Relaymedia

China Passes Green Light to 'The Da Vinci Code'

Despite strong Christian critics to the movie 'The Da Vinci Code,' China has passed green light for it to show in the cinema.
( [email protected] ) Apr 07, 2006 12:39 AM EDT

Despite strong Christian critics to the movie 'The Da Vinci Code,' China has passed green light for it to show in the cinema.

China is known for its strict censorship rules for media. However, it has given the go-ahead to Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" for the global release on May 19, reported by United Press International (UPI) Wednesday.

Previous report from Daily Variety said that there were concerns that it may not past China's Film Bureau because of its religious theme. According to Li Chow, Columbia Tri-Star's general manager in China, "The censors saw Da Vinci and saw that it was not a story about religion and approval came very fast from the Film Bureau."

The movie is based on the book written by Dan Brown "The Da Vinci Code" Christian groups have criticized the book's religious plot which ascertains that there was a church conspiracy to cover up the truth that Jesus was married and never rose from the dead. The popularity of the book, in certain extent, can project how significant the response to the movie will be.

Sony Pictures has established a website, thedavincichallenge.com, and has invited a cross-section of Christian writers, scholars and evangelical leaders to write essays discussing the book's religious claims and plot points.

According to some of the contributors, they write that instead of trying to censor or ban the movie, Christians should just be aware of the questions the film will raise and be ready to answer them. For example, Dr. Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary raised a question: "Why Christians Ought to See the Movie."

"The Da Vinci Code" is set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival May 17, and will open worldwide two days later.

Wu Hehu, deputy director of Shanghai United Cinema Lines, China's largest cinema chain, said the movie would not be altered much from the original. According to UPI, Chinese officials said 350 reels would be sent to China to ensure it gets seen in all the major cities.