In 1996, China was just beginning to flex its international muscle with control of foreign art and information. Disney had ambitions to tap the emerging Chinese market for cheap labor, theme parks, and even English language learning schools. And when the two collided, the result was Disney's total capitulation to Communist China's demands for the promise of access... and the beginning of decades of censorship in film and entertainment.
There are two stories in Kundun: one is the of the film itself, a sweeping, beautiful epic that tells the story of Tibet in the 1950's faithfully, including honesty about China's invasion and Mao's heavy-handed treatment of the Tibetan people. The other is of the business and politics that defined how Disney, one of the most powerful companies in the world, would enter the 21st century, and how China would exercise perpetual control over the global entertainment industry.