Notice concerning Earnestly Doing the Distribution and Screening Work of the Films “The Young Lei Feng”, “Lei Feng in 1959” and “Lei Feng’s Smile” Well
On 4 March, SARFT issued the “Notice concerning Earnestly Doing the Distribution and Screening Work of the Films ‘The Young Lei Feng’, ‘Lei Feng in 1959’ and ‘Lei Feng’s Smile’ Well” to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, all cinema chain companies, rural digital cinema chain companies, relevant film studio work units, the China Film Co. Ltd., the Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd., the Film Channel Programme Centre, the Film Digital Programme Centre and the China Film Distribution and Screening Association, the Notice sais that the films “The Young Lei Feng”, “Lei Feng in 1959” and “Lei Feng’s Smile” are excellent films that have been meticulously produced to remember the 50th anniversary of Mao Zedong and other older-generation revolutionaries’ writing about Comrade Lei Feng. These three films use moving stories, vivid images and lively details to display the short but magnificent life of Lei Feng from different angles, with the real history of Lei Feng’s growing up as the core thread. In order to carry forward the Lei Feng spirit, embody passing down the torch of the Lei Feng Spirit, fully give rein to the important function of the films in building a Socialist harmonious society and stimulating the construction of a spiritual civilization, hereby, the following matters relating to the distribution and screening works of these three films are notified as follows:
This is a translation of the SARFT press release, the original text of this notice has not been made public.
Recently, SARFT issued the “Notice concerning Cleaning Up Radio and Television “Gift-Giving” Advertising”, requiring all levels’ radio and television stations to immediately delete advertising with content playing up “gift-giving”
The notice points out that in a small number of advertisements broadcast by some radio and television stations, content playing up “gift-giving’ such as “first choice for gift-giving”, “gift leader”, “gaining face with higher levels”, etc., there being no lack of famous watches, expensive stamps, gold and silver commemorative coins, etc., among the gifts, this communicates an incorrect value system, and easily foments undesirable social tendencies.
SARFT’s news spokesperson indicated that, the Centre has repeatedly stressed recently that all sectors and all departments must rigorously enforce diligence and thrift, oppose extravagance and waste, that the radio and television system must earnestly implement the Centre’s requirements concerning improving work styles and realistically linking up with the masses “Eight Rules”, and create a good public opinion environment in the whole society to practice strict economy and oppose waste. Radio and television stations are an important propaganda, ideology and cultural battlefield, and must fully give rein to their important function of guiding customs, educating the people, serving society and promoting development, forcefully carry forward the fine traditions of the Chinese nation and modern civilized living concepts, taking the lead in setting the example, implement strict self-discipline and make cleaning-up “gift-giving” advertising into a real action to implement the requirements of the Centre and a concrete measure in restraining the undesirable practice of gift-giving and gift-receiving, grasp implementation with determination and great force, to satisfy the popular masses.
In order to guarantee that the provisions are satisfactorily implemented, SARFT has required all levels’ administrative radio, film and television departments to realistically strengthen daily supervision and management, and standardize advertising broadcast order. At the same time, SARFT has also required all localities to further strengthen work to produce and broadcast public service advertising, strengthen the effect of positive guidance through effective propaganda with unobtrusive influence, and construct a desirable social atmosphere of joy and auspiciousness.
In 2000, Jiang Wen’s film Devil on the Doorstep was banned in China, after coming in second for the Cannes Grand Prix. The film depicts a situation in which a Chinese villager, Ma Dasan, is forced to watch over a Japanese prisoner and a Chinese interpreter. Unable to bring himself to kill them, Ma hides them in an old watchtower and starts taking care of them. In the end, the two prisoners are traded back to the Japanese Army in exchange for carts of grain, but a subsequent misunderstanding ends in a massacre.
Interestingly, China Digital Times published the verdict of the SARFT film censorship board on Devils on the Doorstep. Normally, censorship decisions are not made public, and their content is only revealed by reference in interviews with filmmakers. However, this document provides an insight into some of SARFT’s methods and priorities.
