|House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey – it is rumored that the US TV series is to be banned on streaming websites under China's new censorship regulations. (File photo)|
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) has started to crack down on online TV shows by introducing a policy of "censor first, broadcast later" for local Internet companies.
Some media are interpreting the new rules as a ban on overseas TV shows, but this is a misinterpretation. In fact, the censorship licensing framework is believed to be aimed at strengthening censorship of audio-visual content of original network shows and micro-films.
"The foreign media’s interpretation of the measures has misled Chinese fans - the vast majority of U.S TV series were already censored through formal processes before aired," according to an industry source.
Network drama emerged in China just a few years ago. However, right from its inception the medium has struggled to free itself from the bonds of keeping the viewers interested through a combination of sex, violence, and vulgarity as selling points.
The new regulations have gained support from many netizens. A web user named "Mr. Loser" posted: "I am all for the regulation of micro-films. Microfilms are driving the threshold of film-making lower and lower." A web user named "Cat lover" posted: "The recent so-called original works are porn in the name of micro-films."
Many netizens have called for a film classification system in China. In dealing with scenes that are unsuitable for children, whether in overseas TV series or in domestic network shows, a rating mechanism is more acceptable than simply cutting them out.
A web user called "Meidan" said: "Film censorship is carried out by many countries and it is strict in the U.S and some European countries. But they also have a film classification system. Without movie ratings, the pressure will increase on Chinese screenwriters."