Chinese official attacks ratings system


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BEIJING -- Hopes for film ratings in China took a step back as a senior government official here equated the creation of a ratings system with legalizing the production of pornography, state media reported Tuesday.

Liu Binjie, director of China's General Administration of Press and Publications, said that film ratings are "too sensitive" for the general public, and that no such measures could be undertaken currently because "China had yet to build a mature and orderly film market," the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Under the current circumstances, a film rating system equals legalizing the mass production of pornographic publications," he said.

Currently, films seeking cinematic release in China must be approved as suitable for all audiences, with cuts requested of scenes deemed too sexual, violent, or related to horror, magic and superstition.

In February, the GAPP began enforcing a new ban on horror themes in products aimed at children. Despite a general inclination to put magic themes under horror, "Harry Potter" and "Shrek" were not proscribed. The GAPP oversees the regulation of such audio-visual products as home video.

The ultimate authority on a film rating system will likely be the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which regulates the production and distribution of film and television, although GAPP may have some say over whether products would be re-rated for home video release.

Liu's remarks came on the eve of the National People's Congress, an annual meeting of China's highest legislative body, which opened in Beijing on Wednesday.