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1 July 2021

Independent Senator Rex Patrick is calling on Village Cinemas and Event Cinemas to reconsider screening the Chinese film “1921” which celebrates the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party.  

“While I strongly support free speech and freedom of expression in Australia, it is a reasonable question to ask whether Australian cinemas should be screening a Chinese Communist Party propaganda film,” Senator Patrick said.  

“No one should lose sight of what the Chinese Communist Party is – a brutal, one-party dictatorship that has no regard for human rights or democratic freedoms.”  

Village Cinemas promotion of “1921” says the film ‘reproduces the magnificent historical moment when the Chinese Communist Party convened the National Congress for the first time. Portraying thrilling spy warfare in a unique youthful style and depicting exciting historical events with an international perspective, this blockbuster triumphantly celebrates the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.’

Senator Patrick said: “I can’t see how Village Cinemas and Event Cinemas can reconcile their values as entertainment venues in a free society such as Australia with screening a film that puts a theatrical gloss on the formation of a totalitarian political party responsible for many millions of deaths and countless human rights violations.”

“Earlier today, Chinese Communist President Xi Jinping delivered a speech on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party in which he said anyone who opposes China’s interests and ambitions will "have their heads bashed... against a great wall of steel".

“Under President Xi we have seen a marked shift in China towards greater authoritarianism and the consolidation of a technocratic surveillance state.”

“The Chinese Communist regime has been engaged in genocidal oppression of the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.  Democratic institutions and freedom of speech in Hong Kong have been suppressed. Political dissenters are imprisoned. Australian citizens are held incommunicado in prison on trumped up espionage charges.”  

“In these circumstances it seems quite inappropriate that the film 1921, which enjoys support and sponsorship from the Chinese state, should be promoted by Australian cinemas.”  

“This is the equivalent of a Leni Riefenstahl Nazi propaganda film screening in 1939.”  

“I urge Village Cinemas and Event Cinemas to reconsider their decision to screen this Chinese Communist Party propaganda film.”  

“If the cinemas chains are not willing to boycott this film then Australians ought to consider doing it themselves out of respect for Uyghurs, Hong Kongers and Australians citizens held in arbitrary detention in China.”

Note: “1921” The film premiered in China on 1 July 2021, to commemorate the100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The film was produced by the Shanghai Film Group, Tencent Pictures, China Film Co. Ltd. and Huaxia Film Distribution. It is distributed in Australia by Magnum Films Pty Ltd. See