American posters promoting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” prominently feature British actor John Boyega but his image is greatly reduced in the posters in mainland China.
Here’s the U.S. version and the Chinese version of the poster, for comparison:
Ray Kwong, senior advisor to the USC US-China Institute and a charter member of the Asian International Business Advisory Group, pointed out the disparity:
A Chinese official disputed racism was involved: “Since the poster is merely a promotion method and an individual case, it would be unfair to criticize Chinese audiences for discriminating against the black actor,” Chen Qiuping, head of the scriptwriter branch of the Beijing Film Association, told the Global Times.
Steven Dong, professor at the Communication University of China’s Academy of Media and Public Affairs, echoed that sentiment: “As a multi-ethnic country, there is no discrimination against black people in China. On the contrary, Chinese people and Africans have maintained a friendly relationship.”
Back in Los Angeles, TMZ nabbed a comment from Atlanta rapper-actor T.I. as he was walking through the airport.
“It’s always horrible when the black man is left out of the picture,” said T.I., who maintains offices in Shanghai for his clothing line. “Maybe it was a marketing decision due to international viability. I don’t know.”