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Chinese want watershed for films and TV shows

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A FLYING dagger stabs a Japanese soldier in the heart. Another fighter has his neck slit by a Chinese secret agent. Others are shot at close range, gassed or drowned. Like war dramas everywhere, "Royalty in Blood", a 36-part television series about the war between China and Japan from 1937-45, is pretty gory. Yet unlike elsewhere, the on-screen violence is not just for adult viewers. It is aired each week at 7.35pm, the most popular television-watching hour, when even very young children in China have yet to go to bed.

英媒称, 一把飞刀刺中日本兵的心脏。另一名战士被中国特工割喉。其他人有的被近距离射杀,有的被毒气熏死,有的被溺亡。跟其他战争剧一样,36集抗战连续剧《异镇》相当血腥。然而,跟在其他地方一样,荧屏上的暴力并不仅限成人收看。每个星期它都在晚上7点35分开播,那是电视黄金时段,中国哪怕是年幼的儿童也还没有上床睡觉。


All films and TV shows are vetted by a government committee. Oddly, however, China has no ratings system to denote a film's suitability for certain age-groups. It has no TV "watershed" either, as many countries do, dividing the day into family-oriented programming and late-night viewing with more adult content. Violent TV dramas are sometimes shown on public transport. Ticket sales at cinemas increased nearly 50% in the first 11 months of 2015 on the previous year to reach $6.3 billion, a total surpassed only by America. Yet questions are often raised about whether films are safe and appropriate for children, who can watch any of them.

所有电影和电视节目都要经过政府的一个委员会审核。然而奇怪的是,中国没有分级制度来标明一部电影适合哪个年龄群体。它也不像很多国家那样有电视"分界线"把每天分成面向家庭的节目时间段和成人内容较多的深夜节目时间段。暴力电视剧有时甚至在公共交通工具上播放。2015年前11个月,电影票销售额同比上升50%达到63亿美元,总数仅次于美国。所有电影都允许孩子观看,但常常有人质疑它们是否适合孩子。


The government does not want ratings or a watershed because it does not want to be seen to be permitting sex and violence for anyone. Its constraints on what may appear on screen represent a laundry list of the state's anxieties. Content must not "endanger" China's unity, security or honour. It also should not "twist" history, feature explicit sex or gambling, advocate "the supremacy of religion" or "meticulously describe fortune-telling". Playing up violence is prohibited, in theory.

政府不想要分级制度也不想要分界线,因为无论对谁,它都不希望被认为允许色情和暴力。它对影视内容的限制体现了政府的种种焦虑。影视内容不得"危害"中国的统一、安全和荣誉。它也不应"歪曲"历史,有露骨的性爱或赌博镜头,鼓吹"宗教至上"或"细致描写看相算命、求神问卜"。从理论上讲,渲染暴力是被禁止的。

But to attract adult audiences, makers of film and TV entertainment often like to push the boundaries of what the Communist Party regards as good taste. And even the prudish standards of the censors are sometimes flexible enough to allow content that might shock children, who are just as impressionable in China as anywhere else. In apparent response to demand from anxious parents, a handful of cinemas in the far western province of Xinjiang introduced their own unofficial ratings in 2014.

但是,为了吸引成人观众,电影和电视娱乐节目制作者常常喜欢试着突破共产党关于高品位的界定。就连审查机构的标准有时也足够灵活,以至于允许会对孩子造成冲击的影视内容,而中国的孩子跟其他所有地方的孩子一样易受影响。显然是由于忧心忡忡的父母们提出要求,新疆的几家影院在2014年推出了他们自己的非官方分级制度。

Censors' shockability has varied over time. The first Communist-era on-screen kiss was a peck on the cheek in "Romance on Lushan Mountain" in 1980, the year that Richard Gere appeared naked in "American Gigolo", among the first Hollywood films to feature full-frontal male nudity. China has relaxed a bit since: for a while, one film fan had a blog called "Research Centre for Nipples in Chinese Films".

审查机构对冲击的接受程度随着时间的推移而改变。共产党执政时期的第一个银幕之吻是1980年《庐山恋》中在脸颊上的轻轻一吻,那一年,理查·基尔在《美国舞男》中全裸出镜,它是好莱坞最早展示男性正面裸体的影片之一。此后,中国的管制稍稍放松。

However, prudishness has revived in recent years. The nude scene in "Titanic", a Hollywood film, was screened intact in China in 1998, for example, but removed from the 3D version released in 2012. Heaving bosoms have been blacklisted too: in the past year two popular TV dramas have been forced to re-edit shots that include plunging necklines and to zoom in on the actresses' faces instead (movies involving such filming techniques are referred to scathingly as "big-head" ones). Online streaming sites, which previously had often succeeded in escaping the censors' attention, are coming under closer scrutiny. 

好莱坞影片《泰坦尼克号》中的裸戏在1998年进入中国时完整保留,但2012年在中国上映3D版时被删除。丰乳也被列入黑名单:过去一年里有两部热播电视剧被迫重新剪辑包括低领口在内的镜头,转而把镜头对准女演员的脸(涉及这种拍摄手法的电影被刻薄地称为"大头照"影片)。以前常常成功逃脱审查机构注意的在线流媒体站点正受到日益严格的检视。


Moral strictures are not applied equally. Regulators warn against "displaying excessive drinking, smoking and other bad habits", for example, yet smoking is routine on Chinese screens. One blockbuster released in 2015, "Gone with the Bullets", had to delay its premiere, probably because it had to adjust some of its sexually suggestive content. But it featured 45 smoking scenes—around one every three minutes.

道德责难并未一视同仁。例如,监管部门告诫不得展示酗酒、吸烟等不良生活习惯,但吸烟镜头在中国的荧屏上司空见惯。2015年的大片《一步之遥》一度推迟首映,可能是因为片方不得不调整某些有性暗示的内容。但它却有45个吸烟场景,差不多每三分钟就有一个。

Censors more often pounce if the context is not related to China's military heroism. A Japanese anime film, "Attack on Titan", was pulled from the Shanghai film festival in June, probably because of its violent content. A children's cartoon, "Pleasant Goat and the Big, Big Wolf", a Chinese "Tom and Jerry", was criticised by state media in 2013 for its "vulgar" language and violent images; they said that the wolf was assaulted with a frying pan over 9,500 times in his attempt to bring a sheep home for his wife to cook. There were no apparent objections to the gender stereotypes.

审查机构更多时候关注的是影视内容是否与中国的军人英雄主义有关。今年6月,日本动漫电影《进击的巨人》被上海电影节拒之门外,可能是因为其暴力内容。儿童动画片《喜羊羊与灰太狼》在2013年被官方媒体批评语言"低俗"和有暴力图像。

2016-06-23

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