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'Unhealthy images' prompted re-editing

Updated: 2015-01-22 07:35
By Su Zhou (China Daily)

A senior official from China's television regulator said on Wednesday that "unhealthy images" are the reason a TV drama about the country's only known empress, Wu Zetian, was edited.

"We received many complaints from viewers after the TV series began airing, saying there were some unhealthy images for minors, among other problems," said Tian Jin, deputy director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

The administration investigated the TV drama, and the broadcaster and producer were ordered to re-edit it before bringing it back to TV, according to Tian.

The official said the re-edited version was well received by viewers, though there were some discussion online.

The drama, The Empress of China, also known as The Saga of Wu Zetian, began broadcasting on Dec 21, but was pulled off the air a week later by Hunan TV for "technical reasons".

When the 80-episode serial returned to the screen on the first day of 2015, scenes featuring actresses' low-cut dresses and corseted cleavages had been cut and replaced by close-up shots of their heads.

Zhang Hui, a freelance writer based in Shanghai, said she can understand the reason but she thinks the government should have done better in terms of vetting.

"Many friends weren't interested in this TV series at the beginning, but what the government has done triggered their interest and now all of them are watching this," said Zhang.

Cheng Manli, deputy dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University, said the administration should have explained this to the public earlier. "The explanation looked very arbitrary and subjective after such long speculation by the public," said Cheng. "Everything needs a legal basis. The vetting from the government also needs legal support."

Cheng said the government needs to have an understandable, operable management system in terms of censorship.

"You cannot take action based on every case, it is not convincing," added Cheng.

Cheng said it is a good opportunity for the government to consider introducing a rating system for TV and films.

"Rating is not a solution to everything, but right now it is a very promising direction that we can work on."

Xinhua contributed to this story.


(China Daily 01/22/2015 page4)

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