The Chinese State Council is currently drafting the Film Industry Promotion Law, the first law governing all policies related to the film industry in China.

China is now drafting the Film Industry Promotion Law, the first law governing all policies related to the film industry in China.  However, the law will not include the much discussed film rating system, and it will not be passed by March, 2011, said an official from State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT)

At a forum on internationalizing Chinese films, part of the Beijing Screenings activities, La Peikang, deputy director general of the Film Bureau under SARFT, said the Chinese State Council is now drafting the law, which will be a comprehensive law to further promote the fast-growing film industry, and will focus on issues such as copyright protection and privatization of state-owned film studios.

Chinacurrently has several film-related regulations such as the Regulations on Film Management and Regulations on Sino-Foreign Film Co-productions, as well as several regulations on the market access of foreign film and TV production enterprises.  Once the Film Industry Promotion Law is passed, its legal validity and effect will be higher than current regulations.

However, when answering a question from a Chinese independent filmmaker, La said the draft will not include the film rating system.  “The draft of the Film Industry Promotion Law will clearly regulate what kinds of films are allowed and what are not.  Therefore, if the film will contain violence or other harmful content, they can be dealt with in the censorship process, and there is no need to use a rating system to deal with the problem.”  “There are many countries that have the rating system, but the problems of violence and pornography in films still exist,” he said.

La’s talk echoed with the comments made by SARFT vice Minister Zhao Shi last month that the Chinese government is not considering to introduce a rating system.

La also said the draft will probably not make it National People’s Congress (NPC) and National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are held annually in March as China’s only legislative assembly.

China has in July told the WTO that it would follow the WTO ruling on China-US trade dispute and open up its market for entertainment goods by March 19, 2011.  China will then adjust its import policy on film and audio-visual products.  Beijing-based film industry players believe the open-up will be carried out very slowly and gradually.

“If the Film Industry Promotion Law will not be passed before the national congress, we doubt that there will be major policy changes before the WTO deadline,” said Beijing-based theater owner.