Unlicensed foreign films and TV series will be removed from Chinese video streaming websites after Tuesday, which marked the deadline for sites to register overseas titles in accordance with a governmental stipulation.
Video streaming sites must apply for publication licenses for imported films and TV series they want to broadcast, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said in a circular dating back to September of last year.
"Without a publication license, no overseas films or TV series are allowed to stream online," it said, adding that works not registered in official records will be removed starting on Wednesday.
China's television channels rarely invest in broadcasting popular foreign series due to supervision barriers, budget concerns and a programming agenda that favors domestic productions. As a result, video streaming websites have been key providers of foreign TV shows for Chinese fans.
The order means Chinese websites will have to obtain an online audio and visual program distribution license to provide general video streaming services, and then obtain publication licenses for foreign films and TV series on a case-by-case basis.
Other rules that take effect on Wednesday include one issued by the China National Tourism Administration that calls for limits on traffic and entrance flows at tourist attractions that reach 80 percent of their visitor capacity.