Foreign cartoons will be banned from 5-9 p.m.

Chinese regulators are extending a crackdown on foreign products to include rugrat fare.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television is beefing up its campaign to protect domestic product by extending its primetime ban on foreign cartoons by an hour.

The country’s top media regulator also demands that local TV stations get the censor’s approval before showing cartoons.

Beginning May 1, foreign toons such as the hugely popular “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Japanese mangas will be banned from 5-9 p.m. on local channels, Sarft said in a ruling that extends a 2006 order that banned cartoons from 5-8 p.m.

Sarft has also increased the daily broadcast ratio to 7:3 for Chinese-made cartoons and foreign product, part of a campaign to “provide a favorable environment for the innovation of China’s cartoon industry.”

Previous restrictions on the denizens of Bikini Bottom and other foreign animated laffers had expanded the output of local content and continuously improved the quality of works, it said. The number of minutes of domestic toons grew 23% last year.

As well as following a tight quota system for foreign movies, China introduces regular blackout periods of foreign pics to help boost the domestic industry. Most of the titles are still available in pirate DVD shops, however.

Sarft also called for more funding from local broadcasters to buy local product.

Last week, China’s General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) called for a ban on ghosts and monsters, or any other skeins that were there “for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror,” although it said that hugely popular titles such as “Harry Potter” would not be included in this ban, following an online outpouring of grief.

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