Industry insiders have disclosed some of the “hidden” rules that must be followed when censoring TV dramas and movies in China.
Taboo topics involving ghosts and home-wreckers are avoided in accordance to China’s film censorship system, a recent NetEase report has revealed. China’s administrative provisions on TV content restrict dramas from publicizing “heresy” or “superstition”, a policy that industries have long struggled with, as stories involving spirits and immortals are deeply embedded in Chinese myths.
Another rule forbids plot lines that threaten social morality, for example, people who break up marriages in TV shows must never be glorified and should always end up in misery.
TV shows with plots involving children born out of wedlock are not allowed, as China’s family planning policy looks down on the idea of illegitimate children. Young love and campus violence is also a big no-no, as such topics are believed to have an impact on the psychological health of minors, according to the report.
Most TV show censors are retired leaders from media organizations, as well as college teachers and staffers at television stations who earn 50 to 100 yuan for censoring one episode of a drama.
While TV inspection in China has become more and more tolerant as the years go on (oozing blood, kissing and bare midriff were once considered too risqué for Chinese audiences) a recent government-crack down on television content has even been extended even to children’s shows.
The popular cartoon show “Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf”, deemed too immoral for children, was recently hit by censors and the show’s animators had to comprehensively revise content to make it more tame for audiences.
China’s officials continue to stand up for the domestic television industry, despite the fact that Chinese viewers have turned to foreign films and shows (specifically Korean dramas) for entertainment—and understandably so *swoon*.