China lays down law on nature shoots

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BEIJING -- China will restrict filming and artistic performances in nature preserves and scenic spots, the government said Wednesday. The moves comes in answer to a public outcry that began last year after director Chen Kaige damaged a nature preserve in Shangri La, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, while making his $42 million film "The Promise."

The new regulation was jointly issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Culture and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The regulation said "some big-budget films and artistic performances these years are over-obsessed with economic returns, and have greatly damaged natural environment. Thus, film shooting and artistic performances in natural reserves, scenic spots and sites of historic interest must be strictly restricted," Xinhua reported.

Some filming and artistic performances will be allowed with approval from relevant authorities, but only in "experimental zones of nature reserves, outer sections of scenic spots and some cultural heritage sites."

Violators of the regulations, which cover about 1.5 million square kilometers, or 15% of China's land, will be dealt with harshly with damage remediation and fines.

Last year, director Chen was fined 90,000 yuan ($11,250) for littering and destroying vegetation.
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