Cannes: China Edging Closer to Film Ratings System

Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

A film classification system would give insight into censorship, making it easier for Hollywood movies to get into China.

China is getting closer to a film classification system, which would bring clarity to the country's sometimes opaque censorship system, after an industry body submitted a draft plan to the government.

According to sources on the sidelines of the Cannes market, China's Film Distribution and Exhibition Association has submitted a plan to the Film Bureau, which is part of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

SAPPRFT has in turn passed the plan on to the publicity department of the central government, and if it approves it, it would clear the way for a ratings system in China.

This would make clearing censorship easier and could help Hollywood films looking to enter the world's second-largest film market.

As it stands, only films deemed suitable for all ages are released in China, and part of the rigorous censorship process is aimed at supporting this notion, with the Film Bureau making the necessary cuts to movies.

However, many in the local business believe that if there were a reliable ratings system, it would allow more leeway on the censorship front, giving filmmakers more scope to make better movies. Such a system could also clarify things for Hollywood studios trying to bring their movies to China and possibly some more leeway for somewhat riskier fare.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan