China TV cop says no to family conflict, historical hijinks

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 03, 2012 1:09 AM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese television may get more boring after the country's top broadcasting regulator issued six new guidelines banning remakes of foreign shows and demanding serials cut back on excessive family conflict and jokes in historical dramas.

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued the new guidelines recently and they were put into effect over the past few days, the state-run Beijing News reported.

Other guidelines include forbidding online games being adapted into television series and demanding that dramas on China's Communist revolution - a staple of the Chinese airwaves - clearly distinguish between heroes and villains.

Chinese online games are notorious for their graphic and violent content.

China periodically tries reining in its state-operated television channels, which increasingly have to rely on attracting advertisers and therefore viewers as government subsidies are reduced.

In 2002, Beijing pulled the plug on the Taiwan-made soap opera "Meteor Garden", fearing that the decadent lifestyle portrayed by boy band "F4" would corrupt young Chinese minds. China described the series as "electronic heroin".

Aside from the usual restrictions on sensitive topics like human rights or excessive violence, previous guidelines have also demanded television stations broadcast "healthier" content such as programs on public safety and housework.

China's bustling Internet scene has not been spared either.

Last month, Youku Inc and Tudou Holdings Co - Chinese versions of YouTube - saw their shares sink after the Chinese government ordered a crackdown on content it considers inappropriate.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Elaine Lies)