E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the beloved sci-fi fantasy blockbuster of Steven Spielberg, has escaped the mainland censors' blacklist - for now. So while Spielberg may have trouble separating politics from the Beijing Olympics, the central government, it seems, is magnanimous enough to distinguish his film work from his political stance.
The American director has controversially excused himself as a consultant to the Games ceremonies over the crisis in Darfur. The stance he takes has attracted scathing criticism from different quarters on the mainland, from the central government's People's Daily to the blogs of irate citizens.
This month the mainland's chief censor imposed a ban on the distribution of horror movies and those with 'unhealthy' content. This has prompted extensive media speculation that E.T. and other Spielberg fantasy movies would be banned in retaliation.
The new regulation, according to the administration, was introduced to protect young people from mental and physical harm caused by visual and audio depictions of terror. But in a rare official clarification, an official came out and said E.T. was deemed 'healthy'. He said that as far as he knew, no Spielberg movie had been banned.
Perhaps it's too early to settle scores. Wait until after the Olympics!