China’s 31 incentives, aimed at Taiwanese working in the nation’s film and television industry, because China still has an extensive examination and approval mechanism, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday.
Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) was asked by legislators about the possible impact of the incentives on Taiwan’s film, television and other cultural industries, while presenting a report at the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday.
The 31 incentives lift the restriction on the number of Taiwanese allowed to participate in Chinese radio broadcasts, films and television programs; lift the restriction on the number of Taiwanese productions to be imported; relax limitations on various aspects of cooperation in cross-strait productions; and shorten the time limit for examining and approving this type of productions.
“Last year China exported more than 10,000 TV drama episodes to Taiwan, while Taiwan only exported 79 episodes [to China], which demonstrates a serious imbalance,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.
“China’s 31 incentives for Taiwanese are aimed at directly recruiting talented professionals from us, so are we able to defend ourselves against this?” she asked.
Since the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement took effect, a large number of Chinese films and television series have been imported to Taiwan, Cheng said, adding that the import-export imbalance was primarily caused by China enforcing a strict examination procedure for foreign film and television dramas.
“The strict examination and approval mechanism makes it difficult for films and dramas produced in Taiwan to gain approval,” she said, adding that exporting Taiwanese films became even more difficult since the procedure was last year expanded from examining “content” to also approving “personnel.”
The ministry wants to remind production companies that there are risks in exporting films and TV programs to China, because it censors a substantial amount of the content, its underlying ideology and casting, unlike Taiwan’s free and creative environment, Cheng said.
“However, the 31 incentives show that China needs talented professionals from Taiwan, so we should strengthen the domestic industry environment, such as proposing a guaranteed rate for local content, improving the marketing channels for local content, and providing incentives to increase and improve domestic production,” Cheng said.
New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said that as large numbers of Chinese and South Korean films and television series are being imported, the minister should consider how much time and what kind of efforts would counter the situation.
The ministry’s cultural policies are not used to benefit or counter any particular nation’s creative industry, Cheng said, but added that South Korea’s policy for growing its content industry could serve as a reference for improving the local industry.
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