Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2017: Jan-March



 Updated: Beastly homophobic film censors...

Beauty and the Beast effectively banned in Russia over gay scene but now unbanned in Malaysia


Link Here 22nd March 2017
Poster Beauty and the Beast 2017 Bill Condon Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 USA family musical romance by Bill Condon.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. IMDb

Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

Malaysian censors ordered cuts to the cinema release of Beauty and the Beast, removing what its creators say is a gay moment. Even after the cuts, the censors imposed a P13 rating (a 13A in UK terms). But according to a media report, Walt Disney decided anyway to shelve the film's Thursday release in the country.

Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Star Online the film has been approved with a P13 parental guidance classification, with a minor cut.

Since 2010 Malaysia's film censorship rules allow the depiction of gay characters, but only if those characters show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Meanwhile the Russian government has opted to give the film a rather unviable 16+ rating, a restrictive rating preventing children below that age from seeing the film.

Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the Culture Ministry's cinema department, told Russian entertainment site KinoPoisk.ru:

We will issue the film distribution license without any problems. The minimum age is 16+.

A 2013 Russian law bans promotion of homosexuality among minors. The law describes homosexuality as non-traditional sexual relations.

Update: Unbanned after Malaysia loses face

22nd March 2017 See  article from rappler.com

Malaysia flagDisney's movie Beauty and the Beast has won an appeal against censorship and will now be released uncut with a PG 13 rating.

Malaysian authorities had initially demanded cuts but Disney refused to oblige the censors, choosing to instead to appeal the decision

Disney have now won that appeal, a decision perhaps linked to some members of parliament questioning the need to censor the film, arguing that the debacle was giving Malaysia bad publicity.

 

 Update: Flaming row...

Myanmar complains that a Thai TV drama insults its historic royalty


Link Here 14th March 2017  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
ladys flamesThailand, who have a repressive lese majeste law, which metes out extreme punishments for minor criticisms of royalty, has been accused of insulting Myanmar's historic royalty.

A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar's last king. Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is insulting . He told AFP:

We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country.

But producers of the historical drama, called Plerng Phra Nang (A Lady's Flames) , have insisted it is purely fictional.

The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom. Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw could ascend the throne. Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.

 

 Update: Total thought control...

China bans the sales of foreign books without the express approval of the state


Link Here 11th March 2017  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship

China flagIn the next step in the Chinese government's quest for total thought control it has issued a ban on the sale of foreign publications without an import permit.

The new rules came into effect on the online shopping platform Taobao on Friday banning sellers from offering overseas publications. Taobao said the change, which also includes foreign services relating to publications, will enter into force on March 10, 2017.

An employee who answered the phone at Taobao said the ban included books, movies, and games that hadn't already been given government approval:

If it comes from overseas, then basically, it's not allowed, for the time being at least. Any imported publications will need an import certificate under this system, and they need to be reported to the authorities. Only then can they be sold.

Pan Lu, of the Hubei-based rights group Rose China, said the administration of President Xi Jinping is currently tightening control over every aspect of public discourse. Pan said:

They are clamping down on ideology and public opinion. They can't afford to allow a pluralistic value system to seep into China via the consumer market for foreign publications.

The Chinese Communist Party is terrified that its own single-party ideology is bankrupt, and it is trying to shore up its grip on power by controlling what people think.

Hangzhou-based writer Zan Aizong said the new rules would make it much harder for people to get hold of foreign literature:

This will mean that people will have to resort to selling it on the quiet, because if you are found at the border to have political books in your bag, you will be detained, Zan said.

It's very hard to get books into the country from overseas.

He said the only option left will be to try to download e-books from outside the complex network of blocks, filters, and human censorship known as the Great Firewall.

 

  Last in the world...

Japan criminalises the possession of child porn


Link Here 1st March 2017
Japan flagEarlier this month, Japan's Parliament passed a bill to ban the possession of child pornography. Anyone caught with pornographic videos or photographs of children can be sent to jail for a year and fined the equivalent of US $10,000.

International pressure has been building in Japan for years to tighten its pornography laws. Japan did ban production of such pornography back in 1999, but it took the country 15 more years to ban possession.

Among the Organization for Economic and Co-operation Development countries, Japan is the last to make possession illegal.

Interestingly, legislators decided to allow people to continue to possess anime and manga cartoons that depict children in sexualized scenes; publishers and lawyers in Japan agreed that any restrictions or censorship on those materials would bump up against free speech rights.

