This is not to say that Hollywood’s movie studios have been involved in wrongdoing. But my China sources are telling me that ongoing local corruption probes involving the Bo Xilai scandal may reach into the local movie biz. “There’s this anti-corruption drive that will filter through to all sectors. Government people are worried people will check how they link into his database. Anybody could turn up there,” one of my sources warns. “Everybody in China is very nervous. Will there be purging?” This may be what’s behind today’s Reuters news that the SEC has sent letters of inquiry to at least 3 Hollywood movie studios regarding their dealings with Chinese officials. I’ve been hearing in the last week from movie biz sources familiar with China that “there’s a whole lotta stuff going on” and “something’s gonna go down” with regard to the current scandal involving top former Chinese politician Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai. Gu Kailai is currently under investigation for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, and her husband was suspended from his post at the Politburo in early April on suspicion of serious disciplinary infractions. As The New York Times reported, “Not since the purges after the crackdown on democracy protests in 1989 has the Chinese leadership been exposed to so much turmoil.” Until today’s SEC news, the Bo scandal seemed unrelated to Hollywood. China’s hot for box office. But is it too hot for movie business now?
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