The most important part of the verdict relates to the portrayal of Chinese villagers and Japanese soldiers against the background of the Second World War, or, using the Chinese term, the War to Resist Japan. Throughout, SARFT takes the film to task for incorrect depictions of the nature of the Chinese people. An old grandfather should not be shown as being sympathetic to a young Chinese soldier, it is deemed incorrect that the villagers care for the Japanese soldier and the Chinese traitor (汉奸 hanjian), or that they indicate that they haven’t really suffered under the occupation. When the Japanese soldier imagines being attacked by the villagers, he imagines them as Samurai. However, SARFT feels that what he should feel most are “the armies resisting Japan, such as the Eighth Route Army or guerrilla forces”. Imagining villagers as samurai “uglifies the Chinese people”. In short, in this film, the “common Chinese people” do not show sufficient hatred towards the Japanese, do not sufficiently differentiate between foe and friend, and display ignorance and apathy. At the same time, according to SARFT, the film does not correctly display the cruelty of the Japanese army but, amongst others, shows a Japanese soldier giving sweets to children. Also, “Japanese army songs are played often, putting a spin on the Japanese imperialists flaunting their strength, which may gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”
A smaller issue comes at the end of the film, where a Guomindang general declares that only the Guomindang can legally accept the surrender of Japanese troops. Again, this does not fit in official CCP historiography and is therefore beyond the pale.
Lastly, there are a few issues of obscenity and language. A sex scene between Ma Dasan and his lover Yu’er is deemed to “bring about strong, harmful sensual stimulation to people.” A scene in which the villagers’ pack donkey gets aroused by a Japanese army donkey is described as vulgar and boring.
In the light of recent, island-related events, the focus on the manicheist separation between the heroic Chinese and the agressive Japanese invaders provides an interesting insight in the politics of division practiced by the censorship board. By insisting on one-dimensional representation of ethnicities, the board seems to deny the possibility to portray a human connection between the Chinese and the Japanese, as has been explored in many Western WW2 films, including Schindler’s List. Rather, the insistence of a politically correct vision of history reinforces Chinese exceptionalism and the dehumanisation of the Japanese, however horrifying some wartime acts might have been.
In terms of obscene content, again, a logic of dehumanisation takes place. By denying the sexuality of Ma Dasan and Yu’er, the board seems to require these characters to become larger than life superhumans. Perhaps the underlying purpose of this direction of censorship can be best explained by understanding the process of content review as an effort to direct the content of film towards the grand objectives of the CCP. In this view, film is not an open artistic expression to be judged on its own merits by audiences, but is a purposive tool to build awareness of the century of humiliation, the innate superiority of the Chinese people, and the grand destiny to which it is called. That being said, this document is now twelve years old, and more light would be shed on the evolution of this matter if more censorship decisions were made public. If anyone is aware of such documents, please contact us.
State Administration of Radio, Film and Television Film Examination Committee Examination Opinion concerning “Devils on the Doorstep”
The coproduced film “Devils on the Doorstep” that your company submitted has been examined by the Film Examination Committee. The Examination Committee believes that:
The script of this film has not been revised strictly according to the Film Bureau “Response concerning Project Establishment of the Coproduction ‘Devils on the Doorstep'” (DZ No.302), and has been filmed without authorization under the circumstances that no script has been submitted for filing, at the same time, lines and scenes have been added in many places without authorization, resulting in a film, that on the one hand, not only has not expressed the hatred and opposition of the common Chinese people against the invasion, against the great background of the War to Resist Japan (the sole person daring to scold and oppose the Japanese Army is a madman annoying the villagers), on the contrary, it prominently displays and concentratedly exaggerates their ignorance, apathy and servility, and on the other hand, has not only not fully revealed the Japanese imperialist and aggressive nature, but prominently plays up the rampant manner in which Japanese invaders flaunt their strength, leading to grave deviations in the basic concept of the film.
Filthy words appear repeatedly in the film, and Japanese soldiers often take the insult “Chinese pigs” into their mouths, furthermore, there are shots with naked female bodies, the overall style is vulgar and does not conform to the standards of the “Film Examination Regulations”.
