Cruz threatens to stop federal agencies from cooperating with Hollywood over China 'censorship'

Republican Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged Iranian sanction violations On The Money: Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections | 2M more Americans file new jobless claims, pushing total past 40M | White House to forgo summer economic forecast amid COVID-19, breaking precedent MORE (Texas) threatened to stop federal agencies from cooperating with Hollywood productions Thursday during a speech he made on the Senate floor.

The senator was introducing a new piece of legislation, the SCRIPT Act, that seeks to hamper the modification of American movies in China.

It is a common practice for major studios to make their films palatable to consumers in the Asian country. However, Cruz called the edits acts of censorship and compared them to foreign propaganda.

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The senator said he is “vigilant about the Chinese government’s attempts to censor and silence elsewhere, including our own nation.”

The bill would ban all federal agencies from participating in productions that "censor" or change American films for Chinese consumption. A previous version of the bill only prohibited participation by the Department of Defense.

Filmmakers rely on the government for the use of things like government logos, military bases, aircraft carriers and federal buildings to film content for TV and movies centered on topics like the armed forces and space exploration. 

The senator used the example of actor Tom Cruise’s character in the forthcoming sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.”

He noted the character’s jacket was missing Japanese and Taiwanese flags in promotional images and trailers, which he believes was done to please Chinese censors.

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“What message does it send that Maverick, an American icon, is apparently afraid of the Chinese communists?” Cruz said. “That’s ridiculous.”

The bill comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China, as President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE has blamed the country for the  spread of the coronavirus.

Trump's reelection campaign has also said it plans to make former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Liberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record MORE's (D) past relationship with China a central pressure point during the upcoming election.