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Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 13:01 GMT
China bans censored brothel film
Beijing New Year celebrations
Beijing is preparing to host the 2008 summer Olympics
Authorities in China have banned a film set in a Beijing massage parlour that had already been heavily censored for its sexually explicit content.

Lost In Beijing was released in Chinese cinemas on 30 November after scenes showing dirty streets, prostitutes and gambling were removed from the movie.

According to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, however, the film still violated regulations.

Its producers have been banned from making films in China for two years.

The drama - which involves the rape of a masseuse and her subsequent pregnancy - was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2007.

It went on to win a jury prize at the Bangkok International Film Festival last July.

'Inappropriate'

According to the Chinese authorities, the film broke regulations by using "unhealthy and inappropriate promotional materials" in its marketing.

Its producer, Fang Li, has attributed the decision to the widespread availability of uncut, pirated versions of the movie he did not sanction.

"Why would I give the movie to pirates and hurt my own movie?" he told the Associated Press.

"We are the victims of piracy. We are the biggest victims."

Previously, Fang said he had edited the film to remove explicit sex scenes and a side character - a fired foot masseuse who becomes a prostitute.

Scenes set in Tiananmen Square, the site of pro-democracy protests that prompted a bloody military crackdown in 1989, were also removed.

The censored version of the movie had already been released legitimately on DVD.



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