A prominent Chinese film critic has been denounced online after roundly criticizing this summer's patriotic homegrown blockbuster movie “Wolf Warrior II” on social media, amid concerns she may have lost her job.
Central Academy of Drama lecturer Yin Shanshan has been inactive online since she used her microblog account on Sina Weibo to slam the movie as excessively violent and "psychopathic" to her more than 70 million fans, as the country's tightly controlled media lauded the summer box-office smash as "filled with patriotic feeling."
Her "verified" status as an academy lecturer has also disappeared, prompting unconfirmed reports that she has already been dismissed.
The movie, which is the top-grossing film to be released by a Chinese studio, depicts a special military operative single-handedly cutting his way through an unnamed African city to rescue beleaguered Chinese nationals from a hospital and factory under attack by mercenaries, using a combination of automatic weapons and kung fu.
Yin described the movie as "worthless, without values or logic," hitting out at "gory scenes" that fail to take into account the effects on children, who would be watching during the summer vacation.
She said the scriptwriting was immature with no genuine portrayal of a characters emotions or inner life.
She also hit out at the scenes of violent trafficking and massacres, as well as the "inhumanity" of the lead character played by actor Wu Jing.
While many agreed with her, one group of social media users penned an open letter to the academy criticizing Yin's "wrong-headed political stance."
Victim of 'ideological regression'
A Chengdu-based academic surnamed Zhang said the backlash against Yin is part of a nationwide "ideological regression" in recent years.
"The whole of our ideology is undergoing a comprehensive regress, including at educational institutions," Zhang said. "Recently, the Sichuan University's foreign languages institute removed most foreign literature and new media from its shelves. They kept only about 20 percent of it."
The letter denouncing Yin said she was guilty of five ideological "sins," including an "incorrect political position" and "harsh words and deeds."
It said she frequently attacked Marxism during her lectures, as well as former Chinese leaders, accusing her of spreading "Christian thought under the guise of Western literature."
Yin's behavior had had "considerable negative impact on the school's reputation," it said.
Chongqing scholar Zhang Qi said the backlash against Yin shows that the ruling Chinese Communist Party has to play the nationalist card to ensure enough public support for the regime.
"On the one hand, they raise high the flag of nationalism, and on the other, they use administrative measures to repress [dissent]," Zhang said. "The Yin Shanshan incident is further proof that China is further clamping down on freedom of expression."
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.