The name of the film must be chosen again according to the repeated requirements of the Film Bureau.
The film must, after earnest revision according to the attachment, be resubmitted for examination.
Attachment: “Major Differences Between the Film “Devils on the Doorstep” and the Approved Script”
I, Unauthorized revised and added scenes, resulting in grave deviations in the basic concept of the film:
1, On pages 7 and 8 of the script, when the masses of villagers in the original literary script try the Japanese Soldier Hanaya and the Chinese traitor Dong Hancheng , they does not show fear, but excoriate them: “You want to make trouble, there are no sweet cakes for your to eat” and “We will beat all the yellow out of you”, etc. But the film shows that the villagers fear them from the start. And the lines of Grandfather in shot 240 were added: “I see you are also children”, displaying common Chinese people as stupid and ignorant, making no difference between foe and friend.
2, The film bureau has insisted on deleting the scene on giving the devils wheat flour and rice to eat in the literary script, but in the film, not only has this scene not been deleted, but it repeatedly plays up Ma Dasan’s lending rice to Erbozi, agreeing on repaying eight times the loan, and the villagers also excitedly wrapping dumplings for Japanese soldiers and Chinese traitors. It objectively expresses the times of extreme difficulties of life for the common Chinese people during wartime, but their active care for Japanese soldiers and Chinese traitors, gravely violates history.
3, Shots 1027; In comparison with the literary script, the film adds lines for Erbozi: “The Japanese have come to our village eight years ago, what happened in those eight years, have they dared to touch one hair of mine? I’m doing fine, walking level, wherever I go, they will look highly at me”. The Japanese invaders were burning, killing, pillaging and looting China for eight years, committing heinous crimes, however, the film says, through the mouth of the wife of Erbozi that the Japanese army was highly disciplined towards them, embellishing the Japanese invaders.
4, Shots 472 to 496, in comparison with the literary script, the film added a section in which the Japanese Soldier Hanaya thinks that Ma Dasan has brought the villagers and comes breaking through, and imagines Ma Dasan and the villagers with the appearance of Samurai. Against the great background of the War of Resistance, the most dreaded fear of the Japanese soldier Hanaya should be the armies resisting Japan, such as the Eighth Route Army or guerrilla forces, the scene in which Ma Dasan and the villagers are imagined as Japanese samurai is not only false, it also uglifies Chinese people.
5, Shots 877 to 893, shorts 918 to 931, shots 941 to 947, and shorts 954 to 959, in comparison with the literary script, the film has added the storyline that the villagers think Ma Dasan killed the devils, pay not attention to him, and even Yu’er avoids him, upsetting Ma Dasan’s nerve. It displays multitudinous common Chinese people who don’t have the necessary hatred against the Japanese army, don’t differentiate between foe and friend, are ignorant and apathetic.
6, Shots 1002 to 1069; in comparison with the literary script, the film has added a storyline where after the small child’s learning Japanese creates danger, a crowd of villagers gets angry at Ma Dasan, and compete one by one to let him kill himself, and put his head on the table; Yu’er sais to the villagers: “isn’t letting him kill people, also letting me harbouring sinister designs? Look at these two days, you haven’t paid any attention to him. If we don’t kill people, we are forced to kill people, if we have killed people, we are not given any attention, looking at Ma Dasan is the same as looking at the devil, no-one has died, and you clash with us and do this…” It displays that common Chinese people not only do not dare to resist the enemy, but also are full of servility towards and fear of the invaders, can only fight among themselves, and are mutually suspicious and jealous.
7, Page 34 of the script: In the original script, when One Stroke Liu talks about his skill in killling, he says he killed a palace eunuch having a clandestine affair, but in shots 1177 to 1199 if the film, it has changed to One Stroke Liu having killed “eight ministers from the side of Cixi” and “the master of the Hundred Days of Reform, Tan Sitong”, this not only endows it with new political content, but also plays up the pride in beheading skills, with the result that he fails in killing the Japanese soldiers, exclaims “all my life’s glory, destroyed in a moment”, and runs away despondently. For people, it is a metaphor that in the last century, Chinese people were only able to take the axe to their own people, and did not dare to resist foreign aggression.
