China: Open letter against film censorship rules

In an open letter to the Chinese authorities, the award-winning film director Xie Fei accuses his country’s censorship rules of ‘killing artistic exploration’. He urges the Chinese censors to give clearer rules on banned topics.

It “has only become a corrupt black spot for controlling the prosperity of the cultural and entertainment industry, killing artistic exploration and wasting administrative resources,” wrote the 70-year-old professor at Beijing Film Academy in his open letter on his Sina Weibo account.

He believes that China’s censorship system “long ago lost its real social, economic, ideological and cultural significance.” Xie Fei therefore urges censors to “move from the current administrative review system to a rating system that allows for a self-governed and self-disciplined film industry, bound by legal restrictions and administrative supervision.”

Xie Fei’s film ‘Woman Sesame Oil Maker’ won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear prize in 1993, but he has not made a film since ‘Song of Tibet’ in 2000.


South China Morning Post – 18 December 2012:
Director slams unwritten film censorship rules in mainland
Mainland director Xie Fei made a scathing attack on film censorship, saying “unwritten rules” against taboo subjects in movies stifled the industry. By Laura Zhou.

South China Morning Post – 17 December 2012:
Director calls for new China film rating system
Famous Chinese film director Xie Fei published an open letter on the internet on Saturday, making a case for the replacement of China’s current censoring mechanism with a motion picture rating system. By Peony Lui

BBC News – 17 December 2012:
Director Xie Fei says China censorship is ‘killing’ art
Award-winning Chinese director Xie Fei has accused his country’s censorship rules of “killing artistic exploration” in an open letter to authorities.



ARTICLE 19 / IFEX – 23 October 2012:
Report on freedom of artistic expression in China – 19 December 2012:
Iran: Censorship kills cinema, says acclaimed Iranian film director

More articles about China on


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