Citing sources familiar with the situation, the South China Morning Post reported that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) had dramatically slowed approvals on foreign production and programming applications, attributing the slowdown to December's departure of SARFT Minister Xu Guangchun and his replacement by former Anhui party secretary Wang Taihua, described by some as more conservative than Xu who was more disposed to foreign media investment. The Post said only one foreign-invested production joint venture, between Sony Pictures Television International and a China Film Group unit, had been approved since November, leaving applications from New Corp's Star TV, Time Warner's HBO unit and ESPN still on hold.
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