China Brings All Filmmaking Under Control of Communist Party ‘Publicity Department’

WEIFANG, SHANDONG PROVINCE, CHINA - 2016/08/30: Customers buy film ticket in a Wanda IMAX cinema. Wanda Cinema Line, Chinas biggest movie-theater operator, is expanding cooperation with U.S. company MediaMation and South Koreas CJ4D Plex to build over 100 new 4D cinemas in China. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has announced that all filmmaking regulation will be brought under the jurisdiction of the party’s “Publicity Department,” in a move that could further tighten China’s restrictions on free artistic expression.

State media outlet Xinhua reports that the government has launched “three new state administrators in the ideological sector” in a ceremony attended by senior CPC official Huang Kunming.

“Their functions used to fall under the one administration of the State Council. The new film and press administrations will now be governed by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee headed by Huang,” Xinhua notes. “The film administration, for example, is tasked with supervising film-making, releasing, screening, enforcing film content checks, hosting big film events, and overseeing international exchanges.”

Huang claimed that the restructuring effort shows “the need to strengthen the Party’s overall leadership in these areas and was good for advancing the ideological governing system and the sector’s prosperity.”

He added that the reforms would help agencies to “enhance cultural confidence, be innovative, stick to the correct orientation, place the people at the center of the work and strive for new progress.”

Artistic censorship remains a major policy of the CPC. Musicians, writers, filmmakers, and other artists are routinely forced to comply with government restrictions on content deemed inappropriate or hostile to the communist regime.

Last year, the government banned three major social media sites from streaming video in a move that they claimed would “provide a clean and clear Internet space for the wide number of online users.”

Authorities also temporarily banned all forms of Korean entertainment in response to South Korea’s deal to install an American missile defense system, while also demanding Hollywood conforms to their idea of appropriate filmmaking.

Content excluded from television screens also includes topics related to “sex, witchcraft, time travel, teenage romantic relationships, smoking, reincarnation, and unhappy marriages,” while dozens of pop songs are also prohibited for supposedly harming social morality.

Instead, the government seeks to produce their own films and artistic expression and, last month, released a film glorifying leader Xi Jinping that has since become the highest-grossing documentary in the country’s history.

Last year, the film Wolf Warrior 2, which tells a story of Chinese forces saving innocent civilians from Western imperialists in a war-torn African country, became the country’s highest-grossing film ever, with a box office total of $874 million.

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