Usually TV shows like The Big Bang Theory are banned or heavily censored on religious grounds, however, this award-winning American sitcom is under fire in China for reasons that are actually somewhat reasonable.
Chinese authorities have ordered online-streaming websites to stop offering shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife in an apparent effort to preserving interest in Chinese TV shows and similar forms of entertainment. Online-streaming is obviously a much cheaper way to enjoying your favourite TV shows at any time, but it seems the Chinese government feel it’s taking the Chinese audience away from what their own country has to offer.
A spokeswoman for one leading online-streaming site in China (who could not be named as a result of company policy) said that she received an order to not show The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife or The Practice last Saturday (26th April). She allowed viewers to access The Good Wife but did not broadcast the other two shows. She also mentioned that she was not given a solid reason from the messenger.
A senior manager for a similar streaming site (who could also not be named) received the exact same order but said that the order stated that he removed the shows to “clean” his website. Interestingly enough, the order also included a Chinese miniseries to be taken down also.
Another popular American show that wasn’t mentioned on the order was Nikita. The show has roped in a whopping 472 million views on these streaming sites and was somehow missed. Nikita wasn’t the only show that got away with it; Masters of Sex, which also has earned a significant amount of views, is also still showing on Chinese streaming sites.
It should also be noted that many of these Chinese online-streaming sites began as YouTube-styled sites where the users would have to upload and share foreign content with fellow users. They then became able to legally show licensed international TV series and movies which are mostly free to watch but are accompanied by advertisements.
I was also very surprised to read that many of these sites actually produce and broadcast their own low-budget content and even co-produce movies. This dampens the idea that the government’s sole purpose in this campaign is to promote work from their own country.
There may or may not be underlying issues with shows like The Big Bang Theory that the government feel will somehow harm the Chinese audience. I personally don’t see what that issue could possibly be so we want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on this story? Comment below and let us know what you think!