The recent Chinese thriller "The House That Never Dies" scared young viewers at the cinema to tears.[Photo/IC]
A cinema in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, has begun refusing children entry to films it deems unsuitable for minors.
While China has no national film-rating system, the Urumqi branch of the China Film theater chain now rates movies shown on its six screens as "G" (all ages admitted) or "PG-13" (parents of children under 13 are strongly cautioned).
The policy has been applied since Aug 3, after Chinese thriller "The House That Never Dies" scared young viewers at the cinema to tears, disturbing other audience members.
"Our cinema is located in a residential area, which means more children are brought here by their parents, especially during summertime when kids are on a two-month vacation," said Yao Lin, executive manager of the cinema.
But Yao also said it had not been easy to rate films because "there were neither legal grounds nor operational approaches."
According to ticket sellers in the cinema, many customers were initially confused or even outraged when they were blocked from buying tickets to "The House That Never Dies" for their children. "But as we put up more boards advertising the new rule and included the rating of each film on the LED screen, most parents showed their understanding and support," said one member of staff.
Zhang Hao, a customer waiting in the foyer of the cinema, was in favor of the ratings. "My 11-year-old boy has begun to imitate inappropriate actions from cartoons he saw on TV, let alone motion pictures on the big screen," he said.
In countries with a mature motion picture rating system such as the United States and Japan, government censors or industry committees shoulder responsibility for classifying films with regard to suitability for audiences. Hong Kong also has a classification system carried out by a film censorship authority. But the Chinese mainland still lacks such a system.
In line with a memorandum of understanding regarding film industries in China and the United States, more imported movies are likely to be introduced to Chinese audiences. Yao said it was therefore more important than ever to set up a rating system to guide parents.