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Stricter Rules for TV Commercials

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has undertaken to draft tighter rules for television commercials in an effort to prevent ads with inappropriate content from being broadcast.

"The SARFT will work out new regulations shortly to improve examination of the content of TV commercials, concerning mainly their design, image, taste and possible psychological impact on viewers of varying age groups," Ren Qian, deputy director of the administration, told Xinhua on Thursday.

A growing number of ads produced by overseas advertising companies are now used on TV, and some can be culturally insensitive or lead to misunderstanding, Ren said.

But he stressed that many domestic ads were tasteless and vulgar, some even with excessive sexual innuendo that could "cause public detestation" and "exert negative impact on minors."

The SARFT will widely solicit public opinion while drafting the new regulations, which are expected to take effect in the first quarter of next year, he said.

"We hope they will set clear criteria for both domestic and overseas ad producers and effectively prevent the recurrence of commercials like the 'Chamber of Fear,'" Ren said.

He was referring to the Nike TV commercial that portrayed US basketball star LeBron James defeating an animated cartoon Kung Fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons.

The administration said the commercial, which ran for more than a month before being banned, violated norms mandating that "all ads in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland's culture" and that "ads should not contain contents that blaspheme national practices and cultures."

Nike, the multinational athletic shoe and sportswear giant, issued an apology on Friday saying that they "by no means disrespect Chinese culture."

(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2004)

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