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Chinese stamp on Avatar

'Banned' amid fears of civil unrest

Chinese censors have reportedly "banned" sci-fi epic Avatar, amid fears it could provoke civil unrest, the Telegraph reports.

According to Hong Kong's Apple Daily, the state-run China Film Group has ordered that the film be shown only in 3D, and since there are few cinemas equipped for this, the edict is tantamount to a ban.

The paper said: "The Central Publicity Department is said to have issued an order to the media prohibiting it from hyping up Avatar. Reportedly, the authorities have two reasons for this check on Avatar: first, it has taken in too much money and has seized market share from domestic films, and second, it may lead audiences to think about forced removal, and may possibly incite violence.”

As we reported last week, Chinese audiences were quick to see Avatar as an "allusion to the exploitation of China’s weak by the powerful, the poor by the rich". Specifically, they saw a parallel between the plight of the Na’vi and those who stand up to China's often forceful property developers.

Avatar will be replaced across China with "a patriotic biopic on the life of Confucius", the Telegraph notes. ®

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