back to article Chinese stamp on Avatar

Chinese censors have reportedly "banned" sci-fi epic Avatar, amid fears it could provoke civil unrest, the Telegraph reports. According to Hong Kong's Apple Daily, the state-run China Film Group has ordered that the film be shown only in 3D, and since there are few cinemas equipped for this, the edict is tantamount to a ban. …


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  1. JetSetJim

    Did they ban Pocahantas, too?

    Same plot, after all...

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    "a patriotic biopic on the life of Confucius"

    Wow, that'll get them in.

    I guess the pirates will just stay home and make more knock off DVD versions of Avatar instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "a patriotic biopic on the life of Confucius" → #

      Comrade, Post Cultural Revolution such out moded memes pertaining to ridiculous, semi- mytical historical figures would hardly be appropriate.

      What we need is an honest story about two hard working factory employees whose daily contribution to productivity is realised to also benefit well being of all in the motherland.

      There can be a sub-plot where the heros detect a whisper of dissent from their neighbours (who are shown to be obstructing the path of progress), report them immediately to the authorities and are duly rewarded for their good citizenary!

  3. Alien Doctor


    I think after all the hype and the idiocy exhibited by all the saddo's that I would much rather watch biopic of Confucius: it would be much more entertaining and very enlightening.

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Would i be being too much of a bastard...

    if i sent this article to a couple of Chinese colleagues of mine who refuse to believe anything bad about their government and who refused to believe me when i mentioned just how many major western websites are blocked/banned in China?

    Or am i a cynic in believing they will just toe the party line?

  5. Lionel Baden

    p2p ??

    yeah this will really stop it

    The more they supress it the more people will want to watch it !!

    e.g. Clockwork orange.

    Seriously tell me not to do something and i will be sorely tempted to do it :/

  6. Simon R. Bone
    Big Brother

    Always makes me laugh....

    ... how people say we defeated communism - and yet almost half the world still live under such a regime!

    1. Fred Mbogo

      @Simon R. Bone

      The main difference is that communism was defeated because the US thought that the USSR and other commie countries were stealing possible markets (resources mainly) and offered nothing to them.

      China, on the other hand, is the modern world's source of slave labor.

      1. Joe 3

        Fred is right

        You have to look beyond the labels - most "communist" countries are military dictatorships, all the rhetoric is just veneer.

        China (among many other countries) is indeed one of the West's dirty little sweatshop secrets. The CCP continues to betray the Chinese people.

    2. JP Strauss


      I also find it amusing, especially since the West is itself slowly turning into socialist police states.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If anything it will make more people seek it out to see what all the fuss was about.

    Much like 'A clockwork orange' (throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s) and Animal Farm.

  8. Sir Runcible Spoon


    @China : If the cap fits, wear it.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    Did China also ban Pokahontas..?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Hmm, how many..

    World leaders wet themselves when they saw that not only can China do this, but it has at the drop of a hat. Now that is the type of state control our 'democratic' leaders can only dream of (for now).

  11. Chris 67

    I like Chinese

    They come from a long way overseas

    Their cute, they ban Avatar.

    And they're ready to please.

    ps: I actually really enjoyed Avatar :)

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Yup - know the song..

      It's "I like Chinese" from the "Contractual Obligation Album". "Sit on your face" is also a good one, but I imagine that will get as much past the censor as "I bet you they won't play this on the radio"..

  12. JohnG


    "allusion to the exploitation of China’s weak by the powerful, the poor by the rich"

    How strange that a Communist country would no longer welcome media which highlight the exploitation of the underclass by the bourgeoisie.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      You just don't get it

      As Chairman Mao once said, "There are no straight roads in the world". Even a simple Google search would reveal that was not true.

      Oh, hang on a minute...

  13. Jimmy Floyd

    Not quite 'viva la revolution'

    No-one likes a bolshy commie (ironically).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If anything it will make more people seek it out to see what all the fuss was about.

    Much like 'A clockwork orange' (throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s). And Animal Farm of course.

  15. Gulfie

    Paranoid, Toi?

    Having seen Avatar I think the story can be applied to a multitude of such situations. US foreign policy. Modern capitalism as operated by large multinationals. And yes, China.

    I guess the truth hurts. Aside of really enjoying the film it certainly made me think about the almost total disappearence of ethics from modern business practice.

    1. Wommit
      Thumb Up

      Business Ethics - Complete course

      1) There are none.

      2) Make lots of money.

      3) Ignore the little people.

      4) Make even more money.

  16. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Sure to be a hit then

    at least on the black market...

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    You've got to be joking.

    A *movie* has the Central Committee filling its collective collostomy bags.

  18. Greg D
    Thumb Up

    The truth is

    there is only one way to watch Avatar - in 3D!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But I watched it in Beijing?