 

 Update: Not a threat...

Metallica censored in China


Link Here 27th February 2017  full story: Performers Censored in China...Quick to ban and censor star performers from the west
Metallica: Cunning Stunts DVD Heavy metal band Metallica's concerts in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai had certain songs removed from their setlists due to China's censorship policies, reported the South China Morning Post.

Metallica frontman James Hetfield told the newspaper:

Why shouldn't you respect their culture when you're there as a guest and you've been invited to play? We want to be respectful, and just because we do things differently, it doesn't mean it should be forced upon [others]. But hopefully we'll keep coming back and they'll realise we're not a threat politically and we have no agenda except to cross boundaries with music and let people enjoy the songs. We're not trying to bring a secret message to anybody.

 

  But still the censorship is gratuitous...

Vietnam introduces a new film censorship process with 4 ratings available


Link Here 11th February 2017
Vietnam flagVietnam has adopted a new film censorship regime that has age related categories including for the first time, an 18 adults only rating.

The new system commenced in 2017 and includes four categories: (P) general audiences and a series of age based rankings C13, C16 and C18.

Officials will classify films based on levels of gore, profanity, violence, nudity and sex displayed, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The ministry said it will also consider a film's drug-related content, which must suit a film's content or carry an anti-drug message.

Gratuitous drug-related content will continue to be censored. Censors will likewise permit sex and violence in C18 films so long as it is not gratuitous in nature. However sex and violence, considered mainstream in most countries, in movies such as Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick 2 is obviously deemed gratuitous in Vietnam.  Both films seem to have run into censor trouble.

General Audience films (rated category P) will not contain any horrific, violent or sexual content; they will not make any reference to drug use or production.

Last year, film censors in Vietnam proposed a controversial ban on sex scenes that lasted over five seconds in local films, and full-frontal female nudity. The rules were not officially included in the official rating system for 2017.

Vietnam's cinemas previously used just two ratings, G for general viewers and NC16 for viewers aged 16 and up.

 

 Offsite Article: Asking the right questions...


Link Here 5th February 2017
OFLC New Zealand logo New Zealand film censors commission survey to find that there is widespread public concern about content such as sex and violence in entertainment media, particularly amongst parents

See article from classificationoffice.govt.nz

 

 Offsite Article: A big girl's blouse...


Link Here 2nd February 2017  full story: Games censorship in New Zealand...Gal*Gun video game banned
Gal*Gun: Double Peace New Zealand censor tries to justify his ban of the video game Gal*Gun: Double Peace

See article from thespinoff.co.nz

 

  Licensed to control...

Thai journalists protest at a new media censorship body being set up by the junta


Link Here 30th January 2017
journalists protestThai media organisations have issued a joint statement against the media regulation bill, calling on the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) to drop the draft and threatening to step up their opposition to the measures until their voices are heard.

At the Thai Journalists Association office, scores of media practitioners gathered yesterday to discuss the contentious censorship bill and show resistance to the NRSA's media reform panel.

The statement denounced the bill as restricting press freedom by opening the way for state authorities to interfere in the media's affairs through the so-called Media Professional Council.  The statement was endorsed by 30 media organisations including the Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, and Society of Online News Providers, plus regional groups such the Network of Southern Journalists and Network of Northern Journalists.

The Media Professional Council, a key feature of the proposed bill, would play a crucial role in regulation of the press It would be made up of 13 members, four of whom would be permanent secretaries from the Office of the Prime Minister, plus the Finance, Culture and the Digital Economy and Society ministries.

Confederation of Thai Journalists president Thepchai Yong pointed out that the permanent secretary is nominally a civil service post  but it is appointed by politicians. So, they would be nothing but politicians' proxies.

The council could revoke a group's licence if practitioners failed to comply with regulations. Thepchai said the balance of power would be lost if politicians could check and scrutinise the press when it should be the other way around, with the media scrutinising politicians.

If the bill is backed by the NRSA, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly for consideration.

 

 Update: Emasculated with censor's scissors...

New Zealand miserablists think the censorship of jokes on Wicked Campervans has been effective


Link Here 21st January 2017  full story: Wicked Campervans...Un polictically correct adverts wind up Australian and New Zealand authorities
wicked van virginWicked Campers are known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on homourous slogans plastered across its vehicles.

But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw New Zealand's Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed. Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson said:

They are not like they used to be 12 months ago. It think they have toned it down.

