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In the absence of a film ratings system, Chinese exhib Bonastar, part of the Bona Film Group, is planning to introduce its own classification to keep a lid on sex and violence.

“Scenes featuring sexual and violent content have been appearing in more movies and are not appropriate for children. Theaters should be responsible for their audiences,” the group said in a statement on Sina Weibo, China’s version of the banned Twitter, which was repeated by state media.

The move is surprising because only films suitable for all ages are released in China — and censors nix films or cut them to protect this concept.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and TV has frequently rejected calls to introduce film classifications.

But local industryites believe that if the censor’s scissors were replaced with a reliable ratings system, they could take more risks with content and story and produce more compelling films.

Bonastar marketing manager Jin Bo said its ratings system was aimed at improving the service at its theaters “to provide helpful viewing suggestions,” not to formulate a new standard.

The online statement was deleted several hours after being posted. Guo Xiaoping, head of the company’s market research center, told the People’s Daily this was done to “avoid arousing controversy, as many people misinterpreted our real intention.

“The film ratings will only be used in Bonastar theaters and are directed at films that have already been approved by public administrators.”

There has been broad support for the proposal, which is expected to be implemented by the end of February.

“Clothing comes in both adult and children’s styles, shouldn’t film be the same way?” helmer Li Yang told the Beijing Daily newspaper.