A portrait of late Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao is seen as a television shows a film at a house near the rail line in the former mining town of Bagou, Sichuan Province, in Southern China, March 28, 2015. Getty Images/Kevin Frayer

China has issued stricter guidelines for television programs, including those based on foreign formats. TV shows should portray Chinese culture, a directive issued by the country’s television regulator said, according to reports Monday.

Adapted versions of foreign shows such as “Running Man,” “Where Are We Going, Dad?” and “The Voice of China” have gained popularity in the country, where the national regulator has restricted several such programs and banned children of celebrities from appearing on reality TV shows. The new guidelines will improve the innovation by Chinese TV channels, according to the media regulator.

“Only self-innovated TV programs with Chinese cultural inheritance and characteristics can better carry the Chinese Dream themes, the socialist core values, as well as patriotism and Chinese fine traditions,” the directive stated. It appeared on, the official website of China's Cabinet's Information Office.

As per the new regulation, foreign programs with imported copyrights will not be broadcast on television without prior approval of local regulators and a complete filing procedure, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said. All foreign content imported for local shows will have to be given for review two months prior to the broadcast. Starting July 1, the telecast of unapproved TV shows based on foreign formats will be banned in the world’s second-largest economy.

A satellite channel will not be allowed to telecast more than two imported or foreign-adapted reality TV shows during prime time, which is between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., in a year, the regulator said. While only one new program will be permitted for broadcast every year, it cannot be aired during the prime time in the first year, according to the directive.

“The reliance on imported program formats has been squeezing out the creative incentive of domestic producers and broadcasters,” the regulator said. “Audiences are craving more Chinese original programs that are fun to watch and feature healthy tastes.”