Netflix Remade A Classic Chinese Story With A Non-Chinese Cast

Photo: GEOFFREY SHORT.
Netflix is coming under fire again for whitewashing. After Marvel's Iron Fist faced criticism for its depiction of a white man learning martial arts and outdoing his Asian counterparts, Mashable reports that the streaming service's new series, Legend of the Monkey, stars absolutely no Chinese actors even though it's a retelling of a Chinese tale dating back to the 16th century.
In fact, Legend of the Monkey, based on the epic tale Journey to the West, is considered one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature. It's so popular that there's basically a remake of it every few years in China, whether it's a feature-length film or a TV series. It's no surprise, then, that Chinese viewers were not happy to see the tale without any representation.
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To say that there are no Asian actors is an exaggeration, however. While it's true that Legend of the Monkey doesn't have any Chinese actors, Mashable reports that Thai actor Chai Hansen is in the role of Monkey. Additionally, there are two Maori actors cast in lead roles. That didn't satisfy many fans.
Twitter lit up with angry responses. Users were not shy about calling out the production company's whitewashing.
Mashable reports that Chinese social media platform Weibo flooded with criticism as well.
"Please respect our traditional Chinese culture," a user posted.
"Can we take a show like Harry Potter and turn it into a Chinese series for revenge?" another suggested.
"I really hate it when foreigners do not understand Chinese culture...and tamper with it," one user wrote.
"I'm starting a Beijing version of Romeo and Juliet," a user added, showing just how important Journey to the West is to Chinese culture.
Add Legend of the Monkey to the long list of movies eschewing Asian actors. Earlier this year, The Great Wall faced criticism for casting Matt Damon in a lead role and Scarlett Johannson's remake of the anime classic Ghost in the Shell also came under fire.
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