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China Bans Foreign Cartoons From Primetime

Chinas State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has issued a new notice stating that no TV stations will be allowed to broadcast foreign cartoons before 8:00 pm, starting from Sept. 1, 2006, reports various news sources. Chinas primetime programming hours are 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

The notice was not published on SARFT's website, but staff at Southwest China's Guizhou Provincial Television Station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to CHINA DAILY that they received it more than two months ago.

This move to bolster Chinese animation comes the 2004 notice that stated that domestic animation should take up no less than 60% of all the cartoons shown on each channel each season. In 2000, SARFT demanded that all foreign animations get approval before being broadcast on Chinese TV. Since 2004 the government has built 15 animation firms around the country.

In 2005, nearly 40,000 minutes of animation were made, which is more than the total in the 11 years from 1994 to 2004.

Despite this growth, some industry insiders doubt whether the government's nurturing efforts will promote the sustainable development of the domestic animation industry.

"After all it is creativity, rather than money, that has been lacking in animation in China," said Xu Jiang, president of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, where dozens of animation production studios have been set up in recent years.

Produced in large quantities, Chinese cartoons are sold at less than 1% of their cost, according to the XINHUA NEWS AGENCY. Many Chinese TV stations pay only 10 yuan ($1.25) per minute for domestic animation, while they will pay as much as 5,000 yuan ($625) per minute for foreign produced shows.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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