Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:
China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.
Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned. “There were points where we were shooting with a crew of 500 people,” said director Rob Cohen. “I’m not sure who was who or what, but knowing the way the system works, it’s completely clear that had we deviated from the script, it would not have gone unnoticed.”
Any little detail can be cause for blocking a movie. In The Karate Kid, SARFT didn’t like the fact that the villain was Chinese so the filmmakers had to change the story to make it acceptable. They took issue with Kung Fu Panda simply because the main character was a nationally treasured animal. Censors ordered nearly 15 minutes of footage to be cut from Men in Black 3 because the movie referred to Chinese censorship.