8, On page 39 of the script, everyone is discussing to send the devils back, in the original script, it is described that when the Japanese army arrives in the village, they draw a circle by sprinkling white rice, encircling the commoners, and force them to eat the rice, those who are unable to eat more, have their heads restrained and rice pressed into their mouth, an when the Japanese captain talks, the commoners pay no attention to him. However, in shots 1763 to 1871 of the film, this scene has been changed into a get-together, and forcefully plays up that they drink wine and sing songs together, the villagers are eternally grateful, the Japanese army is as close as brothers with the villagers, and there are lines such as “Today, I am happy, not only because of these grain carts, but mainly because the Imperial Army has given us face”, etc., this is a major change to the concept of the script, and is utterly contrary to the theme.
9, On pages 47 to 40 of the script; in the scene of the massacre of the villagers, in the original script, there are descriptions of common people who finally come to there senses, rise up and revolt, such as Erbozi picking up a steel helmet and striking Japanese soldiers with it, and the mother of Erbozi who takes of her shoes to hit the devils, and shouts: “Don’t be stupid, pick up weapons and fight.” But in the films, in shots 1872 to 2073, the commoners don’t fight with the devils until they die, and when facing massacre, essentially wait helplessly for death, and let themselves be trampled.
11, The only person who dares to scold and resist Japan in this film is a lunatic who annoys the villagers.
12, In comparison with the literary script, a scene is added in which a Guomindang general convenes the commoners, he openly executes Chinese traitors, and when giving his speech to accept surrender, says: “Only the republican armies are the legal acceptors of surrendering Japanese troops.” He also has a Japanese person lend a hand to kill Ma Dasan. This utterly reverses factual acts, but receives the agreement of the surrounding commoners, it gravely distorts history, and has not achieved the effect of criticising and mocking the Guomindang.
13, In the film, there are two persons singing ditties, who appear three times in total, there is no description of this in the original literary script. In shot 1099, lines such as “The Imperial Army comes to our village, let’s jointly build a common flourishing circle in East Asia, the Imperial Army has come to help the needy and relieve the distressed” have also been added. This is typical of the imagery of ignorance, apathy and being slaves without a country.
14, The content of Crazy Old Seven’s words when cursing Ma Dasan and Yu’er and when cursing Japanese devils is similar, this is extremely inappropriate.
15, In many places in the film, the mouths of Japanese people are used to insult Chinese people for “Chinese dogs”, gravely harming the image of China.
II, In the reply to the script, revision opinions were put forward, but in the following places, these revisions have not been made in the film:
1, On page 2 of the script: after Nonomura finishes juggling, he puts away his pack of sweets into his bag, displaying the Japanese army’s teasing children. In shot 24 of the film, he not only gives sweets, but also repeatedly displays Chinese children in pursuit of Japanese soldiers, asking for sweets.
2, On page 2 of the script: the scene in which Ma Dasan and Yu’er gasp violently for breath on the bed and Yu’er is naked should already have been deleted in the original script. In shots 28 to 41 of the film, it has not only not been deleted, but lines have also been added: “Let me look”, “Look at what, faster, don’t have a rest”. The effect of the length, imagery and sounds of this bed scene are strong, and bring about strong, harmful sensual stimulation to people.
3, On page 40 of the script: When the donkey is in heat, in the original literary script, it was changed into the donkey running into the devils’ granary. In shorts 1590 to 1606 of the film, it has not been revised. This storyline has a vulgar style and is boring.
4. In the original literary script, the absolute majority of dirty works should have been deleted, but in the film, they are ubiquitous, and many characters use dirty words.
