China state media slams Sony's North Korea comedy film The Interview as 'arrogant'

A billboard for the film The Interview is displayed in Venice, California on Dec 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A billboard for the film The Interview is displayed in Venice, California on Dec 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese state media on Saturday slammed the irreverent movie at the centre of a cyber attack on a Hollywood studio as "senseless cultural arrogance", adding it was wrong for American filmmakers to mock North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the US, is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and US society," China's Global Times newspaper, which has links to the ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial. "Americans always believe they can jab at other countries' leaders just because they are free to criticise or make fun of their own state leaders.

"No matter how the US society looks at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Kim is still the leader of the country. The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance."

The editorial in the Global Times, which is owned by the official Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily, also called for the US to "show some good manners instead of being too aggressive".

The comments came as the United States warned North Korea would face retaliation for the hacking of Sony Pictures over a movie that infuriated Pyongyang, which counts China as its key ally. The film, The Interview, is a madcap comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate Mr Kim.

Sony has cancelled the release in the face of chilling threats from anonymous hackers, said to be linked to North Korea, who invoked the 9/11 attacks in threatening cinemas screening the film.

China has for decades been North Korea's closest ally and biggest trading partner, though ties have been strained in recent years by Pyongyang's continuation of nuclear tests.

Beijing on Friday criticised a call by the United Nations for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record, including a massive system of labour camps.

China has become a key export market for Hollywood films, leading to accusations that US studios avoid themes that could be seen as critical of the country's authoritarian political system.

The Global Times added: "Now that the Chinese market has become a gold mine for US movies, Hollywood has begun to show an increasingly friendly face, just in order to attract more Chinese viewers."