American companies are being tested. They are being forced to choose between American freedoms and free enterprise and China’s repressive dictatorship.
This choice has been forced on them by globalism, which they wanted, in order to open up China’s massive market so they could make more money. In real-time we’re seeing the question asked and answered: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?”
Kodak is just the latest to face this choice, and like most if not all American companies that have faced it to date, Kodak made what history will record was the wrong choice. If freedom wins out over authoritarianism, anyway.
Kodak bowed to the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party and removed a post from their Instagram page. The photo, by Patrick Wack, showed the Xinjiang region of China, which is the primary home of the Uyghur population, who reportedly suffer untold atrocities under CCP tyranny.
In removing the image on Monday, Kodak said “Kodak’s Instagram page is intended to enable creativity by providing a platform for promoting the medium of film. It is not intended to be a platform for political commentary.”
Kodak helpfully added that it will “keep itself in check.” No need to police us, Kodak tells China’s dictatorship, we will police ourselves.
The Chinese government proceeded to issue threats through its Global Times anyway.
Censorship tends to backfire, though, which the ChiComs have yet to learn. If they had not pushed and Kodak had not censored itself and its photographer, most of the world would never have heard of Patrick Wack and we wouldn’t be posting this from his Instagram feed.
The monograph DUST gathers four years of work by French documentary photographer Patrick Wack shot in the areas of Central Asia known as East Turkistan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current Chinese administration.
In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia.
In 2016 and 2017, Wack spent more than two months in Xinjiang photographing Out West, his first long-term project about the region. He decided to return in 2018, upon reading reports of the mass arbitrary detention system being set up there. In 2019, he travelled to Xinjiang on two separate occasions for another project, The Night Is Thick. This second reportage aimed at documenting life under acute repression among the Uyghur minority alongside the disturbing simultaneous increase of Han-Chinese tourism in the region.
China’s paranoid repression just helped Wack sell some books that visually document China’s repression. Kodak should be ashamed for not backing him, and for selling its own soul.