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China Censorship Expansion Unlikely to Deter Hollywood

China Censorship Expansion Unlikely to Deter Hollywood

China is flexing its censorship muscles anew.

The tightly restricted country already has say over not only the number of movies shown in Chinese theaters but the content of the films in question.

Now, Chinese broadcasting officials say their gimlet eye will turn to U.S. based shows streaming into their country, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Luo Jianhui, director of the online video unit of China’s broadcasting regulator, said online censorship rules would bring the Internet in line with over-the-air media, which bans everything from nudity to depictions of extramarital affairs … Among the things banned under the new rules are scenes of one-night stands, extramarital affairs, partner-swapping, flirtation, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion and masturbation.

Hollywood, salivating over the revenue potential China’s marketplace represents, has shown little trepidation in following the country’s draconian rules. The industry is unlikely to meet the new censorship rules with anything but a shrug.

In recent years, U.S. filmmakers have been willing and able to tweak their content to appease Chinese audiences … and censors. That means more than blockbuster productions like Iron Man 3 and Transformers: Age of Extinction adding Chinese characters and themes to appeal to the blossoming foreign market. It also finds major filmmakers making major changes to their work.

Take Quentin Tarantino, arguably the film industry’s most notable director. He personally cut critical scenes from Django Unchained in order for it to play in Chinese movie theaters.

Yet Hollywood doesn’t always agree to minor nips and tucks. Actor Colin Firth and several film reporters and critics howled when The Weinstein Company trimmed a few obscenities from the R-rated The King’s Speech for a brief run as a PG:13 feature.

The film industry also seems reticent to tinker with its product in order to placate faith-based audiences. The 2014 film Noah featured plenty of Biblical story twists that upset people of faith, but the film hit theaters with them intact.

More recently, we learned that Exodus: Gods and Kings features a child playing God. That casting decision angered some faith-based audiences, the kind that in theory should be eagerly awaiting the film’s Dec. 12 release


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