BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities have
completed drafting the country's long-discussed motion picture industry law
which includes a movie rating system, a government official said.
"A film rating system is very essential in China, but it will not allow to screen movies rated Level Three," Tong Gang, director of Motion Picture Bureau with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) was quoted as saying by a report on Web site of Ministry of Culture.
Level Three, or III, is one of the three-tier ratings used for movies containing sex or violent contents in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. No one under 18 years old is permitted to rent, purchase or watch such a film in movie theater.
A movie rating system in China has been discussed for years since the people have begun to an enjoy an increasing number imported films and a booming domestic film market.
The system was expected to launch in 2005 as a part of the draft law, but the National People's Congress, top legislature, had not passed such a law.
The director said the draft of the law had recently been finished and was submitted by the SARFT to the State Council, China's cabinet. He did not reveal that whether the NPC's annual session this year would review or approve the draft law.
"The government has been conducting discussion, investigation and opinion solicitation to establish a rating system," Tong said, "but our system will be definitely different from those in other countries or regions."
Tong said he had supported a movie rating system in China when he was interviewed by a TV program in Singapore and he expressed a will to take Hong Kong's rating system as a reference during a visit to the SAR.
"However, my utterance has been overexplained and even distorted by some media reports," Tong said.
"A rating system in China will not mean that we will allow depictions of porn or violence in the movies for sales and screen," he said.
Without a rating system in the movie industry, the SARFT censors all domestic or imported movies applying for public sales or screening in China by issuing licenses for movies that do not contain politically sensitive contents.
Even the homegrown movie director Zhang Yimou has failed censorship standards for his production To Live in 1994, which contains content depicting the Cultural Revolution. It was mostly rated PG in overseas markets.
According to Tong, the SARFT will work out a specific regulation of the rating system within this year. "The system is not an easy issue in China and must be adapted to the characteristics of the country."
Chinese movie's total box office in 2008 reached 4.34 billion yuan (629 million U.S. dollars), a more than 30 percent increase over the previous year, according to the movie bureau.
Chinese home-produced movies contributed around 60 percent of the total box office, one of the top ten in the world.