China plans ban on 'harmful' movies
Published 15/12/2011 | 04:52
China is proposing to ban several types of movie content, including that which it says disturbs social stability and promotes religious fanaticism.
The draft law is the authoritarian government's latest attempt to tighten control over what people see.
It says films must not harm national honour and interest, incite ethnic hatred, spread superstition or propagate obscenity, violence or terror.
A total of 13 types of content are banned in the draft law posted on the website of China's cabinet. No terms or phrases are defined.
The proposal is part of an overall tightening of cultural industries that are fuelling more independent viewpoints, particularly social media and hugely popular microblogs where citizens often vent anger and frustration.
China announced last month that it was issuing orders to prohibit news media from reporting information taken from the internet or mobile phones without first-hand verification, with serious infractions possibly leading to criminal charges.
A media regulator said those rules were needed to restore government prestige and media credibility following a spate of reports based on "false information" - often a euphemism for reports the government would rather suppress.
In October, a major Communist Party meeting asserted the need to strengthen social morality and boost China's cultural influence abroad - a recognition by the party that it is losing its power to dictate public opinion. A week later, the government said it planned to limit reality TV shows and other light entertainment fare shown on satellite television stations.
The new draft law also bans content that harms national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, discloses state secrets and endangers national security, or jeopardises social ethics. It does not specify penalties for non-compliance, and it is unclear when the draft - which is open to public consultation - may become law.
The draft as a whole covers a wide range of aspects, including banning cinemas from showing advertisements after the film's scheduled start time, supporting the development of the film industry in rural areas, and banning people from carrying explosives or radioactive items into cinemas.