[LINK] Censorship Issues..
Sat, 15 Feb 2003 20:12:05 +1100
On Fri, 14 Feb 2003 20:35:12 +1100, I wrote:
> As noted to the correspondent many movies in Sydney's Chinatown
>appear to be rated II or III and I have been unable to determine what
>these classifications mean
Interestingly there's an "unofficial" IV "sai chi" rating for pirated
========== quote ==============================
Category or CAT - The Hong Kong rating system. Hong Kong has a film
classification system under which films are classified into one of the
Category I - represented with a circle - suitable for all ages
(similar to US "G"/"PG")
Category IIA - represented with a square - not suitable for children
(similar to US "PG-13")
Category IIB - represented with a square - not suitable for young
persons and children (similar to US "R")
Category III - represented with a triangle - for persons aged 18 or
above only (similar to US "NC-17")
[There is also another unofficial rating -- Category IV or "sai chai"
-- which is used by pirate dealers to designate hardcore pornography.]
While Categories I, IIA and IIB are advisory in nature, the age
restriction (18 or above) for Category III films is strictly enforced.
Apart from films, packagings of Category III videotapes and laserdiscs
and advertising materials of Category III films must be approved by
the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) before they can be published or
The Film Censorship Ordinance (the Ordinance) was enacted in 1988.
Since then, a three-tier film classification system has been adopted.
The Ordinance was amended in November 1995 to provide, among other
things, a finer classification by dividing Category II into two
sub-categories, namely Category IIA and Category IIB. This is intended
to give more information to movie-goers, particularly parents, in the
selection of films for themselves or their children.
Films intended for public exhibition have to be submitted to the
Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing, who is the
FCA under the Ordinance, for approval. Films approved for public
exhibition are then either classified or exempted from classification.
As one of the measures to improve the operation of the Ordinance and
make the regulatory regime as user and business friendly as possible,
the Ordinance was amended on 17 June 1999 to exempt non-commercial
still films (including slides), of a cultural, educational,
instructional, promotional or religious nature from the classification
In 2000, 1,068 films were approved for public exhibition. Of these,
196 (18%) were classified as Category I, 223 (21%) as Category IIA,
420 (39%) as Category IIB and 229 (22%) as Category III. The film
classification standards are kept in line with community standards by
regular surveys on community views and consultation with a statutory
panel of advisers comprising 252 members drawn from a wide
cross-section of the community. A survey conducted between April and
May 2000 indicated that there is general community support and
acceptance of the existing film classification system and the existing
film classification standards are generally in line with the
expectations of the community.
The Ordinance also requires that packagings of Category III videotapes
and laserdiscs and advertising materials of Category III films must be
submitted to the FCA for approval before publication or public
display. Advertising materials of films which have not been given a
classification or have a classification other than Category III may
also be submitted for approval on a voluntary basis.
The decision of the FCA can be reviewed by the Board of Review (Film
Censorship) which is a statutory body established under the Ordinance.
It comprises nine non-official members and the Secretary for
Information Technology and Broadcasting as an ex-officio member.
(Information reprinted for academic purposes only from Hong Kong
============ end quote ======================
I saw a VCD on sale in a Sydney "adult book shop" today rated Hong
Kong II. This was obviously rated before the subdivision into IIA and
IIB. It is marked "suitable for adults only".
Searching for "Film Censorship Ordinance" at
http://search.info.gov.hk/ will result in a number of documents.
I note there is a body called "OAT" - an acronym for "Obscene
============ from a downloaded zip file ===========
10. Guidance to Tribunal
(1) In determining whether an article is obscene or indecent or
whether any matter publicly displayed is indecent, or in classifying
an article, a Tribunal shall have regard to -
(a) standards of morality, decency and propriety that are
generally accepted by reasonable members of the community, and in
relation thereto may, in the case of an article, have regard to any
decision of a censor under section 10 of the Film Censorship Ordinance
(Cap. 392) in respect of a film within the meaning of section 2(1) of
(b) the dominant effect of an article or of matter as a whole;
(c) in the case of an article, the persons or class of persons, or
age groups of persons, to or amongst whom the article is, or is
intended or is likely to be, published;
(d) in the case of matter publicly displayed, the location where
the matter is or is to be publicly displayed and the persons or class
of persons, or age groups of persons likely to view such matter; and
(e) whether the article or matter has an honest purpose or whether
its content is merely camouflage designed to render acceptable any
part of it.
(2) The opinion of an expert as to any of the matters to which a
Tribunal must or may have regard under subsection (1) may be admitted
in any proceedings before a Tribunal either to establish or negative
In other words and in my personal opinion a very "fuzzy" concept very
similar to the very fuzzy wording of much of Australia's laws and
regulations. The strict enforcement for Category III movies appears
to apply to the cinema.
There are a few Hong Kong movies (VHS) available in Sydney that would
fall under the "adult" category. I believe I've seen the initials
"OAT" printed on them.
Also covered under these pages can be found information related to
I take particular interest in the Hong Kong classification sytem
because there are more than a few Hong Kong rated movies on sale or
for rent in New South Wales which are of interest to our Asian
No doubt the rating for mainland China would be somewhat harsher.but
seemingly Hong Kong doesn't come under the complete control of
mainland China until 2047 - at which time I doubt if I'll have much
concern one way or the other...