China Extends Ban on SpongeBob

Just when it seemed that the Chinese regulators were going to warm up a little to Western shows, the country’s State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) is cracking down harder on imported toons, extending its prime-time ban on foreign shows by an hour: The block is now extended from 5 to 9 p.m. The officials are also demanding that local TV stations obtain the censor’s approval before airing hugely popular toon such as SpongeBob SquarePants and favorite manga imports from Japan.

Variety reports that SARFT has also increased the daily broadcast ratio to 7:3 for Chinese-made cartoons to local product. This is all part of a campaign to ‘provide a favourable environment for the innovation of China’s cartoon industry.’ Previous restrictions had expanded the output of local content and continuously improved the quality of works, it said. The number of minutes of domestic toons grew 23% last year.

These actions are part of China’s regular blackout periods of foreign movies and TV fare to help the domestic entertainment industry. However, many of the banned pics are available in pirate DVD shops in the major cities. In related news, China’s General Administration of Press and Publications demanded local TV networks to stop airing shows about ghosts and monsters which are used’for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror.” Harry Potter fans were relieved when they found out that their favorite wizard-in-training was excluded from this harsh ban! All of which makes us wonder where they stand on Casper the Friendly Ghost.