China's media regulator has imposed new restrictions on television programming by banning foreign programmes during prime time slots, state media reported on Tuesday.
All foreign TV series are now capped at 50 episodes and such shows cannot be aired between 19.30-22.00, according to State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). The China Daily Newspaper said the "aim is to improve the quality of imported TV programmes".
Foreign shows on Chinese television tend to come from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and India. There is also huge interest in US made television; however, these are sourced online or through pirated DVDs.
Regulatory bodies around the country must increase their supervision over foreign television shows broadcast on television stations at all levels, and increase fines levied for those who break the rules
There is also a restriction on the amount of foreign shows that can be aired during a day, with "no more than 25 per cent" of a channel's output permitted to be foreign. SARFT are also encouraging broadcasters to avoid "intensively" broadcasting shows from one particular country.
The Communist Party in China are seen by many as trying to dictate Chinese culture, and this latest will move will be seen as a further tightening of their control.