TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese netizens are criticizing the breakout star of the latest Marvel film for an interview in which he described deaths from starvation under communist rule.
Simu Liu (劉思慕), a Canadian-Chinese actor first known for his role in "Kim's Convenience," is rising to fame for playing the titular Xu Shang-Chi in the new Marvel blockbuster "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censors have refused to approve the film for China's market amid controversy over the now-defunct Fu Manchu character and a "stereotyped" view of Chinese people.
On Wednesday (Sept. 8), the Weibo account of the Chinese nationalist organization Diba (帝吧) posted screenshots from a CBC interview of the actor from its series "What's Your Story" released on March 3, 2017. In the selected screenshots, Liu said that when he was young, his parents used to tell him stories about growing up under communism in China.
He described the country at the time as being a part of the "third world" and that there were "people dying of starvation." Liu said his parents felt their wish to immigrate to Canada was just a "pipe dream."
He said that Canada was a place where his parents envisioned a "free life." In a slide showing Liu as a child in the cockpit of an aircraft, he spoke of how his parents "finally achieved that dream and came here."
The author of the Weibo post wrote that the 32-year-old actor was five years old when he immigrated from Harbin in Heilongjiang Province to Canada with his parents and that he now "considers himself completely "Canadian." This swiftly triggered over 1,600 angry comments from Chinese netizens:
"So how does he get off playing a Chinese."
"How did his parents go to Canada 27 years ago, working illegally washing dishes?"
"Just looking at his face brings you bad luck."
However, others were less offended:
"Once people obtain foreign citizenship, they're foreigners. Don't make a big fuss over an overseas Chinese."
"His parents grew up in such an era. I don't see any reactionary remarks."
The original interview has been inexplicably deleted from CBC's website. Archived versions including the video appear up until November 2020.
Archived view of page including video interview. (web.archive.org screenshot)