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There are two strands to the Chinese censorship _ prudishness and political sensitivities, said Steve Tsang, an expert on contemporary Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham in Britain.

The censoring of gay love scenes in “Cloud Atlas” falls into the first category while cuts to “Skyfall” are in the second, broadly defined as anything that portrays China or the Chinese in a negative light. “Shooting a Chinese officer in uniform, they don’t want to encourage that,” said Tsang.

The screen time of a pirate played by Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat in the 2007 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was slashed in half by censors for “vilifying and defacing the Chinese,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency at the time.

The changes made to Skyfall were widely reported in state-run media. Xinhua quoted Shi Chuan, a professor from Shanghai University’s film department, as saying: “Movie regulators should respect the producers’ original ideas, rather than chopping scenes arbitrarily.” He renewed calls for the establishment of laws and norms for movie censors to follow.

Cinema-goers who saw the censored version were confused by the cuts, which also deleted a character’s line about having been tortured by Chinese security agents.

“Now I know why I was so confused when I watched it, and not able to connect each scene,” a movie goer, Gao Yuan, who works for a cultural publishing company in Beijing, said on her Sina Weibo. “It’s not worth watching any good movies if they cut them like this. Maybe just don’t import it.”


AP researchers Fu Ting in Shanghai and Flora Ji in Beijing and contributed to this report.