5, In the film, Japanese army songs are played often, putting a spin on the Japanese imperialists flaunting their strength, which may gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
(Passed at the 1st meeting of 2012 of the China Network Audiovisual Programme Service Association Council on 13 July 2012)
Chapter I: General Principles
Article 1: In order to stimulate the sustainable development of our country’s network audiovisual programme service business, let network culture flourish, safeguard a healthy and orderly sector order, this Convention is formulated. Read the rest of this entry »
SARFT Spokesperson Talks with Journalist on the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management”
Note: the text of this Notice has not been made public. However, the following interview gives a good indication of the key provisions of this Notice and the consequences for Internet media enterprises.
On the 9th, a SARFT spokesperson responded to the questions of a Xinhua journalist on the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management”.
Q: Why was the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management” rolled out? Read the rest of this entry »
This document has not been openly published by SARFT. The following is a translation of a press article outlining and analyzing the main changes of the new IPTV license regime.
SARFT No. 43
Description of the IPTV business operation permit.
According to the requirements of corresponding radio and television management regulations, general and branch IPTV integrated broadcast control platforms, nationwide IPTV content service platforms and provincial-level content service platforms, and IPTV service enterprises, shall all respectively obtain an “Information Network Audiovisual Programme Broadcast Permit” through the corresponding permit programmes promulgated by SARFT. Only after all the above-mentioned parties obtain the corresponding permit, may they be linked up and launch services.
Notice concerning Launching a Special Campaign “Attacking News Blackmail and Dealing with Paid-For News”
On 13 June, SARFT issued the “Notice concerning Launching a Special Campaign ‘Attacking News Blackmail and Dealing with Paid-For News'” (GF NO. 46 to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Radio and Television Station, the three central stations, film channels, and China Educational Television, the Notice says that, according to the uniform deployment of the Central Propaganda Department, in order to further standardize newsgathering order, safeguard the credibility and authority of news workers, create a good atmosphere for the victorious convention of the 18th Party Congress, the General Administration of Press and Publications and other relevant departments will launch a special campaign to “attack news blackmail and deal with paid-for news” for three months, starting now. The basic tasks of the special campaign are: strictly attacking false news organs and newsgathering personnel launching “news blackmail” activities and using “newsgathering” activities for extortion and racketeering. Dealing with newsgathering personnel using newsgathering activities to seek personal gain, or other bad phenomena such as receiving “red envelopes” from newsgathering counterparts, work units, interested parties and related companies, etc. Dealing with news organs and their work personnel publishing advertising under the form of news reporting, engaging in paid-for news and paid-for non-news activities, standardizing newsgathering activity order, eliminating bad tendencies existing in news work. Read the rest of this entry »
Notice concerning Accrediting the First Batch of Mixed State-Level Culture, Science and Technology Demonstration Bases
GKFG No. 631
Relevant provincial, municipal and plan-listed city science and technology offices (committees, bureaus), Party Committee propaganda departments, cultural offices (bureaus), radio, film and television bureaus, press and publications bureaus:
according to the requirements of the 6th Plenum of the 17th Party Congress concerning “Rely on State high and new technology parks, State sustainable development test regions, etc., to build mixed State-level culture, science and technology demonstration bases”, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Central Propaganda Department have, together with the Ministry of Culture, SARFT and the General Administration of Press and Publications, launched the mixed State-level culture, science and technology demonstration base accreditation work. Through organizing expert appraisal and joint research by relevant departments, it has decided to accredit the Beijing Zhongguancun mixed State-level culture, science and technology demonstration base and 15 others to become the first batch of mixed State-level culture, science and technology demonstration bases (see attachment for a name list). Read the rest of this entry »
Ministry of Commerce, Central Propaganda Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, General Administration of Customs, General Administration of Taxation, State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, General Administration of Press and Publications, State Council Information Office Announcement No. 3 of 2012 Read the rest of this entry »
State Administration of Radio, Film and Television Decree
The “Supplementary Provisions to the ‘Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules'” was passed at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television administration meeting of 21 November 2011, is hereby promulgated, and takes effect on 1 January 2012.
