Chinese censors have approved the new Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’ without any changes, according to a movie executive quoted in The Chronicle Herald.

While this is reportedly the first western film to pass through unscathed by the censor’s scissors, more alarming perhaps is figures that suggest only 20 foreign films are allowed to be screened in Chinese cinemas each year.

While other countries also use cultural arguments to regulate the amount of foreign content passing through their borders (Republic of Korea specifies a number of days cinemas must screen Korean movies; Australia requires free-to-air broadcasters to show 55% Australian content between 6am-12am), it seems to be a considerable restriction on the import of foreign films. It wouldn’t be surprising to see film distributors using DVD more (or at least trying to) as a way to circumvent both regulatory bottlenecks in supply and a reduced demand due to piracy.

Flick back to my earlier entry about Warner pulling out of Chinese cinemas. China appears to be putting controls both on the ownership of cinemas and the films that they screen. At least the Bond film being passed by censors suggests that Chinese officials are becoming less concerned about the content of those films coming from the West (or alternatively, that western producers are taking care to tailor content not to cause censors to block their movies!!)