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China to Diversify Film Import Source Countries

China will raise the quotas on imported films from other countries, said an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on Wednesday.

In recent years, China imported about 50 films annually,  half of which were from the United States.

Since many excellent films from other countries are missed by so many Chinese, the Film Bureau will make more efforts to diversify the source countries next year, said Tong Gang, director of the film bureau in an on-line talk program.

Huaxia Films and China Film Group, the two Chinese distributors of imported films, will distribute six films from January to March of 2005. Among them, three are from the United States, two from France and one from the United Kingdom, according to Huaxia's planning manager Guan Zheng.

"In order to enrich the market, we have adopted the principle of 'multi-nation, multi-type and multi-theme' for film import in 2005," Guan said.

According to Tong, the proportion of imported movies depends on the scale of the Chinese film market. Currently, most Chinese cinemas are traditionally single-halled, being able to show only a limited number of movies. In order to protect Chinese movies from being overwhelmed by foreign competition, the administration requires the cinemas to allocate at least two-thirds of the annual run time to domestic films.

However, more multi-screened cinemas are being built in China. The administration is actively promoting various types of investment -- including private and foreign -- to help build more cinemas, bringing more foreign movies to China, said Tong.

 (Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2004)

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