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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
China 'bans primetime Simpsons'
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is popular in China
The Simpsons and Mickey Mouse are to be banned from peak-time TV schedules in China to try to protect the country's homegrown animators, reports say.

The ruling Communist Party is said to be worried about the effects of foreign culture on Chinese children.

Foreign cartoons will not be screened on TV between 1700 and 2000 from 1 September, state media claimed.

Regulators have already announced they intend to ban programmes mixing animation and live characters.

This could affect shows such as the BBC's Teletubbies.

Mass appeal

Foreign cartoons, especially from Japan, are hugely popular with China's 250 million children and the country's own animation studios have struggled to compete.

The ban has not been formally announced, but newspapers have already criticised the approach.

"This is a worrying, shortsighted policy and will not solve the fundamental problems in China's cartoon industry," the Southern Metropolis News said.

"The viewing masses, whether adults or children, will have no choice but to passively support Chinese products."

Chinese animations use traditional stories such as Journey to the West, about the adventures of the Monkey King.

They have yet to invent characters to match the appeal of Mickey Mouse or Japanese icons such as Pokemon.

In 2000, broadcasters were told to limit the use of foreign cartoons at a time when Japanese animation dominated the market.

The government stepped up controls two years ago, saying Chinese cartoons had to account for at least 60% of the total shown in prime time.

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