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Issue 04, 2008 (01 April)
 Industrial Policy

SARFT Reiterates Film Censor Criteria

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has issued a circular reiterating its criteria for censoring films to the radio, film and television departments in all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government, and to all film production houses, China Film Co-Production Corporation, and movie channel programme centres in an effort to tighten the management of film production, censorship and public release.

According to the circular, in order to give priority to protecting the healthy development of minors and social welfare; further encourage creativity, tighten control, and purify screen entertainment; provide healthy and rich nourishment for the mind; and build a more harmonious and "green" film environment, SARFT has decided to reiterate the provisions in the Regulations on the Administration of Films and Provisions on the Filing of Film Scripts (Abstracts) and Administration of Films, calling on all departments and all units to strictly enforce regulations regarding film production, censorship and public release.

  1. The state calls for efforts to produce good movies that are creative, artistic, entertaining, and close to reality, life and people, which can protect the healthy development of minors. Action will be taken to develop advanced culture, support healthy and constructive culture, transform backward culture, and eliminate corrupt culture.

  2. Films may not contain content which:
    (1) Violates the basic principles of the Constitution;
    (2) Threatens the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state;
    (3) Divulges state secrets, threatens national security, harms the reputation and interests of the state;
    (4) Instigates national hatred and discrimination, undermines the harmony among ethnic groups, or harms ethnic customs and practices;
    (5) Violates state policies on religion, and propagates cult religion or superstition;
    (6) Disrupts social order or social stability;
    (7) Propagates obscenity, gambling, violence, or abets criminal activities;
    (8) Insults or defames others, or infringes upon others' legitimate rights and interests;
    (9) Corrupts social morality, or defames the superiority of national culture;
    (10) Other contents prohibited by state laws and regulations.

  3. Films containing any of the following content must be cut or altered:
    (1)  Distorting Chinese civilization and history, seriously departing from historical truth; distorting the history of other countries, disrespecting other civilizations and customs; disparaging the image of revolutionary leaders, heroes and important historical figures; tampering with Chinese or foreign classics and distorting the image of the important figures portrayed therein;
    (2)  Disparaging the image of the people's army, armed police, public security organ or judiciary;
    (3)  Showing obscene and vulgar content, exposing scenes of promiscuity, rape, prostitution, sexual acts, perversion, homosexuality, masturbation and private body parts including the male or female genitalia; containing dirty and vulgar dialogues, songs, background music and sound effects;
    (4)  Showing contents of murder, violence, terror, ghosts and the supernatural; distorting value judgment between truth and lies, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, righteous and unrighteous; showing deliberate expressions of remorselessness in committing crimes; showing specific details of criminal behaviours; exposing special investigation methods; showing content which evokes excitement from murder, bloodiness, violence, drug abuse and gambling; showing scenes of mistreating prisoners, torturing criminals or suspects; containing excessively horror scenes, dialogues, background music and sound effects;
    (5)  Propagating passive or negative outlook on life, world view and value system; deliberately exaggerating the ignorance of ethnic groups or the dark side of society;
    (6)  Advertising religious extremism, stirring up ambivalence and conflicts between different religions or sects, and between believers and non-believers, causing disharmony in the community;
    (7)  Advocating harm to the ecological environment, animal cruelty, killing or consuming nationally protected animals;
    (8)   Showing excessive drinking, smoking and other bad habits;
    (9)  Opposing the spirit of law.

  4. The spoken and written language used for the film title and subtitles should comply with the regulations set forth in China's Copyright Law and Law on Standard Spoken and Written Language.

  5. The technical quality of films should be censored according to relevant national standards.