Chinese state authorities have reportedly moved to censor content that involves healing and miracles, which will have a dramatic impact on the free sharing of Christian films.
According to UCA News, the National Administration of Radio and Television has passed news laws banning 20 different categories of content, including which promotes fabricated history, sacred relics, demonic possessions, and instances of faith and healing. One filmmaker, Joseph, told the outlet that the new laws will "almost entirely ban" faith-based content.
He added: “If we film the life of Jesus, avoiding the content banned by the guidelines, we will only be presenting Jesus as an ordinary person, and this is unacceptable to Christians.” The new guidelines encourage filmmakers “not to film the dark side of society but to film the good life of normal people”.
Fr Yo, a minister from Shandong, said the new guidelines were “strange.”
“How can people have a good life when they don't even have the natural right to freedom of religion?" he asked. "If we do not even have the most basic human rights, how can we be good?"
Yo added: "What is true history? Is it the one fabricated by the Chinese Communist Party? Would it not lead to creating more fake television dramas in line with the party to brainwash the public?"
Shanghai television producer Wu Daxiong said the new regulations were a "fatal blow" to the industry and drastically limit their scope of production. Previously, Daxiong said he attempted to make a movie based on a novel, but officials changed the script "more than 20 times" and that "the story was no longer the same as the original novel" but instead "looked like another story".
"The new guidelines look even stricter," he added.
Screenwriter Liu Ming added: "I've broken several of the guidelines all of a sudden.... [the guidelines] deal a blow to the entire film and television industry.
"There are too many restrictions. It means the most basic story outline cannot be constructed. How can we talk about scriptwriting and filming under such restrictions?"
Liu said the communist party's relentless "ideological management" will decimate artistic freedom. "They need only political propaganda, not art," he added.