China Needs Movies to Help Fight Corruption, Says Government Advisor

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Screenwriter Wang Xingdong makes the proposal on the fringes of China's annual parliament, which is meeting in Beijing.

As the Chinese Communist Party steps up its crackdown on corruption, a senior film industry figure and adviser to the Beijing government, Wang Xingdong, has called on filmmakers to start making movies about graft-busters.

"The purpose of making anti-graft films is to use culture to suppress corruption, to let the public know that culture can punish evil and promote good, can lash out at the ugly and promote justice," Wang told the Beijing Morning Post.

Wang, who worked on the script of propaganda epic Founding of a Great Republic and is vice chairman of the China Directors' Guild, has been vocal this week in making numerous calls for reform of the film business, as China's Communist elite is in Beijing for the annual rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress.

Corruption by government officials is one of the prime sources of dissatisfaction among the general populace in China and is seen as a threat to the stability of the ruling Communist Party.

President Xi Jinping in late 2012 pledged to root out graft in China, whether it involves massive wealth accumulated by the powerful "tigers" of the elite or back-handers palmed over to the "flies" at the bottom of the Communist Party, he has taken some significant scalps.

The biggest is Bo Xilai, the former party boss in Dalian and Chongqing who was purged last year, and is serving a life sentence for corruption and abuse of power, while his wife Gu Kailai sits in jail for murder.

Earlier this week, Wang called for the censorship of movies to be based on clear legal rules, rather than by individual government officials, saying a lack of clarity about how censorship works was a major problem for movie-makers.

Anti-corruption movies should sound the death-knell for those who are corrupt and encourage more discipline. "Therefore, we must create more excellent films," he said.

Last year, the Hong Kong International Film Festival marked the city's Independent Commission Against Corruption's 40th anniversary by showing the world premiere of ICAC Investigators 2014 -- Better Tomorrow, a TV movie produced by the anti-corruption organization about a recent university graduate's passion for investigative work.

The anti-corruption campaign is making waves in the entertainment industry as well. The top disciplinary watchdog of China's ruling Communist Party arrested 49 people in the entertainment industry for corruption last year.