Editor's note: The final season of the Game of Thrones is airing on Tencent video site in China sans six minutes of scenes containing sex and violence. Why have Chinese video sites adopted such a cautious approach toward sex and violence in TV series and films? Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:
(MA XUEJING / CHINA DAILY)
Sex and violence scenes less acceptable in China
With no established ratings system, the airing of the Game of Thrones, complete with its portrayal of sex and violence, on the internet could have a harmful effect on children, especially teenagers. That's why Tencent chose to delete those scenes before airing them in China.
The Game of Thrones is known for its portrayal of violence and nudity to attract eyeballs. The popularity of the TV series, however, suggests there is a demand for such kind of contents. Yet the deletion of some scenes by Tencent does not harm the storyline or the overall quality of the TV series. Instead, Tencent's move will allow the audiences to enjoy the series without the gory and explicit sex scenes.
If video platforms delete some scenes from a TV series or a movie in accordance with the law and copyright protection regulations, they should not be criticized. Western audiences may welcome explicit portrayals of sex and violence in films and TV series, but Eastern societies, including Chinese society, are not ready to accept them - although some young Chinese may be more open to talk about it.
To differentiate between a truly artistic creation and a vulgar piece of work, the authorities should enact a specific law. And before such a law is formulated and implemented, they should strengthen supervision of video platforms.
Also, writers and directors of films and TV series should draw a line when it comes to giving prominence to sex and violence in their works, rather than randomly use them to titillate audiences and attract more viewers. Internet service providers, too, should exercise restraint and not air films and TV series that contain violent and explicit sex scenes.
There is also a need to improve the understanding of media outlets about the extent of sex and violence the movies and TV series they broadcast can contain.
Zeng Xiangmin, a professor at the Television School, Communication University of China
Ratings system critical to protecting children
TV shows and videos can influence children and the youth. While trying to imitate the scene of the "wolf roasting a goat" from the popular animation series Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, two boys, aged 4 and 7, suffered severe burns after being tied to a tree by their 10-year-old playmate in Jiangsu province in 2013.
The court ruling in the case, apart from holding the legal guardian of the underage defendant accountable, also held the animation studio responsible for the incident. Article 32 of the Law on Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency says films, TV series and dramas must not depict violence, sex, gambling and acts of terrorism, because they could harm the physical and mental health of juveniles.
Therefore, the existing regulations can play a big role in protecting children from sex and violence in films and TV series. But since China still does not have a standard ratings system for films and TV series that contain sex and violence, it should take measures to establish a foolproof system to distinguish between what is good for children and the youth, and what is not.
Wang Xingdong, vice-president of the China Film Association
The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS