In order to “promote the prosperity and development of the film industry and to enrich the cultural life of the people” last week the State Council of Legislative Affairs drafted a series of new restrictions on film in China. The new legislation will increase the amount of film content banned in China, as well as provide some new laws to rein in sketchy box office practices.
A list of 10 banned subjects in film was passed back in 2002, and will be increased to 13 under the new bill. The three new things you can’t show in movies are as follows:
- Incite resistance to or undermining of the Constitution, laws, and administrative regulations. (煽动抗拒或者破坏宪法、法律、行政法规实施)
- Promote religious fanaticism, endanger religious harmony, hurt the “religious feelings” of believers, or undermine the civic solidarity between religious and non-religious people. (宣扬宗教狂热，危害宗教和睦，伤害信教公民宗教感情，破坏信教公民和不信教公民团结)
- Promote drug use, “play up” horror, teach techniques for committing a crime, or in any way infringe on the rights of minors or harm their physical and mental health. (宣传吸毒，渲染恐怖；传授犯罪方法；侵害未成年人合法权益或者损害未成年人身心健康等)
It seems their ban count gets some kind of buy-three-get-three-free because that last one sounds a lot more like four different regulations than just one.
The subjects are certainly vague enough. Can’t imagine what “playing up horror” means (“rendering terror” is another fun translation of the same term). As far as religion goes, authorities probably figure they’re already doing plenty to hurt the religious feelings of believers.
China has no film rating system, and chooses instead to implement restrictions like these on all films across the board. It’s all part of an annoying mentality that wont allow Chinese viewers to choose for themselves what they should watch.
What with the exploding film industry and growing popularity of foreign blockbusters in China (as well as the possibly raising of China’s foreign movie quota), it sucks to think how these regulations could affect foreign film. James Cameron and Michael Bay are undoubtedly taking notes.
On a brighter note, the draft also includes a law against doctoring tickets to rig box office returns, something we saw wreak havoc on ticket sales for a certain movie about a certain Communist party last summer.
Even better, they’re making it illegal for cinemas to screen ads in the theater after the showtime printed on the ticket. Violators can be fined anywhere from 10,000 to 200,000RMB for infractions!
Also included in the legislation are some interesting new laws to promote the development of film in rural areas (“every village should show at least one movie per month”), encourage student film (“film making courses should be a compulsory part of education curriculums, and two screenings of beneficial films per semester will help promote healthy development”), and ticket discounts for minors and low income groups.
If you’re curious, here are the 10 banned subjects that are have already been in the regulations for ten years:
1) Undermine the basic principles of the Constitution
2) Harm national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity
3) Disclose state secrets, endanger state security, or harm national honor or interests
4) Incite ethnic hatred or discrimination, undermine national unity or national customs and habits
5) Promote cults or superstition
6) Disrupt social order or undermine social stability
7) Promote obscenity, gambling, violence, or instigate crime
8) Insult or slander others, or infringe on someone’s legitimate rights or interests
9) Jeopardize social morals or national cultural traditions
10) Any content banned by legal, state or administrative regulations