Films such as the "Harry Potter" series will not be banned under
China's latest edict on horror audio and visual products, an
official with the film watchdog said in Beijing on Tuesday.
Hollywood blockbusters like "Shrek", "Toy story", "Gremlins" and
"E.T.", all popular with children and adults alike, will also
escape the ban as "their content is healthy", an officer at the
General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) said.
The news comes in the wake of some newspaper reports that
"E.T.", directed by Steven Spielberg, would come under the ban
which came into force last week.
The official explained the ban would apply to horror audio and
video products "specifically plotted for the sole purpose of terror
and severely harmful to minors' physical and mental health".
The official said that audio and visual products of Chinese
fairy tales and magic and science fiction which can enlighten
minors and inspire their imagination and creativity were not
covered by the ban. He cited as examples Harry Potter and "Journey
to the West", one of the four greatest ancient Chinese works of
literature, which features as hero a man-pig and has hundreds of
evil spirits and devils ranging from the plain nasty to the really
Some sales persons have questioned exactly what criteria earns a
ban, because the circular issued by the GAPP last week lacks
detailed and objective provisions.
The circular said a ban should apply to video and audio with
elements of horror, violence and cruelty which could be extremely
harmful for the psychological development of children.
Wang Mingmei, a middle aged Beijinger, said "kids could easily
be misled by the violence and cruelty in horror films, which is
very bad for their mental health."
She welcomed the ban saying her daughter, a middle school
student, was too scared to go to sleep after watching some horror
Local media in Shenzhen Municipality of south China's Guangdong
Province reported many video shops in the city had recently pulled
a batch of copies of this category off the shelves. They didn't
involve classics such as Harry Potter.
Some netizens proposed that the government should set up a
rating system for this category of movie, as happens in foreign
countries. They regarded this as more efficiency than a ban
enforced with vague standards.
China began its crackdown on so-called "terrifying publications"
in April 2006 after controversy over a Japanese comic story "Death
Note", which, according to GAPP, depicted various scary ways of
(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)