Notice Concerning the Implementation of the “Supplementary Provisions to the ‘Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules'”
On 25 November, SARFT issued the “Notice Concerning the Implementation of the “Supplementary Provisions to the ‘Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules'”” to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Radio and Television Bureau, the three central stations, the Film Channel Programme Centre and China Education Television, the Notice says that the “Supplementary Provisions to the ‘Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules'” (SARFT Decree No. 66) will be officially implemented from 1 January 2012. In order to guarantee that the new provisions are realistically implemented, the relevant matters are notified as follows:
This is a translation of an interview published on 26 October on the Xinhua website.
Interviewing the authorities
Letting television screens become even more rich, varied, healthy and upward Read the rest of this entry »
Opinions Concerning Further Strengthening Comprehensive Satellite Television Channel Programme Management
Note: this document has not been made public. The following is a translation of a People’s Daily summary.
Update (5 January 2011): I have obtained a copy of the document, which is translated here.
People’s Daily, Beijing 26 October (Journalist Yuan Yue) Read the rest of this entry »
Opinion Concerning Further Strengthening Comprehensive Satellite Television Channel Programme Management
SARFT No. (2011)83
In recent years, comprehensive satellite television channels have incessantly innovated programme content, vigorously expanded programme forms, had have obtained heartening progress in aspects such as propagating the reform and development achievements of all localities, expanding broadcast coverage, strengthening audience viewing choice, etc. But in recent times, a part of comprehensive satellite television channels have displayed tendencies of excessive entertainmentization and vulgarization, damaging the image and credibility of radio and television media, the opinion of audiences is relatively large, and they react strongly. In order to further stimulate the healthy flourishing and development of radio and television, promote programme innovation and optimization, encourage high-level programme forms, raise the production level of radio and television programmes, even more effectively satisfy the broad popular masses, diverse, multi-level and high-level spiritual cultural requirements, hereby, the following opinion on further strengthening comprehensive satellite television channel programme management is put forward: Read the rest of this entry »
On 11 October 2011, SARFT issued the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management” to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Radio and Television Bureau, the three central stations, China Educational Television, and the Film Channel Programme Centre, the Notice says that after more than a year since the “Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules” (SARFT Decree No. 61), the implementation situation generally is desirable, all walks of society universally approve it. But recently, a number of problems violating regulations have reappeared, mainly manifesting as: first, inserting advertising in film or television drama titles or credits; second, inserting advertising in excessive duration; third, a number of transmission and relay organs insert moving caption advertising when transmitting programmes; fourth, a number of advertising overstates its propaganda, fifth, a number of current-affairs and news-type programmes have commercial headings, etc. In order to determinedly correct these problems and realistically standardize radio and television order, hereby, the following is notified to further strengthen radio and television advertising broadcast and management work: Read the rest of this entry »
On 29 March, SARFT issued the “SARFT Notice Concerning the Nationwide Television Drama Shooting Filing Announcement for March 2011” to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Radio, Film and Television Bureau, CCTV, the Liberation Army General Political and Propaganda Department Art Bureau and the China Education Television Station, the Notice states that, in March 2011, reports of 95 series and 2783 episodes of television dramas shot nationwide have been filed for announcement, and that for 66 series and 1961, announcement has been agreed to. Read the rest of this entry »
On 18 February, SARFT circulated the “SARFT Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Television Drama Writing Quality Management” to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, CCTV, the General Political and Propaganda Department Art Bureau and the China Education Television Channel, the Notice says that in recent years, television drama creation, production and broadcast have continuously flourished and developed, become universally liked by the popular masses, and broadly followed with interest by all walks of society, at the same time the problem of television drama writing quality had also gained more and more attention, the voices of relevant State entities and all walks of society that require further raising of television drama writing quality become louder and louder. Writing quality relates to the standardization and purity of national and ethnic language writing, relates to media images and correct guidance of the social masses, guaranteeing correct television drama language and writing use and raising television drama writing quality are important tasks for administrative radio and television entities, and are also basic social responsibilities for television drama broadcasting organs and production organs that they shall bear on their own initiative.
Consequently, in order to strengthen supervision and management over television drama writing quality, spur comprehensive television drama production quality to be further raised, the following is hereby required: Read the rest of this entry »