Corporate coercion and censorship are in vogue as yet another American company bends to the Chinese-communist government and their massive consumer market.
This time around, the purveyors of some of the world’s greatest comic book superheroes, DC Comics, are now in some serious heat over pulling a controversial Batman cover that had been adopted by the pro-Hong Kong youth movement.
The cover for DC Comic’s new Black Label series “Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child,” which shows Batman throwing a molotov cocktail with the caption “The future is young,” became a viral moment when pro-Hong Kong activists began to use the cover as a mechanism of pro-youth propaganda they way they had with the recent Trump/Rocky meme.
Within hours, the Batman cover went viral.
DC Comics pulled it before the Chinese government retaliated against Disney. Hong Kong protestors “memed” President Xi Jinping as Winnie the Pooh because of his resemblance to the cartoon bear.
DC Comics is a private entity and has the right to do whatever they want with their content. But censoring themselves isn’t always moral.
If anything, this shows that political and cultural moves by companies to seem relevant as they virtue signal only goes as far as they can before they potentially cut themselves off from billions of dollars in profit by being banned from massive consumer markets.
For DC, letting the protestors make claims about a comic book cover wasn’t worth making the Chinese government unhappy.
According to a piece discussing this situation in the Daily Wire, “Disney, video game company Blizzard, and DC’s comics rival Marvel have all come under fire for adjusting works of fiction to fit the tastes of Chinese censors. Regardless, the protests in Hong Kong have worn on, and now have the explicit support of the American government, a move that drove government officials to threaten American interests.”
Globalnews.ca also covered this situation and included a reminder of the dark realities for Hong Kong citizens and the controversial extradition law which, “…Would have given China the power to extradite Hong Kong citizens to the mainland, where the Chinese Communist Party has more power to punish people who criticize the government.”
While an uproar about a comic book cover may seem like a joke, what liberty advocates cannot neglect is that this is a flair amidst a firestorm of danger in the autonomous region under the thumb of communism.