China's National Administration of Radio and Television, which controls radio and TV in the communist country, now outlaws 20 new categories of content, including material promoting fabricated history, sacred relics and demonic possessions, UCA News reported.
Wu Daxiong, a Shanghai television producer, called the guidelines a "fatal blow" to the industry as it limits the scope of their production. A Catholic filmmaker said the new guidelines "almost entirely ban" faith-based content in a country that is already hostile to the freedom of religion.
"If we film the life of Jesus avoiding the content banned by the guidelines, we will only be presenting Jesus as an ordinary person, and this is unacceptable to Christians," the filmmaker identified only as Joseph told UCA News.
Father Yo of Shandong also questioned the guidelines.
"What is true history? Is it the one fabricated by the Chinese Communist Party? Would it not lead to creating more fake television dramas in line with the party to brainwash the public?" he asked.
The new guidelines could impact Hollywood productions as well.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Bill Barr blasted Hollywood for appeasing China with self-censorship to ensure entry into its tightly-knit marketplace, saying studios have given the Chinese Communist Party "a massive propaganda coup."
“Hollywood’s actors producers and directors pride themselves on celebrating freedom and the human spirit, and every year at the Academy Awards Americans are lectured about how this country falls short of Hollywood’s ideals of social justice,” Barr said.
“But Hollywood now regularly censors its own movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world’s most powerful violator of human rights," Barr added. "This censorship infects, not only the versions of movies that are released in China, but also many that are shown in the United States theaters to American audiences.”