Kodak bowed to China by removing an Instagram post containing photos of a French photographer who called the Xinjiang region – where Beijing is accused of human rights abuses – an “Orwellian dystopia”.
The US photo firm apologized this week for sharing the work of photographer Patrick Wack following outrage online from its Chinese supporters.
Wack, who has lived in China for over a decade, was promoting his new book which features a series of photos – all taken on Kodak film – of the northwest region of China between 2016-2019.
Kodak shared 10 of Wack’s images on Instagram last week, as well as a post written by the photographer in which he described the work as a “visual account of the region and testified to his precipitous descent into an Orwellian dystopia.”
The post, which is still available on Wack’s own Instagram, was deleted by Kodak this week following backlash from Chinese supporters.
Kodak shared 10 of French photographer Patrick Wack’s images on Instagram last week to promote his new book. His book presents photos taken on Kodak film of the Chinese region of Xinjiang. Kodak also shared an article written by Wack, which he also shared on his own page, which described the region as “an Orwellian dystopia”
The US government has accused China of committing “genocide” and major human rights violations in Xinjiang against the Muslim Uyghur community.
Kodak has apologized on Instagram, saying the views expressed by Wack were not “endorsed” by Kodak.
“Kodak’s Instagram page is intended to foster creativity by providing a platform for promoting film media. It is not intended to be a platform for political commentary, ”the statement said.
The post, which is still available on Wack’s own Instagram, was deleted by Kodak this week following backlash from Chinese supporters. Wack has lived in China for over a decade
“The views expressed by Mr. Wack do not represent those of Kodak and are not endorsed by Kodak. We apologize for any misunderstanding or offense the posting may have caused. ‘
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Kodak also released a statement posted on the Chinese social network WeChat which allegedly said the US company “will respect the Chinese government and Chinese laws.”
“For a long time, Kodak maintained good relations with the Chinese government and cooperated closely with various government departments. We will continue to respect the Chinese government and Chinese law, ”the statement said.
“We will control and correct ourselves, taking this as an example of the need for caution. ”
In that statement, Kodak blamed “management loopholes” for the post.
DailyMail.com has contacted Kodak regarding the statement shared on WeChat.
Wack, the 42-year-old photographer, told the New York Times that Kodak’s decision was remarkable given that the photography is used to capture political events.
“So for them, one of the main historical players in photography, to say that they don’t want to be political is what upsets so many people,” Wack said.
Kodak apologized on Instagram, claiming views expressed by Wack were not “endorsed” by Kodak
A number of people on social media were quick to accuse Kodak of going down to the Chinese government for deleting the post.
Others called American society “a shame” and said “China owns us”.
Just last week, the US Senate passed a law banning products imported from Xinjiang – the latest move to pressure Beijing against what Washington considers major human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur community.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law, which authorized the upper house by unanimous consent a week ago, aims to ban the importation of products made by forced labor, which are said to be used in the region.
“The message to Beijing and to any international business that profits from forced labor in Xinjiang is clear: nothing,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement.
“We will not turn a blind eye to the ongoing crimes against humanity of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and we will not allow companies to profit from these horrific abuses. ”
Human rights groups believe at least a million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities have been held in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and having imposed forced labor.
The United States has already taken action against China over Xinjiang, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Washington earlier this month with survivors of those camps.
Washington recently banned imports of solar panel materials from one Chinese company and imposed trade restrictions on four others for the alleged use of forced labor in the region.
The new US law provides for the issuance of guidance to importers regarding “effective supply chain tracing” and other due diligence measures.
It also directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies to develop plans to prevent such imports and to identify facilities, businesses, or individuals involved in forced or involuntary labor.
Kodak isn’t the only American, or American, company to bow to China in recent years.
John Cena has been criticized as “pathetic” and “without flabbiness” for crawling to China in Mandarin, claiming that he “really, really loves China and the Chinese people”, after enraging them by referring to Taiwan as a country in May.
Cena found himself at the center of a controversy when, in an interview on Taiwanese channel TVBS on May 8, he said in Mandarin: “Taiwan is the first country to be able to watch F9”. [his new Fast & Furious movie].
Chinese fans and the government after seeing his video were furious that after years of worship Cena had not identified Taiwan as part of China.
Cena, sensing the heat of criticism from Chinese fans, recorded an apology video which he posted on Weibo, where he has 600,000 subscribers.
NBA apologized in late 2019 after China banned the broadcast of preseason games after
The Houston Rockets general manager posted a pro Hong Kong tweet during the ongoing unrest.
As a result of this backlash, Nike then withdrew the Houston Rockets merchandise from its online store in China. The NBA team is popular in China as Chinese player Yao Ming was drafted in 2002.
Tiffany & Co. removed an ad in 2019 that showed Chinese model Sun Feifei covering one eye after Chinese consumers accused the jeweler of supporting protesters in Hong Kong.
Angry Chinese shoppers felt it was a deliberate echo of the pose adopted by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong to denounce police violence in the semi-autonomous city after protesters were beaten in the eye.