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Harry Potter avoids ban on horror products
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China's top press and media watchdog yesterday said fantasy films such as the Harry Potter series are not included in its recent nationwide sales ban on horror audio and video products.

Traditional Chinese myths, fantasy and science fiction stories are "fundamentally different" from the definition of horror videos, which usually "involve alien-looking characters and fictional story telling, both specifically for the sole purpose of terror," the Beijing Times reported today, citing an unnamed official with the General Administration of Press and Publications.

Chinese classics like Journey to the West, The God's Story and Erotic Ghost Story have made remarkable achievements in terms of literature, art and ideology while films such as the Harry Potter series can also help inspire imagination and creativity among children and teenagers, the report said.

The administration issued a circular banning the sales of horror audio and video products last week, the latest initiative to "protect the country's children and teenagers' psychological development," according to a previous report.

The administration said the violence and cruelty involved in these products were unfit for children, and extremely harmful to their psychological development.

The circular ordered all publications with elements of mystery and horror to be taken off the market, and videos in production must delete any hint of mystery and horror.

China began its crackdown on so-called "terrifying publications" in April 2006, specifically targeting a Japanese comic Death Note. It involved a notebook that can kill people if their names are written in it.

China launched a crackdown against "vulgar" content in video and audio products this year. Producers were ordered to stop selling vulgar products.
(Shanghai Daily February 19, 2008)

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