Chinese censors have cut love scenes from “Cold Mountain” before its arrival on the country’s screens in April, regulators said Tuesday.
Scenes excluded were “not in accord with national conditions, not in accord with Chinese tradition and not in accord with Chinese customs,” said a spokesman for the State Administration for Broadcasting, Movie and Television Administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
China has opened its market gradually to foreign films under terms of its 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization and this year will permit about 50 imported movies — up from just 10 in 2002. But because China lacks a rating system, censors have a free hand to cut parts they find offensive because of sex, nudity or political content unflattering to the Communist Party.
The Civil War epic “Cold Mountain” has received seven Oscar nominations including best actor for Jude Law as a Confederate deserter making his way home to his sweetheart (Nicole Kidman), and best supporting actress for Renee Zellweger as a tough Confederate woman.
Despite government restrictions, hundreds of domestic and foreign movies — including many that were never approved for domestic release — are readily available here, in their uncut versions, on pirated DVDs costing as little as $1 each.
Film piracy and heavy regulation have kept China’s theater industry small, with the annual box office take only amounting to about $110 million.