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China to merge SARFT with press watchdog GAPP

Move may help Hollywood by reducing red tape

BEIJING — Hollywood may soon have less red tape to negotiate in China: The powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the General Administration of Press and Publication will be merged to streamline the censorship process, among other things.

Anyone who wants to make or distribute movies or TV programs in China has to go through SARFT, so the move to form a “super broadcast and press ministry” could have an impact for the biz in China, and for overseas shingles seeking to break into the booming market.

While the merger seeks to streamline processes, particularly licensing, it is unlikely to mean any immediate liberalization or deregulation in the sector.

Plans to cut the number of ministries to 25 from 27 were formulated by the State Council, China’s cabinet, and presented to China’s annual rubberstamp legislature, the National People’s Congress, currently meeting in Beijing.

Councillor Ma Kai announced SARFT’s merger with print media watchdog GAPP, which also oversees National Copyright Administration.

The reforms are aimed at coordinating the resources of each sector as China moves to boost its global cultural influence.

The State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform said the merger will also help create a modern communication system, which is being rapidly shaped by digital information technology.

The reshuffle reflects the aims laid out so far during the Congress by China’s new leadership of trimming red tape and doing more to improve the quality of life for China’s increasingly prosperous society.

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