Regulators now spooked by ghost stories

BEIJING Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:11pm EST

A mock ghost scares people entering a ''haunted school'' during a Halloween celebration at a mall in Manila October 31, 2007. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

A mock ghost scares people entering a ''haunted school'' during a Halloween celebration at a mall in Manila October 31, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has added ghosts, monsters and other things that go bump in the night to its list of banned video and audio content in an intensified crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Producers have around three weeks to look through their tapes for "horror" and report it to authorities, the General Administration of Press and Publications said in a statement posted on the government Web site.

Offending content included "wronged spirits and violent ghosts, monsters, demons, and other inhuman portrayals, strange and supernatural storytelling for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror," the administration said.

The new guidelines aim to "control and cleanse the negative effect these items have on society, and to prevent horror, violent, cruel publications from entering the market through official channels and to protect adolescents' psychological health."

The regulations suggest China, where graphic, pirated sex and horror movies are available on most street corners, is keen to step up its control of the cultural arena ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August, which are widely seen as a coming-out party for the rising political and economic power.

They come just weeks after Beijing clamped down on "vulgar" video and audio content, slapped restrictions on Internet sites and handed down a two-year film-making ban to the team behind the steamy "Lost in Beijing."

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)

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