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China will ban artists with criminal records

2014-10-10 13:16 China.org.cn Web Editor: Li Yan

An official document revealed online on Wednesday confirmed the widely circulated rumor that China's top media regulator will ban all actors and other creative professionals who have criminal or dirty records.

The document, dated Sept. 29 and issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, asked TV stations and film companies of all levels to urgently ban actors, directors and screen writers who have records of misdeeds.

"For some time, some screen writers, directors and actors have been detained by the police for their illegal activities and wrongdoings, such as using narcotics and hiring prostitutes," the document stated. "As public figures, they corrupted social trends, damaged the images of their industry, caused bad social influence and will especially hinder the healthy growth of youth."

The notice instructed broadcasting organizations at all levels not to invite artists with a history of drug use and prostitution solicitation to participate in the production of films or TV and radio programs. Programs which hype the illegal activities of artists and celebrities in any way will also not be allowed to air. All TV dramas, films, broadcasting programs and advertisements which feature any of these "dirty" artists in leading roles or as major creators shall be suspended.

The state administration's instructions also stipulate that network playback services, video-on-demand services and all movie theaters across the nation shall suspend the airing of films, TV programs and TV series in which "dirty" artists, professionals and/or creators are involved as major participants. Any mini movies, Internet-broadcast dramas and other broadcasting programs similarly linked to such artists shall also be suspended.

The document even requested that media companies suspend international trade in all films, TV shows and programs that feature "dirty" artists.

Actor Jaycee Chan, son of kung fu megastar Jackie Chan, and Taiwan-born actor Kai Ko were detained for smoking marijuana by Beijing police in August. Several high-profile figures were also arrested for drug use during the first half of 2014, including singer Li Daimo, director Zhang Yuan, actors Gao Hu, Zhang Mo and Roy Cheung, and screen writer Ning Caishen. Award-winning director Wang Quan'an was also detained on suspicion of paying for sex in September, while TV actor Huang Haibo was detained by police after being caught with a prostitute in a Beijing hotel.

At least four upcoming film projects will be affected by Jaycee Chan and Kai Ko's drug case, including "The Monk" by Chinese director Chen Kaige, "Tiny Times 4" by writer-turned-director Guo Jingmin, "A Choo" by Kevin Ko and Peter Tsi and "Monster Hunt" by Raman Hui. Jaycee Chan made a cameo appearance in "The Monk," while Ko stars in the other three films.

"Monster Hunt" had scheduled a promotional press event for this Thursday, but after receiving this notice, the Hong Kong-based movie company EDKO Film Ltd. canceled the event, saying that they "need time to discuss the content of the notice." And according to previous media reports, more than 10 advertisers may also seek damages from Ko.

Guo Jingmin, said the scenes of Kai Ko in "Tiny Times 4" may also be partially or completely deleted. Another one of Ko's films, "A Choo," was scheduled for October release, but that release has now been canceled.

A TV series penned by screenwriter Ning Caishen will also be affected by the new policies. Ning has not yet given a public response to the notice.

As Jaycee Chan is still in custody, his father Jackie Chan has already appeared as a substitute in a TV commercial which was supposed to feature his son. Jaycee Chan's cameo in the movie "The Monk" is also on the chopping block.

Zhang Mo and Gao Hu's new TV series will also be effected.

The public reaction to the ban on social media was mixed, as many applauded the notice's decisions, but some also worried that the notice is too harsh, since some affected TV programs and projects are already in the final production phase or promotion phase. Film and program creators cannot possibly know what wrongdoings actors and artists will commit in the future when they sign them. Some observers and industry insiders have argued that other actors and huge creative teams have poured all their efforts into these projects, and it is not fair to ban and punish a whole project because of one individual's mistakes. The notice does not include other moral wrongdoings by some artists and actors, such as extramarital affairs, as misdeeds which will lead to a ban.

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