Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Mass Communication and Media Arts


Torre, Paul


The Chinese film censorship system is a very important administrative means for the Chinese government to control free expression and content of films. Beginning in 1978, the Reform and Opening Up policy made China’s economy start to thrive, and helped China grow into a large film market. As China joined WTO in 2001, the Chinese government was forced to open up the film market. The contradiction between the development of the Chinese film industry and the government’s censorship system is becoming more and more intense. Imported Hollywood films are impacting the Chinese film market, which has led to the public asking for a more practical and consistent film industry law. The unclear criteria of the system, the opaque censorship process, and the lack of public oversight have caused even more problems internally. On one hand, Chinese moviegoers urgently hope the government will learn from the west, using a film rating system to replace the current censorship system. On the other hand, China’s ideological situation is not ready to end the censorship system completely in a short time. This article will introduce the historical background of Chinese film censorship system, including current problems in the system, and analyze these issues with case studies.