New regulations are in the pipeline to regulate video content on the Internet in the wake of a surge in short satirical films online, according to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
Video spoofs have become so popular that netizens have even coined a slang term, "egao," to describe the act of using real film clips to create mocking send-ups.
From late August or September, only authorized websites such as sina.com, sohu.com and netease.com, will be allowed to show short films under the new regulations, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing an announcement by the administration.
A recent example of the trend, it said, was a 10-minute satire of a 1974 film called "Sparkling Red Star" which was remade with original clips to tell the story of an aspiring pop star competing in a television singing contest. The original film chronicles the struggles of a brave child soldier, Pan Dongzi, in revolutionary-era China.
The parody also turns the evil landowner who brutally exploited tenants into a silly judge taking bribes, and changes Pan's father from a Red Army soldier into a Beijing real estate tycoon.
The video attracted millions of hits.
Xinhua said the "Sparkling Red Star" satire was widely criticized, with some commentators saying that such a distortion of the country's revolutionary history was "immoral and unacceptable."
Among other recent spoofs was a 20-minute short film titled "The Bloody Case of the Steamed Bun," using clips from director Chen Kaige's elaborate costume drama "The Promise."
Prankster Hu Ge unexpectedly reaped fame after posting his parody of "The Promise" online earlier this year. Chen threatened to sue.
Hu was quoted by the Beijing News as saying on Tuesday that "the new rule has nothing to do with me. I will not broadcast my films on the Internet. Instead, I will send them peer-to-peer or through MSN."
Internet reactions were mixed: a netizen called Geshoumojie wrote on his blog that such a rule is unnecessary.
"If this regulation is released, where should netizens share their creations? Will the public still have the right to self-entertainment?" he said.
But the new rule also had some supporters. "Some producers of these clips may think it is great fun but they do not realize the clips damage the core values of our society," said Guo Songmin in an article published by China Youth Daily.
Source: China Daily