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Foreign films banned in Beijing this summer
The Epoch Times
6/19/2004



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The Chinese Central Broadcasting Bureau announced new austerity measures last week in the name of protecting the “continued spiritual and physical development of teenagers.” The new measures require that there be no Western ideology or culture in its television programs and any attempts by hosts to imitate the language or dress of hosts in Hong Kong or Taiwan is prohibited. Another announcement issued on Wednesday stated that starting July 1, foreign films will be banned from Chinese theaters.

Mr. Zhou Tiedong, the director of the Chinese Film Society, also responsible for importing and exporting o films, told the media that, “The news that foreign films will be banned starting July 1 has reached the national media.” He said, “This time period is exactly when students are on their summer break, so it’s the best time to play movies.” Whether or not the government will rescind the ban after October 1 is not certain.

The director of Huaxia, another large movie distribution firm, said that he had already received the directive from the Bureau.

An unnamed government official from the Film Administration Bureau stated that companies have already been notified that starting in July they will only be allowed to show domestic films. This will probably result in increased ticket sales of Zhang Yimo’s upcoming film, “House of Flying Daggers.”

The domestic film industry in China is experiencing severe strain from the availability of inexpensive, pirated films. In addition, ever since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, imported films have taken over a number of the previous markets for domestic films.

There are two reasons for the Chinese government ban on the importation of foreign films. First, the ban will protect the domestic film market. As a result, the ban has gained much support from Chinese movie production companies. Secondly, it will prevent any freethinking from threatening the “single-party state” policy in China, which has gained the backing of some government officials. This type of mutually profitable protection, between the commercial and governmental sectors, is a phenomenon unique to China’s economic development. In reality, the only people harmed by this arrangement are average consumers.

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