History, Plots and the Tomb

Visualising China's film-script censorship and keyword trend in six years.


In China, in order to screen publicly, any kind of films/videos would need to get the permission by submitting a summary or the full text of script to The State Administration of Radio Film and Television.

For those plots that involves foreign relations, ethnicities, religion, military affairs, public security, famous historical persons & famous cultural persons or any other senstive materials in the script, the authority would advice the author to change or modify them.

After few weeks or longer time vary from case to case, a film-script would receive three kinds of results for its application: Approved, Approved with revision or Approved in principle, which is an euphemism of the problems that are not completly "wrong".

Some Big Data

From 2011 to 2016:

Averagly 3000 scripts were submitted per year to the The State Administration of Radio Film and Television. In Total 18033 film-scripts.

Among them, 86% were feature films. Others were cartoon, documentories, educational films and special usage films.11225 script writers and 9552 production companies were involved.

Changes & Those Who were Changed

The filter were eased through the years. Foreign co-operated films used to be the biggest target for censorship.

Film-Scripts in Types and Review Results in %

The filter were loosen since 2011 while around 12% of feature films would still be modified each year.

Film-Scripts in Types, 2011-16

China's movie industry received a boom in 2014.
Clink on 'Feature Film' to see how it surpasses the rest kinds of films.

Top 6 Film Prodiction Companies that Received most Revision

Hunan Xiaoxiang the Second Pictures Co.,Ltd

Low-budget film production company based in Hunan province.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
13 / 25

Scripts that were modified:
Young Leifeng (青年雷锋) etc.

Xiaoxiang Film Group (潇湘电影集团有限公司)

Another company of Hunan province. Usually produces "red" theme films that praises the heroic behaviours of
the War of Liberation.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
23 / 61

Scripts that were modified:
The Legend of 1935 (领袖1935), etc.

Bona Film Group Limited (博纳影业集团有限公司)

The first Chinese film company that is listed on Nasdaq Stock Market of New York City.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
18 / 41

Scripts that were modified:
The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom (白发魔女传之明月天国), Sword Master (三少爷的剑) etc.

Le Vision Pictures (乐视影业(北京)有限公司)

Many big foreign co-produced films were made under this company. eg. the Great Wall (长城). Experienced financial crisis early this year.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
15 / 34

Scripts that were modified:
L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties (爵迹) etc.

China Film Group Corporation (中国电影股份有限公司)

State-owned film enterprise. It is also one of the only two institutions in China that can import films.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
28 / 116

Scripts that were modified:
American Dreams in China (中国合伙人), Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城) etc.

Huayi Brothers Media Group Co.,Ltd (华谊兄弟传媒股份有限公司)

One of the biggest and most influencial film production and entertainment company in China.

Modified scripts / total submitted:
14 / 55

Scripts that were modified:
Mojin: The Lost Legend (寻龙诀), Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (狄仁杰之神都龙王) etc.

The Mysterious Content that Would be Crossed

an example:

The Plot:

"The criminal, knowing that police would set many customs passes on the streets after the robbery, therefore choose to find a safe place in the city instead of slipping away."

The Result:

Revision needed: this plot over exaggerates the criminal's ability and makes the police lack of efficiency in front of emergency situation, which is untrue.

"Culture" & "History"

Keywords for certain types films.

Foreign Co-produced Films' Keywords:
the Shift of Focus

Movie stars and pop singers from North Korea has long been loved by Chinese fans. In 2014, after the hot TV series My Love from the Star, many Chinese film companies started to cooperate with North Korean stars.

However, that changed after the STARFT put out a series of relugations, banning Korean stars from performing or doing business in China.

In 2016, very few names of locations were mentioned in the scripts of foreign co-produced films.

Most Frequently Used Words in Documentories by Years

The End

Credits: Movie by Focus from the Noun Project; Piktochart; Tagxedo

Sources: SARFT Announcements of Film-Script Review Results, Chinafilm.org