China issues new broadcast rules

Watchdog bans games remakes, shuns 'low taste'

BEIJING — China’s broadcasting watchdog has introduced a raft of new guidelines for pubcasters which ban remakes and adaptations from online games, and cut back on humor and family spats in TV skeins.

Biz figures felt the guidelines were not clear enough — a common complaint about censorship issues in China.

There is a censorious atmosphere in China at the moment ahead of a leadership transition in the Fall, which will see Xi Jinping take over as head of state from President Hu Jintao.

The six guidelines issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) also require less violence, organized crime and “low taste,” and that skeins dealing with the Communist Revolution “clearly distinguish between friend and foe,” local media reported.

Serials adapted from online novels are also “not encouraged.”

Foreign skeins are not allowed at peak viewing times between 7 pm and

10 pm, and cannot account for more than 25% of daily schedules. No foreign TV shows with over 50 episodes are allowed — which could hit Korean historical dramas.

An anonymous official from the administration confirmed the information to the Beijing News, saying the new guidelines became effective a few days ago.

The news has prompted outraged reactions on Weibo, the Chinese version of the banned Twitter, with nearly a million postings on the new guidelines.

“There are no good Chinese movie performances, and so many regulations for TV that Chinese audiences can only watch advertisements,” quipped one, while another said:

“This is why I don’t watch TV. SARFT are like aged parent; it likes to use its power but it harms human rights.”

Scriptwriter Lin Lisheng wrote on Weibo that he was worried he might lose his job.

Culture critic Tan Fei was quoted in the China Daily saying that the guidelines will prevent scriptwriters from fully applying their talent and creativity and pose a major challenge to the TV industry’s “core values” as favorite subjects and major sources of inspiration will be wiped out.

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