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DV Management Regulation in the People’s Republic of China

In the New York Times article “Indie Filmmakers: China’s New Guerillas” reporter Kirk Semple mentions an “undefined gray area” in which today’s digital independent filmmakers work under the close watch (and occasional intervention) of the government. As a background information resource, we have procured and translated the official government statement concerning the monitoring of digital video work in China, issued in 2004, and referred to whenever a party is prosecuted for making, distributing or exhibiting illegal films in China.

Notice on Strengthening DV Management in Theater, Television and on the Internet” was officially issued on May 24th, 2004 by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The following is a translation of its main part:

As DV technology gradually becomes popular among social organizations and individuals, DV works have become a content source for video/audio programs on television and the internet. While most of these works are healthy and positive, some feature obscure or passive subject matters. Moreover, some individuals or organizations even send this kind of works to international film festivals, and cause negative impact. The Notice is to strengthen the management of DV broadcast.
  1. TV stations, internet websites, and digital theaters must submit all DV works by individuals or social organizations to the censorship of “Radio and Television Management Regulation” and “Film Management Regulation” before their broadcast. Works against these regulations or with “unhealthy taste or problematic subject or direction” should be forbidden. Works touching religion, ethnicity (minzu), or other sensitive social concerns must consult “relevant regional authorities” before their broadcast. Those with dubious concerns or possible negative social impact should not be aired.

  2. The broadcast of DV works should follow the same regulations as those for films and TV programs. They must obtain “Permission to Broadcast Video/Audio Programs on the Internet” to go online, and follow “Film Management Regulations” to be screened in theaters. Anyone wishing to organize regional or national DV contests or festivals must report to the provincial Administration for Radio, Film, and TV. Organization of international DV festivals must obtain the permission of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

  3. All DV works must obtain the “TV Drama Distribution Permission” or “Film Public Screening Permission” before participating in overseas film festivals or contests. Any individual or organization submitting DV works to overseas film festivals without the above permission, and causing negative impact, would face a three-year ban from the screening of their DV works on all domestic TV stations, internet websites or digital theaters. The individual or organization will be also banned from any film or TV production for three years.


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