus - and can become a great tool of God.

Banning it is NOT the way forward IMHO - not if we are serious about our faith.