By David Bandurski — In the latest effort to push a “clean up” the country’s cultural sector ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games, China’s censors aimed their lances today at films containing scenes of horror and supersition, citing the need to “protect the mental and physical well-being of minors.”


[ABOVE: Screenshot of coverage of of GAPP’s release on horror and the supernatural.]

In a notice released early this morning, regulators from China’s General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) said “rigorous checks” would be carried out on audio and video materials produced in 2006 and 2007. Anything dealing with “horror or the supernatural” (恐怖灵异类) and found to be in violation would be “pulled from shelves, sealed up, confiscated and handled according to relevant regulations.”
The notice, which spoke of a “resurgence” (回潮趋势) of horror and supersititon on the domestic market, added that production of such materials planned for 2008 release must be ceased immediately. [Reuters report via The Guardian].
In a commentary that topped’s list of editorials today, Tao Duanfang (陶短房) suggested GAPP’s net was far too wide.
While “the goal is to control and remove the negative effect this kind of material has on society”, Tao wrote, “it should be pointed out that the measure of a policy is not just its original intention but its operability (可操作性) and intelligibility (可理解性).”
Sure, we should think about the health of our children, wrote the author. But before the authorities rush in to enforce this notice, they should be clear about what exactly they mean.
After all, people are bound to ask, said Tao: “Can we still watch Harry Potter?”
[Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008, 1:45pm]

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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