China censors "Pirates" for "vilifying Chinese"

BEIJING Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:49am EDT

A scene from ''Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'' in an image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. China has censored part of the hit Hollywood movie for ''vilifying and defacing the Chinese'', the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday. REUTERS/Handout

A scene from ''Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'' in an image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. China has censored part of the hit Hollywood movie for ''vilifying and defacing the Chinese'', the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has censored part of the latest installment of hit Hollywood movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" for "vilifying and defacing the Chinese", the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

The role of Hong Kong star Chow Yun-Fat, who plays pirate lord Captain Sao Feng, had been slashed in half to just about 10 minutes of screen time, the report said.

It cited local magazine The Popular Cinema as saying: "The captain played by Chow is bald, his face heavily scarred. He also has a long beard and long nails, whose image is still in line with Hollywood's old tradition of demonizing the Chinese."

"Chinese censors also cut Chow's line in which he states 'Welcome to Singapore' because it hints Singapore is a land of pirates ...," Xinhua added.

It quoted Zhang Pimin, deputy head of the film bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, as saying the cuts had been made "according to the country's relevant regulations on film censorship" and "China's actual conditions".

The cuts "will not impair either the continuity of plot or the image of characters," said Zhang, declining to provide more details.

Still, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", has already performed well at the Chinese box office, Xinhua added, earning 1.18 million yuan ($154,800) on its first day in Shanghai alone.

This is not the first time a Hollywood film has angered the Chinese censor.

Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning "The Departed" ran into trouble due to its mention of a Chinese plan to buy military equipment, government sources told Reuters earlier this year.

But censorship on the big screen has little impact in China, where pirated, uncut versions of the latest movies can easily be bought on the street for around $1.