Asia Pacific Censorship News

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 Update: Cat Sick Blues...

New Zealand film censors bans horror film rated 15 in Australia after the distributor refuses to implement cuts


Link Here 24th March 2017  full story: Banned Films in New Zealand...OFLC sees films as somehow 'objectionable'
Cat Sick Blues DVD Cat Sick Blues is a 2015 Australia horror by Dave Jackson.
Starring Matthew C Vaughan, Shian Denovan and Noah Moon. IMDb

When Ted's beloved cat dies, the trauma triggers a terrible mental breakdown. His broken brain prompts him to bring his feline friend back - all he needs is nine human lives. Ted dons vicious deadly cat claw gloves and a creepy cat mask, and goes on a murderous rampage. As the butchery escalates, a twisted romance blossoms between Ted and Claire, a young woman who has also recently lost her cat in a horrifying incident.

This Australian censorship board classified the film MA 15+ for strong horror violence and coarse language.

However the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC banned the film as objectionable , with the explanation:

The publication is a low-budget horror film from Australia about a demented serial killer who chooses a rape victim as his next target.

Two excisions were required to remove part of a scene (and related content in a behind-the-scenes component) that causes the DVD to tend to promote and support the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty under s3(2)(b) and s3(2)(f) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

If the excisions had been made, the DVD would have been classified R18 due to the high extent and degree of gruesome horror, the infliction of serious physical harm and cruelty, and sexual violence.

The distributor declined to make the excisions, so the DVD is classified as objectionable.

 

 Updated: Beastly homophobic film censors...

Beauty and the Beast banned in Kuwait, effectively banned in Russia, and recently unbanned in Malaysai


Link Here 24th March 2017
Poster Beauty and the Beast 2017 Bill Condon Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 USA family musical romance by Bill Condon.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. IMDb

Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

Malaysian censors ordered cuts to the cinema release of Beauty and the Beast, removing what its creators say is a gay moment. Even after the cuts, the censors imposed a P13 rating (a 13A in UK terms). But according to a media report, Walt Disney decided anyway to shelve the film's Thursday release in the country.

Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Star Online the film has been approved with a P13 parental guidance classification, with a minor cut.

Since 2010 Malaysia's film censorship rules allow the depiction of gay characters, but only if those characters show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Meanwhile the Russian government has opted to give the film a rather unviable 16+ rating, a restrictive rating preventing children below that age from seeing the film.

Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the Culture Ministry's cinema department, told Russian entertainment site KinoPoisk.ru:

We will issue the film distribution license without any problems. The minimum age is 16+.

A 2013 Russian law bans promotion of homosexuality among minors. The law describes homosexuality as non-traditional sexual relations.

Update: Unbanned after Malaysia loses face

22nd March 2017 See  article from rappler.com

Malaysia flagDisney's movie Beauty and the Beast has won an appeal against censorship and will now be released uncut with a PG 13 rating.

Malaysian authorities had initially demanded cuts but Disney refused to oblige the censors, choosing to instead to appeal the decision

Disney have now won that appeal, a decision perhaps linked to some members of parliament questioning the need to censor the film, arguing that the debacle was giving Malaysia bad publicity.

Update: Banned in Kuwait

24th March 2017 See  article from al.com

UAE flagBeauty and the Beast opened in Kuwait last week with a PG-13 rating, but by this week, the nation's government-owned cinema company, which runs 11 out of the 13 theaters in the Persian Gulf country, announced that all screenings had been canceled and offered a full refund to anyone who had purchased a ticket.

One board member of the National Cinema Co. told the Associated Press:

We were requested to stop the screening and further censor the movie for things that were deemed offensive by the Ministry of Information's censorship department.

At issue, apparently, is a scene in which a supporting character, LeFou, is depicted as having a romantic fascination for Gaston and is shown dancing with another man in a ballroom scene said to be three seconds long.

 

 Update: Siding with repression...

Malaysia imprisons organiser of screening of No Fire Zone, a documentary banned at the behest of the sri Lankan authorities


Link Here 24th March 2017

no fire zone  2017 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of Ms. Lena Hendry, former Programme Coordinator of the human rights NGO Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS).

