SARFT bans remakes of TV dramas adapted from online games Published: 2012-8-6 17:10:00

                      Editor's Note

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has once again tightened its oversight over the content of television series.

An anonymous staffer at SARFT confirmed the news on Saturday and said that the guidelines had already been carried out nationwide, the Beijing News reported.

                "Six" New Rules

Six new bans of SARFT
Source: Global Times


sub logoGT Editorial:

TV revival needs more than SARFT guidelines
The controversies around the new guidelines for TV production actually mirror the embarrassing state of the industry. The quality of TV serials is worrying and regulation is necessary, but SARFT's regulations also bring undesirable side effects. Cultural vitality could be better achieved through encouragement. More work, besides administrative regulations, needs to be done to revitalize Chinese TV.

sub logoExperts:


Miao Ruomu, a scriptwriter

"The ban on remaking foreign TV series is positive, as remakes damage the creativity of our own industry," Miao told the Global Times. While saying SARFT's restrictions are based on good intentions, Miao noted "they are going too far and limiting our creative space."
Li Daoxin, a professor with the School of Arts at Peking University
SARFT should act more like a guide that leads the industry to develop, instead of constantly imposing bans.


Chen Shaofeng, vice-president of the Institute for Culture Industries at Peking University
He said the six new guidelines will lead to a decrease in overall quality in TV programming.
“SARFT should choose a form of censorship that targets specific content rather than completely ban an entire genre,” Chen told China Business News on Saturday.

Dong Haoyu, producer at SMG Pictures, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group
He feels the new restriction on historical dramas will greatly restrict the development of historical dramas. “What’s more, some current historical dramas may be affected by this new guideline,” Dong told China Business News.

sub logoInternet Voices:


@慕容姣: Nowadays, the political atmosphere is already very relaxed, and the arts are rather free. But artists should remember their responsibility to create good and healthy works in order to benefit the development of a harmonious society, as well be worthy of their honor and pay.

@中南大学刘志刚: Current domestic TV dramas are very monotonous in theme.  If they don’t involve the wars, they are about ancient history and palaces. TV shows like this can only teach people either how to obey rules or how to fight each other. I wonder how we could only have that few themes suitable for TV dramas while we have 5,000 years history?


@易前良: In the age of mixed media, different platforms adapt content from each other, so why has SARFT banned it? Novels and films are allowed to be adapted into TV dramas. Why not online games? If we are advocating a harmonious society, then why does SARFT claim that revolution-themed TV dramas have to draw a clear line between friend and foe, and reinforce this concept of bravery against foes and loyalty to friends? The Internet and social media has left TV in a very dire situation as it is, and SARFT’s new guidelines are undoubtedly making it worse.

@这家伙有幻想症: TV is a way for people to relax mind. Blindly passing prohibitions can only backfire. 

                Possible Influence

Due to increased government financial support in the creative industry, film and TV have also attracted heavy investment from the private sector. But according to a Chinese Business News report, these new guidelines will have a far-reaching influence on future investment.

Insiders predict that the company to be most affected is Chinese Entertainment Shanghai (CES). Known for producing period dramas and shows adapted from online games, such as their latest hit Xuanyuanjian (Xuan-Yuan Sword), CES’s previous drama series, Bubu jingxin 2 (Thrill At Every Step 2) also has hit a snag. With storylines based in time travel and plans to produce up to 150 episodes a year, CES is scrambling to make the necessary adjustments.

 Implementation Difficulties

According to Chen, the new guidelines will be difficult to implement because there is no clear definition of terms, such as 'exaggerating' family conflicts.

According to Zhu Chunyang, an associate professor at Fudan Journalism School, it is still unclear how these guidelines will be implemented and who will be determining what is acceptable content. “These are questions that require further discussion and detail,” said Zhu.

                  Related Rules

Related SARFT Rules
July 9, 2012
SARFT tightens online video rules content
The country's top broadcasting and Internet watchdogs are to tighten oversight of online video content, including Internet dramas and microblog movies, demanding online content providers step up self-discipline to filter harmful content.
February 9, 2012 Foreign TV dramas restricted in China
The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) has announced new regulations regarding the broadcasting of overseas films and TV dramas.
January 1, 2012 Pulling the plug
In an effort to tackle vulgar entertainment TV programs, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued a new order in October 2011, equesting that all nationwide satellite TV channels readjust their programs, beginning January 1, 2012.
December, 2011 Dramas about time travel and historical court intrigues restricted in China
In December last year, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued regulations prohibiting dramas about historical court intrigues and time travel from being aired on TV during prime time.
November 18, 2011 SARFT issues regulation banning advertisements during TV dramas
The national broadcasting watchdog has issued new regulations on TV ads, banning any inserted into drama shows, which will take effect at the beginning of next year.
January 10, 2010 SARFT restricts TV shopping programs
Television stations won't be allowed to broadcast shopping programs for more than five hours a day on non-shopping channels, starting January 10, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) announced.
The effort is to crack down on deceptive and fraudulent television advertisements.

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