China extends ban on foreign cartoons from airing during prime time

SpongeBob SquarePants, Mickey Mouse and Pokemon are officially persona non grata on Chinese prime time. China is extending a ban that virtually locks out all foreign cartoons from airing between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in a bid to protect its fledgling domestic cartoon industry. According to a new ruling Wednesday by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, no foreign cartoons or programs introducing foreign cartoons can be shown during "the golden hours" on all domestic cartoon channels and children channels starting May 1. The move is intended to help "spur the domestic cartoon industry," the agency said. Only domestic cartoons approved by SARFT are allowed to be aired, according to the regulations. Cartoons co-produced by domestic and foreign producers will have to get approval.