China releases banned comic, cartoon blacklist

By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-9 0:23:01

The Ministry of Culture on Monday released a blacklist of 38 comics and cartoons that have been banned for containing violent and pornographic content and punished 29 websites for allowing users to stream them.

The banned animations, many of which are Japanese in origin, include Death Note, Attack on Titan and Blood-c. A total of 29 websites, including industry giants Baidu, Sohu and Tencent, were warned, fined and ordered to take down the works. Eight other websites were shut down.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture said on Monday that the ministry will investigate works with improper content and establish a blacklist mechanism for content providers and animations.

The ministry had been investigating the now-banned animations since March 31. "The list is the result of evaluations by investigators, reviews by the ministry and the opinions of experts. It aims to guide websites in the proper review and importation of comics and animations," said Liu Qiang, a senior ministry official.

The move quickly sparked online debate. Many netizens said they understand that it is improper for children to read comics or watch films that involve violence or sex but many have complained that such a blanket ban has also taken away the right of adults to enjoy the kind of entertainment they choose.

Yin Hong, executive vice dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times Monday that the current regulations still need to be improved and should include a clearer definition of what should be banned.

"The system lacks a rating system that takes into account age groups, under which comics, films and TV shows will be better regulated and will not affect appropriately aged groups from watching particular works," he said.

In fact, despite the authorities' efforts to clear "unhealthy animations" from cyberspace, many may have already been uploaded to a variety of cloud storage platforms for people to download.

The ministry has launched a website and opened a hot line for the public to lodge complaints if they find any banned or "unhealthy" works being made available.

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