China streamlines censorship process

Move aims to accelerate China-made TV animation production

BEIJING — In its latest effort to boost local production of Mandarin-language cartoons, censors will significantly speed up the censorship process for Chinese animated shows.

Currently, Chinese regulators meet to approve animated skeins twice a year, in January and July. Starting in August, animators will be able to submit their shows for censorship in the first five days of each month, according to new regulations from the all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film & Television.

“The move is aimed at improving the administration of the TV animation production and accelerating the development of China-made TV animation production,” Sarft official Ge Chen told the Xinhua news agency.

China’s national and provincial children’s channels are struggling to track down toon content to meet growing demand.

The makers must submit a proposal with details of plot, characters and theme to Sarft; successful applications will be listed on the regulator’s Web site.

A faster approval process does not signal an easing of censorship rules, Ge said. It simply means producers will know earlier on whether their proposal’s “political and commercial factors” make the grade.

China’s censors are particularly tough on toons involving ghosts or fantasy elements: “Babe” was banned on the basis that animals can’t talk and some viewers would be confused. In February, Sarft imposed a ban on shows and films featuring human thesps with animated companions.

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