According to the information received, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court sentenced Ms. Lena Hendry to a fine of MYR 10,000 (about EUR 2,130) or one year in prison for screening the documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war titled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka four years ago.

defend lena logo On February 21, 2017, following a successful appeal by the Prosecutor against her acquittal in 2015, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court had found Ms. Lena Hendry guilty of violating Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for the private screening of the documentary without prior approval from Malaysia's Film Censorship Board.

The Observatory condemns Ms. Lena Hendry's sentencing, which merely aims at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Malaysian authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

 

 Update: Flaming row...

Myanmar complains that a Thai TV drama insults its historic royalty


Link Here 14th March 2017  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
ladys flamesThailand, who have a repressive lese majeste law, which metes out extreme punishments for minor criticisms of royalty, has been accused of insulting Myanmar's historic royalty.

A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar's last king. Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is insulting . He told AFP:

We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country.

But producers of the historical drama, called Plerng Phra Nang (A Lady's Flames) , have insisted it is purely fictional.

The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom. Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw could ascend the throne. Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.

 

 Update: Total thought control...

China bans the sales of foreign books without the express approval of the state


Link Here 11th March 2017  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship

China flagIn the next step in the Chinese government's quest for total thought control it has issued a ban on the sale of foreign publications without an import permit.

The new rules came into effect on the online shopping platform Taobao on Friday banning sellers from offering overseas publications. Taobao said the change, which also includes foreign services relating to publications, will enter into force on March 10, 2017.

An employee who answered the phone at Taobao said the ban included books, movies, and games that hadn't already been given government approval:

If it comes from overseas, then basically, it's not allowed, for the time being at least. Any imported publications will need an import certificate under this system, and they need to be reported to the authorities. Only then can they be sold.

Pan Lu, of the Hubei-based rights group Rose China, said the administration of President Xi Jinping is currently tightening control over every aspect of public discourse. Pan said:

They are clamping down on ideology and public opinion. They can't afford to allow a pluralistic value system to seep into China via the consumer market for foreign publications.

The Chinese Communist Party is terrified that its own single-party ideology is bankrupt, and it is trying to shore up its grip on power by controlling what people think.

Hangzhou-based writer Zan Aizong said the new rules would make it much harder for people to get hold of foreign literature:

This will mean that people will have to resort to selling it on the quiet, because if you are found at the border to have political books in your bag, you will be detained, Zan said.

It's very hard to get books into the country from overseas.

He said the only option left will be to try to download e-books from outside the complex network of blocks, filters, and human censorship known as the Great Firewall.

 

  Last in the world...

Japan criminalises the possession of child porn


Link Here 1st March 2017
Japan flagEarlier this month, Japan's Parliament passed a bill to ban the possession of child pornography. Anyone caught with pornographic videos or photographs of children can be sent to jail for a year and fined the equivalent of US $10,000.

International pressure has been building in Japan for years to tighten its pornography laws. Japan did ban production of such pornography back in 1999, but it took the country 15 more years to ban possession.

Among the Organization for Economic and Co-operation Development countries, Japan is the last to make possession illegal.

Interestingly, legislators decided to allow people to continue to possess anime and manga cartoons that depict children in sexualized scenes; publishers and lawyers in Japan agreed that any restrictions or censorship on those materials would bump up against free speech rights.

 

 Update: Not a threat...

Metallica censored in China


Link Here 27th February 2017  full story: Performers Censored in China...Quick to ban and censor star performers from the west
Metallica: Cunning Stunts DVD Heavy metal band Metallica's concerts in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai had certain songs removed from their setlists due to China's censorship policies, reported the South China Morning Post.

Metallica frontman James Hetfield told the newspaper:

Why shouldn't you respect their culture when you're there as a guest and you've been invited to play? We want to be respectful, and just because we do things differently, it doesn't mean it should be forced upon [others]. But hopefully we'll keep coming back and they'll realise we're not a threat politically and we have no agenda except to cross boundaries with music and let people enjoy the songs. We're not trying to bring a secret message to anybody.