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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Jet Li attacks China film censors
Jet Li in Hero
Jet Li has starred in Chinese martial arts films like Hero
Chinese action star Jet Li has voiced frustration that his Hollywood films do not get shown in his home country.

Writing on his website, the star said his 2000 hit Romeo Must Die was banned by censors for featuring gangsters.

In 2001, Kiss of the Dragon was banned because Li's character, a Chinese policeman, killed people abroad.

"Films don't always have to be realistic," said Li, who argued China's film industry was suffering as a result of the restrictions placed on it.

"Typically, action films have good and bad characters," the star said.

"If gangsters aren't appropriate and police officers aren't appropriate, then what type of character can there be that wouldn't start an argument?"

"It leaves only the ancient Chinese stories to be produced."

Strict rules

China carefully controls media content and only allows about 20 foreign movies to be officially screened each year.

And China's Film Bureau has the power to request further editing of films which it considers to contain offensive scenes.

One such film was the Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said scenes with actor Chow Yun-fat were cut because his character - a bald and scarred pirate - was an insult to the country's population.

Li, a former national kung fu champion, made his name in Hong Kong film with movies like the Once Upon a Time in China series before moving on to Hollywood.

He has appeared in several Western action films, including Lethal Weapon 4, but continues to make Chinese-language films like Hero - which was nominated for the best foreign film Oscar in 2002.

Li is currently shooting Hollywood movie The Forbidden Kingdom with fellow martial arts expert Jackie Chan.

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