Forum: The Culture of Money

Saviours and Slackers

by Linda Jaivin

THE 2017 FILM Wolf Warrior 2 战狼 II, which is set in an unnamed African country, portrays the dramatic rescue of Chinese and African hostages from ruthless American mercenaries by a Chinese special forces operative. The film’s tag line is as muscular as its director and action hero star Wu Jing 吴京: ‘Whoever offends our China will be put to death’ 犯我中华者,虽远必诛. (A more literal reading would be ‘whoever offends our China, no matter how far away, must be punished by death’.) Patriotism sells. Within two weeks of its late-July release, Wolf Warrior 2, based on the cult 2006 military novel Bullet Hole 弹痕 by Fenwu Yaoji 纷舞妖姬 (the pen name of Dong Qun 董群), became the highest grossing film in Chinese history. Within one month, it had taken in US$800 million at the box office, becoming the second-highest grossing film in any single territory worldwide after Star Wars 7 in the United States.

Ode to Joy

by William Sima

IN THE SEASON TWO FINALE of the smash-hit sitcom Ode to Joy 欢乐颂, the character Fan Shengmei 樊胜美, who has struggled with financially needy parents continually pressuring her to marry, boldly declares her New Year’s resolution: ‘I am going to stay single and do whatever I want. I will be the fighter plane among the left-over women [shengnü 剩女]!’

Do’s and Don’ts

by Linda Jaivin

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) had a busy 2017. The following are among the year’s major directives