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China Bans America's Top Shows: Big Bang Theory and Good Wife

Updated on April 30, 2014

There are many countries in the world today that still filter what its citizens see on TV and in film. Back during the Cold War, from 1960-80, the Soviet Union banned most all American and Western cultural events that the rest of the world had. The Beatles was thought as a truly subversive cultural event to its population under age 25. The only way you could hear one of their songs was through the BBC, assuming you had a radio in a secret place. Their music, rock music, was looked with great suspicion and it was thought it would turn the young against the regime as they sang, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "She Loves You". It was not until the mid-70's did they allow some Western culture in. If you tried to bring in their records into the country, authorities would confiscate them.

Yet, despite all the efforts, rock music and The Beatles were immensely popular behind the Iron Curtain. So much so, even Vladimir Putin, now president of Russia, secretly listened to them as a teenager. He learned English by singing to their songs.

China invokes the same kind of censorship today. The Internet is a under scrutiny by their cyber army, looking for negative comments about its government, tracking people. Iran is another country.There are many, but in China, for some odd reason they have banned one of America's most popular comedy, "Big Bang Theory", which is hilarious. A Chinese company secured the streaming rights to it and "NCIS", The Good Wife". The Chinese viewed the current Big Bang Theory episode over 1.3 BILLION times. The other American shows licensed for streaming are also the most popular.

Unlike the Chinese film and TV broadcasts, which are under strong censorship, the websites used for streaming have been neglected of such restrictions until now. It seems the government is concerned about the cultural situations portrayed in the shows. The government stated it is trying prevent dissent on sensitive topics that the shows sometimes dramatize. Many Chinese use the Internet forums to vent their anger and discontent about how the government is or is not doing things and the American TV shows may provide them with new topics or information to spread using the Internet.

Accordingly, the Chinese government pulled the streaming plug of Big bang Theory and The Good Wife ( legal drama) because they portray a living style that is totally Western and not one that the Chinese government is trying to project. Neither show has any explicit situations or images.

The Chinese viewers are angry at the stupidity of it all. How is the situation in Big Bang any different than those in China? Don't women share an apartment? I am sure some share one with a man. Don't unrelated persons share an apartment there also? Don't the Chinese discuss relationships, sex, and situations? For christsakes, it is a comedy! Don't they have comedy? Courtroom drama? Crime shows?

I am sure the Chinese will find another way to see their favorite American TV shows, just as the Russians did with rock music.


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