    I'm not sure how much it's "banned": I watched it last Sunday morning, in 2D, at the Wanda Plaza Theater, Chaoyang District, Beijing.

    3/4 of the dozen rooms were showing it, some in 2D, most in 3D. It was fully packed, although the prices are high (matinee CNY40 for 2D, CNY85 for 3D, afternoon CNY80/CNY150).

    "Confucius" is not yet out, and seems to be Yet Another Historic Action Movie which are very much in fashion lately. The trailer didn't seem more patriotic than "Mulan" or "Bodyguards & Assassins" that were shown recently. In a nutshell, it was not shot in a hurry last week to counter "Avatar".

    Since I'm probably going to watch it again with a friend, I'll report how "banned" it is later.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cinema vs download

    surely they'll all just download or buy it when it comes out on dvd won't they?

    1. LaeMing

      It already is out on DVD in China.

      And with Asian new year coming up, the police will sweep the illegal DVD markets in a few weeks and confiscate them all, after which street markets will pop up for the week when the indoor markets close for the holiday and the DVDs will be available even cheaper from stall operators, many of whom didn't even bother to leave their police jackets at home.

      Can't speak for Beijing or Shanghai (showcase cities) but in regional cities, that is my experience.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ... or is the censoring of this film admitting guilt. If so... that mean's China is a really bad place.

    We can watch a film set on another planet which shows such oppression but then eventual freedom (and we're all very glad the citizens are freed from an awful existence), but then have a real life place which does the same and there seems to be no freedom...

    Surely that's a revolution waiting to happen.

  22. Mark Broadhurst

    Other Film

    Does anyone else want to see "a patriotic biopic on the life of Confucius" apart from me ?

    We want it in the West your keeping it from us damn you!

  23. spegru


    They must be.

    Talk about control freakery!

  24. Citizen Kaned

    when are we going to sort out china?

    seriously, they are dragging the world down.

    if we all just decided to stop import/export to china we would all be better off in the long run (apart from the chinese i guess)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Oh really?

      Never heard of the USA?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        We got out of the "making things" business ages ago.... much to the dismay of my unemployed countrymen I'm sure. We're all about imaginative (read: really fucked up) financial instruments. Yup, we're sure advanced here, just making money out of more money.... oh wait that didn't work. Ummm... what DO we do here? Mine's the one with the little red book.

  25. John Sanders

    They're rulers after all

    And rulers do as they please when they see fit, for whatever strange reason crosses their minds that particular day.

    I'm sure the officials in the Chinese government will all go to private passes to see what the fuss is all about and enjoy a nice evening of good-old commercial cinema from the west.

    And that is what life is on a dictatorship state.

  26. Stef 2


    in the UK, Mandelsnot rubs his hands together and looks on with envious eyes...

  27. Cowboy Bob
    Big Brother

    Re: But I watched it in Beijing?

    Never let the truth get in the way of anti-commie propaganda.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But I watched it in Beijing?

      I loved the part when after the Na'vi political commissar accepted the self-criticism of Jake Scully, he agreed to let him be part of the Work Unit again to be able to reach the Quinquennial Plan quotas while successfully fighting the counter-revolutionary imperialists plot. All for the greater harmony and prosperity of the People.

      No, seriously, it was just a movie, as usual. And the criticism I've heard was, "WTF do Americans make us pay 4 times the price as they ask for in Malaysia?!"

      Okay, maybe because with the price of one ticket, you can buy 30 DVDs in the street, but still.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        i kinda doubt

        I kinda doubt that the Americans have much to do with the prices charged by Chinese cinemas... it sounds like the usual passing the buck to me.

  28. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Up

    Confucious in 3D

    fighting the space marines.

    That's what we want!

  29. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    Banning this sh*te...

    ...Is doing the Chinese people a favour, surely?

    Paris, cos she needs banning too

  30. John Savard


    I was saddened by the fact that Avatar, a movie clearly based on unfortunate aspects of the interaction between American settlers and the indigenous people there, was being made now, while battles rage in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thus the entertainment industry should be making patriotic movies that make Americans feel more positive about their country at this time.

    That any kind of a movie about justice - even one with Americans as the bad guys - is frigtening to the Chinese authorities, of course, is a sad commentary on the depth of their fear.

    1. transientcylon

      Please no...

      That gung-ho, cowboy, patriotic bullshit is how we got in two wars to begin with. Please herd all those morons back to Texas. If I could educate everyone in the states on just one thing it would be the distinct difference between patriotism and nationalism. We have PLENTY of nationalists and very few patriots.

  31. Simon B

    It's doing too well OMG STOP IT! - FFS

    "Reportedly, the authorities have two reasons for this check on Avatar: first, it has taken in too much money and has seized market share from domestic films ..."

    Taken in to much money? OMG something successful STOP IT quick!! OMG it's actually GOOD an people like it and want to watch it so are watching less domestic films! OH NO!


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