Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Censorship to increase in the PRC

RESTRICTED MEDIA Beijing's censorship is tightening as crucial anniversaries for the Cultural Revolution and Mao's death draw near

AFP , BEIJING

China has tightened censorship ahead of a list of sensitive anniversaries this year, ordering media companies to ask permission before tackling painful historical issues, state media said yesterday.

Issues to be handled with care by film, TV and radio artists include the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 and its end in 1976, and the death of communist founding father Mao Zedong (毛澤東) the same year, the Beijing Times said.

"Some audio and video products dealing with the Cultural Revolution did not have prior permission," an unnamed official with the General Administration of Press and Publication told the newspaper. "They went on to have a negative impact on society."

Rules governing films and TV shows dealing with sensitive historical issues in China have also been published by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and posted on its Web site.

"If the subject matter is sensitive in a political, military, diplomatic, religious, ethnic, judicial or educational sense, or deals with famous people, the opinion of an authority at the provincial level or above must be sought," the rules said.

In May, China weathered the 40th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution, an event that left a mark on almost every family in the nation, by permitting virtually no coverage in the mainstream media.

A large number of books have appeared, and continue to appear, on the subject, but they generally skirt the issue of the leadership's responsibility in allowing the turmoil to happen.

The Cultural Revolution is believed to have claimed millions of lives and pushed China to the brink of economic and social collapse.

The next sensitive anniversary will be on Sept. 9, when it will be 30 years since Mao died, prompting many Chinese to question the legacy of the man who more than anyone was instrumental in launching the Cultural Revolution.

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