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China bans
gay-themed film

China bans
gay-themed film

South Korea's biggest movie at the box office, about a tyrannical king and his two court jesters, has been banned from Chinese theaters because it has subtle gay themes, a South Korean movie executive said on Tuesday. "The movie The King and the Clown could not pass the deliberation process in China because of the homosexual code and sexually explicit language in the movie," an official with the South Korean entertainment company CJ said from its Beijing office.

The movie has taken in more than $85 million in South Korea and sold about 12 million tickets in a country with a population of about 48 million. Homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in China as recently as 2001 and is still a highly sensitive subject. In the movie, which finished its run in South Korea earlier this year, the relations among the king and his two jesters are not well-defined and there are no sex scenes, but a romance is implied.

The most heated the movie becomes is when the king shares longing looks with one effeminate clown as they put on a puppet show together. The CJ official, who asked not to be named, said the company did receive permission from Chinese authorities to distribute the movie in China through DVD sales.

Officials with China's film censorship body, the State Adminstration of Radio Film and Television, were unavailable for comment. Even though China lauded Ang Lee, the Taiwanese director who won an Oscar for the gay-themed cowboy movie BrokebackMountain, that film has never been short-listed for consideration by authorities, which is one step short of an outright ban. (Reuters)

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