SARFT names Li new deputy director

Only joined media regulatory body in August

BEIJING – China’s film industry regulatory body has a new deputy director -- its youngest ever -- an official announcement from the State Council, China’s cabinet, said on Wednesday.

Li Wei, 52, joined the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television in August as a relatively unknown figure in the China’s tightly-controlled and fast-growing film business.

Li joined SARFT at a time when the body is under increased pressure from the State Council to promote filmmaking that improves China’s image.

An Aug. 30 report from the Southern Metropolis Weekend newspaper said Li told a press conference announcing his appointment that he would work at SARFT to uphold the goals of the Propaganda Department, where he used to be deputy secretary-general.

Li's arrival comes when Chinese boxoffice receipts rose more than 80% in the first half of 2010, and just as the body prepares to bring China into compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling that says that the country must allow greater foreign participation by March.

Hollywood studios now are limited to roughly 20 revenue-sharing theatrical film releases per year in China and scant access to the country’s nationwide television airtime.

His recent tasks at SARFT include meeting a delegation from Iran to discuss radio and television cooperation between China’s state media and Iranian state television, according to a notice on the SARFT website.