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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 Darkening Mirror

(p.214) Afterword
From Fu Manchu to Kung Fu Panda

Naomi Greene

University of Hawai'i Press

This afterword discusses the persistence of Chinese stereotypes in American cinema. It argues that China has been transformed into a site of pure spectacle, replaced with a cuddly panda in Kung Fu Panda or a diminutive creature like the pint-size Mushu in Mulan. While figures like Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan have disappeared from American films, the schizophrenic images of China they embody are still alive and well. The suspicion and fear of otherness that run throughout films such as Broken Blossoms and Shadows have prompted harsh immigration laws and eruptions of populist nativism. The impulses at the heart of cold war films have assumed a new resonance, and paranoia seems to have engendered surreal confusions once again. This afterword concludes with the hope that one day China will be seen as a country like any other—that is, without the distortions imposed both by the weight of ancient images and by America’s own fears and apprehensions.

Keywords:   Chinese stereotypes, American cinema, China, Kung Fu Panda, Mulan, American films, Chinese otherness, populist nativism, paranoia

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