China mulls film law cutting red tape, targeting piracy

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-11-02 13:32:28

A new draft law aiming to strengthen the Chinese film industry by cutting red tape for filmmakers and cracking down on piracy, among other measures, was put before China's top legislature on Friday.

Though it was only the first reading of the draft, industry insiders have high hopes the draft can help bridge gaps in quality between domestic and foreign movies. Though China is the world's second-largest movie market, domestic films are hampered by a lack of resources and bureaucracy.

"This legislation can stimulate the industry, regulate irregularities and safeguard China's cultural security," said Cai Fuchao, head of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television at the start of the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress.

The law will revoke some filmmaking permits, simplify the process of regulatory reviews to which prospective scripts are subjected and make it easier to hold film festivals.

"In the near future, China is likely to become the largest movie market, so it is essential to bring in more private participation," said Pan Hua, a professor from Communication University.

A latecomer in modern filmmaking, China has quickly caught up with other countries in terms of market share. In the first nine months of 2015, Chinese cinema box offices took more than 30 billion yuan ($4.72 billion), more than the total for last year.

Under the draft law, filmmakers will get incentives in financing, taxation and land use.

China will support the film industry by setting aside funding and encouraging more investment in the industry. Tax cuts will be available for scriptwriting, filming, distribution, screening, and overseas promotion of domestic films, according to the draft.

The government will also encourage Chinese companies to invest overseas in collaboration with other film production companies and support building movie theaters.

"Movies are the most market-oriented and open cultural products but they face the most fierce competition from foreign rivals," said Yin Hong, director of the center for film and television at Tsinghua University.

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