Sichuan Online, 1/08/08
Fang Li, producer of Lost in Beijing, recently returned to Beijing and has filed a letter of complaint to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). Fang explained that he felt SARFT's punishment of banning him from the film industry for 2 years is unfair, as he was the producer not the distributor of the movie. He added that both the first and third reason SARFT listed in the banning notice were unrelated to him, and, therefore, that the cancellation of the movie's distribution and projection license was too heavy a penalty.
Editor's Note: for details of SARFT's actions against "Lost in Beijing" and its makers, please see "SARFT Penalizes Makers of Film 'Lost in Beijing'," MD 1/03/08 issue.
LENS: Demonstrating how seriously it intends to enforce the new "Regulations for Online Audio and Video Services" (see "SARFT, MII Co-Issue Online Video Regulation," Marbridge Daily 12/29/07 issue), SARFT started the New Year by making an example of "Lost in Beijing" (see "SARFT Penalizes Makers of Film 'Lost in Beijing'," Marbridge Daily 1/03/08 issue).
The severity of the penalty is meant as a warning to other film and online video companies that they have pushed acceptable boundaries too far. Another film that is likely to be affected is Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution", the 7-minute R-rated cut clip of which has circulated widely on the Internet. Although Lust, Caution's international production team is out of SARFT's jurisdiction, SARFT can still require that the sex-related clip be removed from online video sites. The message the regulator wishes to broadcast is that the traffic gains video sites will make when featuring such content will be more than offset by the risks of serious punishment.
The warning seems, for the moment, to be working. Several studios have quickly changed marketing strategies for upcoming films, dropping suggestive posters and repositioning the new releases as "literary films". Most online video sites have also wasted little time removing the now-banned outtakes from "Lost in Beijing" and other films.