Accessibility links

Breaking News

China Drafts Film Law to Ease Movie Licensing, Censorship

FILE - A child stands on a barricade fence looks at a replica model of Transformers character Bumblebee on display in front of Qianmen Gate, as part of a promotion of the movie "Transformers: Age of Extinction" in Beijing, China, June 21, 2014.

China's leaders have drafted the country's first film law, which would ease the censorship process and be intended to boost movie production in the world's second biggest movie market.

China's film market is heavy regulated, but, with no clear published guidelines, filmmakers are unsure what can pass censors or not.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the draft law would mean filmmakers no longer need to get a license to shoot a film or submit scripts for censorship if their themes are not "special." It didn't elaborate, but such themes would be expected to include politically sensitive ones.

Filmmakers currently need to get licenses to shoot a film and show it in movie theaters. The vast majority of films made to upload to video streaming sites don't apply for such licenses, however.

Xinhua says the draft law put before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Friday would give filmmakers entitlement to incentives in financing, taxation, promotion and land use.

Despite restrictions on what can be shown in Chinese movie theaters, the country's film industry is growing rapidly. Box office revenue in 2014 was $4.9 billion, almost three times as much as 2010.

Critics have complained that the increasing output is lowbrow and doesn't result in more films of quality.