BEIJING — China’s top industry regulator, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that an ongoing debate about a film classification system must end now and that China had no plans to introduce such a system as it was “inappropriate.”
“We did a lot of investigation and research in both the overseas and domestic market, but decided that the movie classification system is not appropriate for the Chinese movie market currently,” said Zhao Shi, vice minister of SARFT.
“China is developing its own way to maintain the management of the movie market in a legal, scientific and effective way, and this ‘own way’ would be more suitable for China’s domestic conditions and the reform of China’s movie business,” she said.
Many in the film business had hoped that a film classification system would be introduced as it would bypass the need for censorship.
As it stands in China, either everyone gets to see a movie — from toddler to teen to pensioner — or no one does. In the absence of a film classification system, there is no middle ground, and filmmakers in China believe that if the censor’s scissors were replaced with a reliable ratings system, helmers and producers could take more risks with content and story.
The censorship process also takes a long time, meaning there can often be a hiatus between a pic’s international bow and its Chinese preem, giving pirates ample time to flood the market with good DVD copies of the movie for impatient filmgoers.