HONG KONG – A cinema in Urumqi, in China’s Xinjiang Province, has taken it on itself to issue age restrictions for the movies it plays.
The six screen complex, part of state-owned China Film Group’s nationwide circuit, recently issued a ‘PG-13’ advisory to Chinese horror-thriller “The House That Never Dies” (pictured) and the Canadian action movie “Brick Mansions.” Others are given a “G” rating for general audiences.
The cinema’s executive manager Yao Lin was quoted by Chinese media as saying that he has no film classification experience and is not working to defined guidelines. Rather his decisions are subjective.
China has no nationwide classification or rating system, and instead all films that are granted a release certificate are officially deemed as suitable for all audiences. Despite years of lobbying by some producers and distributors, regulators have not budged on the issue.
The Urumqi cinema is not alone. Two Golden Palm cinemas in Ili have apparently also begun their own advisory system, as has the Fenghe Studios cinema in Guangzhou. Two years ago, major distributor Bona Film Group said that it would similarly specify appropriate age classifications.
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Yao argues that he is merely enforcing the law concerning protection of minors, which makes it illegal to show them pornography, violence or extreme terror.
He said that in summer months when children are on holiday from school, youngsters often left at the cinema by their parents. Initially, some were surprised that the cinema turned some of them away, but Yao says that parents had quickly accepted his actions.