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China bans horror movies
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He still remembers the film adapted from Liao Zhai Zhi Yi, or Strange Tales from a Scholar's Studio, a collection of ghost stories written by Chinese literary master Pu Songling in the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911).

"As a three-year-old, I was scared out of my wits, but that thrill still excites me as an adult."

In the 1990s, he trawled video shops looking for the latest films from Hongkong. "Some of them were pretty coarse, but I enjoyed them."

In middle school, his passion for horror developed and in the past ten years, he has collected and watched more than 1,000 horror movies, mostly from the US, Europe, South Korea and Japan.

Initially, he enjoyed brutality and gore, but he has come to appreciate the psychological element of horror moves. "Watching them is an effective release from outside pressure, in an instant way.It's a fantastic feeling that nothing else can offer."

Since starting in 2006, Yang's Horror Paradise website has attracted almost 1,000 members nationwide, making it a most popular site on douban.com, a Chinese website dedicated to the sharing of books, DVDs, music and films.

The Horror Paradise members often debate the content, techniques and art of horror movies.

"Contrary to the stereotype impression of horror movies as superficial or violent, they reflect deep and insightful themes."

He cites The Descent (2005), which depicts the experience of six women who are hunted by strange subterranean beings when they get lost while exploring in a cave in the mountains.

"It's a great film about our susceptibility to the evil side of human nature when our survival is at stake."

Du Jian, a senior student at the Chinese Youth University for Political Sciences in Beijing, agrees. "Classical horror movies are a vivid description of human nature."

Du's favorite is Dead Silence (2007), in which a puppet seeks revenge on the descendants of townspeople who brutally murdered its long dead ventriloquist owner. "I've learned through the movie that even lifeless things deserve our care, especially those that have accompanied us for a long time, because we develop a sense of intimacy with them."

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