The film censor's ban meant that the specific vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.

Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park, leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed:

All the bad ones had disappeared. I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here. I saw two in the last two weeks and there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't offensive.

 

  Not difficult enough!...

New Zealand film censors ban the video game Gal*Gun Double Peace


Link Here 20th January 2017  full story: Games censorship in New Zealand...Gal*Gun video game banned
Gal*Gun: Double Peace Gal*Gun Double Peace is a Japanese shooter action game from PQube

A Japanese rail shooter where the player assumes the role of Houdai Kudoki, a high-schooler who has no luck with girls. A cupid-type angel accidentally shoots Houdai with a laser that condenses all of Houdai's romantic opportunities (for the rest of his life) into the next day. Houdai must use a pheromone shot to give the girls euphoria which subdues them and allows him to confess to his true love.

The game has just been banned by the New Zealand film censors of the OFLC who issued the following reason for the ban:

The game tends to promote and support the sexual exploitation of children and young persons, and the use of coercion in relation to sexual conduct. It depicts young female high-school students in a way that emphasises their sexual availability. For example, doki-doki mode involves the player touching and rubbing the girls to bring them to a state of euphoria , essentially a sort of orgasm. The game also continuously frames high school students as sexually compliant objects to be fetishized and touched regardless of their consent.

The game's lack of difficulty further supports the idea that the intention of this game is for the titillation and arousal of the player, rather than gameplay mastery. It is therefore likely not only to attract people with a prurient interest in young persons, but also to reinforce the belief that a sexual interest in young persons is acceptable, which contributes to their sexual exploitation in wider society.

The game is M rated by the ESRB in the US (17+) and 16 rated by PEGI in Europe.

 

  Undemocratic censorship...

China blacklists 55 artists for their political allegiances


Link Here 18th January 2017
Hocc 06-Our Time Has Come By Denise Ho China has blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable.

Works by some pop artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan disappeared from Chinese major streaming services, reported Global Times.

One artist on the list, Hong Kong singer Denise Ho, started seeing her music disappear from Chinese streaming services in September 2016. Trouble began for the singer in 2014 when she joined the pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign in Hong Kong (also known as the Umbrella Movement) and became the first celebrity to be arrested for her activism in the movement.

Taiwanese punk band Fire EX also made it on the list. The band had created songs for Taiwan's 2014 Sunflower Student Movement that protested a trade agreement with mainland China that protestors claimed would leave Taiwan economically vulnerable to Chinese pressure.

The blacklist also bans film directors and actors, eight Japanese artists, three US artists, one Australian band, one band from the Czech Republic, one Korean band, one Romanian band, and one Chinese band in exile. US punk band Strike Anywhere and Japanese punk rock band Softball were both part of an annual concert in Taiwan that is known for its anti-China stance.

 

 Update: Miserable Philippines...

Philippines blocks Porhub after report shows its popularity in the country


Link Here 18th January 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
pornhub logoPopular pornography websites XVideos, Redtube and Pornhub have been blocked by two ISPs in the Philippines.

Customers of Smart and Sun Cellular have already been blocked and others are set to follow.

The Philippines government has not given any official explanation of why the sites have suddenly been blocked. However, the country's National Telecommunications Commission confirmed to CNN that it had ordered all the nation's ISPs to block access from 14 January,

The censorship seems to have been triggered by a report from Pornhub suggesting that their customers in the Philippines spent the longest average time on its site, (12 minutes and 45 seconds, about three minutes longer than the global average).

 

 Update: Western subversion blocked...

Chinese Government orders the censorship of the New York Times Apple app


Link Here 5th January 2017  full story: Press Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news
new york times logo On December 23, Apple removed the Chinese versions of the newspaper's apps as well as their English counterparts in an act of compliance with a censorship order from the Chinese government.

An Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz issued this statement to TechCrunch:

For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store.

Though it's hardly alone in reporting critically on the Chinese government, the New York Times did publish a critical look at a " a seven-and-a-half-minute phantasmagoria of the Communist Party's nightmares of Western subversion " one day prior to when the apps were pulled.

 

 Offsite Article: Demystifying New Zealand's Classification System...


Link Here 2nd January 2017
OFLC New Zealand logo How New Zealand tries to keep down film censorship costs by accepting lower categories from other countries, but notes that films are still 'soft banned' when censorship costs make distribution unviable

See article from nzgamer.com