Local social media users have called for racism and deportation.
Monster Hunter, a fantasy action movie, disappeared from China Cinemas just days after its release.
The film, an adaptation of the popular role-playing video game of the same name, premiered in China on Friday, but has been embroiled in an online controversy following racially targeted conversations by local social media users.
In this scene, the character played by Asian-American rapper and actor Jin-Jung tells his teammate: “Look at my knees.”
“What kind of knees are these?” Asks the white male character.
“Chi-ness,” Jin said.
Criticism of the line went viral on Chinese social media over the weekend, with many calling it racism and some calling for a boycott.
China censors did not announce when the films were pulled but after the controversy the film disappeared from country ticket booking sites.
Entertainment news site Deadline.com said on Sunday that it had issued an apology for the German-made Konstantin film and dialogue line, which co-produced the film with Chinese tech giant Tencent and Sony Pictures.
“There is absolutely no intention to discriminate, insult or denigrate anyone of Chinese heritage,” the company said, according to the site, removing the line from the film.
‘Meaning of humiliation’
Many users of the Weibo platform, such as China’s popular Twitter, said they were offended by the symbolism of bringing someone to their knees by explicitly linking “Chinese”.
“These lines may not be a big deal to Westerners but in the Chinese context‘ knee ’has a derogatory meaning,” said one user.
China has the most restricted censorship in the world and the Communist Party’s Central Campaign approves only a few foreign films for release each year.
Accepted ones sometimes come to the fore with significant cuts.
Last year, multiple scenes in the film, including the bohemian Rhapsody and the legendary musician Freddie Mercury’s sexuality – a key part of his biography – were removed from its China release.