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From Fu Manchu to Kung Fu PandaImages of China in American Film$
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Naomi Greene

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838355

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838355.001.0001

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The World Splits in Two

The World Splits in Two

(p.151) Chapter 5 The World Splits in Two
From Fu Manchu to Kung Fu Panda

Naomi Greene

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines American films of the 1990s containing intensely negative images of China. Films of the 1990s came after a period of détente between America and China. In the decades following U.S. President Richard Nixon’s 1972 meeting with Chinese leader Mao Zedong, Americans were full of admiration for the achievements and seeming social harmony of modern China. However, the friendship and goodwill between the two countries would soon be followed by another dramatic swing of the pendulum, sparked by the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. This chapter considers how the events at Tiananmen Square not only ended America’s “infatuation” with China but also ushered in a period marked by rising tensions between them. It illustrates the renewed animosity between America and China by looking at films such as Little Buddha, Red Corner, Seven Years in Tibet, and Kundun. It shows how myth and history intersect in American cinema with regards to China and Chinese.

Keywords:   tension, animosity, American films, China, America, Tiananmen Square massacre, Little Buddha, Red Corner, Seven Years in Tibet, Kundun

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