People's Republic of China


Confucianism has deeply influenced Chinese social ideology. It focuses on human morality and good deeds. Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, philosophical, and quasi-religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the culture and history of China.

These are the main theories what Confucius focuses on:

It mainly covers four areas.

  1. Parent to child
  2. Husband to wife
  3. Elder to younger sibling
  4. Friend to friend

It is important to note that "ritual" has a different meaning in the context of Confucian, the acts that people tend to carry out in every day life are considered ritual.

Confucius' concept of humaneness is probably best expressed in the Confucian version of the (Ethic of reciprocity) Golden Rule: "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others;".

As the deeply influences of Confucianism on china’s social ideology for 2000 years, everything against the social ideology are not accepted by Chinese people. In terms of film censorship, films are banned as having content as following:

Prohibited Content in Films

  • Criticism against social order and government
  • Disruption on the unity of various ethnicities of the state
  • Endanger the sovereignty and territorial of the state.
  • Endanger security of the state; harm the public reputation and interests of the state.
  • Disrupt the unity of various nationalities of the state
  • Divulge a state secret
  • Advocate inappropriate sexual relationship; violate moral standard, or obscene content; having strong visual stimulation; tempt people degeneration
  • Advocate superstitious belief; offense against social order
  • Advocate violence; appeal people despise dignity of law; tempt crime; disrupt public security

Nudity and inappropriate sexual relationship are not accepted by Chinese ideology based on Confucianism as in mentioned before.

For 'disruption on the unity of various ethnicities of the state', China has got 56 ethnicities, which is a little bit confused by foreigners. 95% people which is the majorities of the whole population is Han. it is important to ban films advocate disruption on the unity of various ethnicities of the state, as China is a big country with ethnicities.

State Administration of Radio, Film and Television

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (广播电影电视总局) controls the content of all radio, television,films, satellite, and Internet broadcasts in China.

The process of producing films

  1. Submission to the Censorship Board for review
  2. Respond to Board’s suggestions for changes
  3. After changes are made accordingly, the producer is qualified to broadcast the film

The examine period for reviewing in the first step is 15 days, examine fees are based on government policy in different case. In second step, producers get response from censorship department for content should be modified. Last, after modification made accordingly, production will be sent back to review by censorship department. If content has been modified accordingly, you will then be certified to broadcast the film. In addition, if filmmakers who are not agree with the examination, they are allowed to apply for reviewing no later than 30 days of the first time submission.


Actually, there is no formal document from censorship department, but there is penalty for filmmakers who send films to international film festivals without going to the session in censorship department, or sending banned film to the international film festivals.

For example: Summer Palace(2006), which made by Chinese director Lou Ye, this is a banned film in China, but he sent it to 2006 Cannes international film festival, he was forbidden to make film in China for 5 years.

List of Banned Films in China

Local Films
1994: To live

  • It covers cultural revolutions which was the political sensitive topic in 1990’s
  • Having and negative review of cultural revolutions.

1993: Farewell, my concubine

  • Cultural revolutions
  • Homosexual plot

Foreign Films:
1997: Seven Years in Tibet

  • Disrupt the unity of various nationalities
  • Endanger the sovereignty
  • The view of a free Tibet is not based on the real history
  • The director David Thewlis and the main actor Brad Pitt are forbidden to enter China

2000: Devils on the Doorstep

  • Devils on the Doorstep, for its controversial portrayal of the Japanese Occupation of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War despite being a Chinese-made film

2005: Lara Croft Tomb Raider

  • The Cradle of Life, for its unflattering depictions of Chinese society

2006: Memoirs of a Geisha

  • Strike a sympathetic chord for Japan

2006: Brokeback Mountain

  • Homosexual relationship, scenes


As a whole, being a content producer, it is important to know and understand the process of producing films and how it works behind the process. In China’s case, great changes have been taken after 2001, due to the continuously opening the market and entering into WTO, censorship process has being modified as well, a lot of films banned before were released at the beginning of 21st century.


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