News of Chloe Zhao’s Oscar win on Sunday was censored inside China, where the director has fallen victim to a wave of nationalism and attacks accusing her of betraying the country where she was born.
At the 2021 Academy Awards, Zhao became the first woman of color and the second woman to lead the work of “Nomadland” depicted by workers in the American West.
Zhao, 39, Born in Beijing but moved to Britain and the United States to study, she is also the first Chinese woman to receive this award.
Yet in China, where anthropological Chinese public praise is often observed, comments and articles about Zhao were quickly deleted on Monday, when some search results for her name or Oscar were released.
Others have noted that Zhao’s Oscar win did not appear among the most sought-after topics, a list that is often manipulated by platforms. One blogger wrote in frustration that the only Oscar-related content they found was Oscar Wang, a singer who was unexpectedly dropped from a Tencent-run boy band competition.
In the discussion forum, posts related to the video clip containing Zhao’s trophy and his statement of acceptance have been removed. When users were able to post about his victory on WeChat, the articles were deleted, including one written by a popular movie reviewer who posted an article titled “Nomadland” in the movie over dozens.
Coverage in the Chinese media was very low, with no news of his victory in either of the two large state-owned outlets. The state-run tabloid Global Times posted on Twitter, which is blocked in China, described Zhao as the first Asian woman to receive the award. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, congratulated Zhao, saying: that the “tense China-US ties may bring some troubles to her. “Hopefully she will become more mature in tackling these issues,” he also wrote on Twitter.
In his acknowledgment speech, he spoke affectionately about his Chinese upbringing, citing Zhao’s censorship, the intensity of nationalist attitudes in China, and Beijing’s support for officials and the state media, as Beijing sees itself as growing inequality with the United States and its allies.