In this article we will present the process followed in mainland China to release foreign animation films in the cinemas of that country between 1995 and 2012. We will focus on some criteria that can be framed between Toury’s concepts of preliminary norms and rules. The legal definition of the concept «imported film» itself reveals ideological practices. In this sense, films made in Hong Kong and Macao or Taiwan ceased to be included in the quota of imported films in the years 2003 and 2013 respectively. At the same time, foreign films exhibited in the commercial cinemas must follow legal norms that regulate the process of selection of these productions, which, once more, is a clear sign of censorship. As far as foreign films are concerned, the screening of fenzhangpian films (‘shared box office films’) is favoured by the regulation in comparison with maiduanpian (‘films purchased entirely by the distributors’). In addition, productions from the U.S. enjoy obvious predominance. Finally, the extratextual information related to the production of target texts gathered from different professionals allows us to establish that operational norms act as censorship processes during the translation.