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New Shanghai Bund Too Smoky
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Lead character of New Shanghai Bund, played by Chinese mainland actor Huang Xiaoming, is seen in this scene holding a cigarette. The TV series have been accused of having too much smoking scenes.

Several Chinese anti-smoking activists are accusing a domestic TV drama of having too much smoking scenes, and are petitioning the TV and film supervision watchdog to issue a rating of such displays.

Members of the Beijing-based non-profit organization, ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, on Saturday signed a petition to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), the Beijing News said on Sunday.

The letter says the director of New Shanghai Bund has made almost every character an addicted smoker and that cigarettes are "probably the most used prop" in the whole production.

The 42-episode drama is the latest remake of a 1980 classic which turned Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat into a star. It revolves around a group of gangland mobsters in 1930s Shanghai.

The remake reported high audience ratings when it was aired on Beijing TV back in May, and was voted as the most popular TV series in an earlier survey on popular web portal Sina.com.

ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, mainly consisting of medical experts, worries that frequent smoking scenes in such a highly-popular TV production could mislead young audience, and suggests a rating should be introduced to reduce minors' exposure to on-screen smoking.

The petition letter will be presented to the SARFT soon, a senior member of the organization was quoted as saying.

In fact, an anti-smoking voice has been heard since New Shanghai Bund debuted on the small screen.

Its director, Gao Xixi, was quoted by previous reports as arguing that he thought he had done nothing wrong, because there is no ban or limit on smoking scenes in TV or film.
(CRI.cn July 16, 2007)

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