“Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao made history on Sunday by becoming the first woman of color and first Chinese woman to win the Oscar for best director. Official media, major search engines and internet censors in her home country are making as if it didn’t happen.
Ms. Zhao’s win, just the second time a woman has walked away with best director, unleashed a flurry of congratulatory messages on Chinese social-media sites when it was announced Monday morning Beijing time. By midafternoon, nearly all of the posts had been erased.
Searches for her name on Baidu and Sogou , the country’s dominant search engines, produced numerous links to news of her previous accolades but only scattered links to deleted articles about the Academy Award honor.
State broadcaster China Central Television, the official Xinhua News Agency, and Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily stayed silent on the award throughout the day. Two state media reporters told The Wall Street Journal that they had received orders from China’s propaganda ministry not to report on Ms. Zhao’s victory, despite what they described as her status as a Chinese national, because of “previous public opinion.”
Earlier this year, Ms. Zhao was pilloried online in China for critical comments she made about the country in a 2013 magazine interview.