• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:00am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 4:21am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 10:44am

Why Chinese censors miss mark on television shows

Mainland censors must have no clue about what they are censoring. They probably received instructions from higher-ups that some popular foreign TV series being shown online must be shut down as part of an internet campaign to clean up pornography and other undesirable contents. So to meet quotas, they randomly picked a few.

This is proved by not only what they have cancelled over the weekend, but what they have allowed to continue. The four series censored by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television are: The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, crime series NCIS and legal drama The Practice. Yet, you can continue to watch House of Cards and Game of Thrones.

How does that work? If I were a censor, I would go after the last two. An Americanised version of the original British series satirising the dark and murderous politics in Whitehall, the newer series features the underbelly of Washington politics, which may reflect back on the even more byzantine power politics that characterises China.

Meanwhile, even hardcore viewers of US paid cable TV, which can run much more extreme content than free TV, have been shocked by the levels of violence and sex in Game of Thrones.

I recently spent 30 hours flying between Toronto and Hong Kong and so gorged myself on several seasons of The Big Bang Theory. President Xi Jinping, if you had watched a few episodes, I am sure you would personally approve. A recent and favourite one of mine has Sheldon Cooper, the physicist, breaking up with his one true love: string theory. He finally realises he has wasted his career on a theory that was supposed to unify everything but has got nowhere in the last 20 years. The show has him grieving and recovering as from a bad relationship.

The Big Bang Theory has had billions of views since 2009 on the mainland. A show that features geeky young scientists trying to find elusive success in their careers and love life must resonate with a whole generation of college graduates in China. It also romanticises geeks and promotes science and technology.

What's not to like?


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Why do you always insist
On writing all of your comments like this
It is the most annoying thing ever
Ermm...don't buy foreign religions? So therefore no communism and Marxist-Leninism and capitalism. Where are you going with this, whymak, pray? Does that mean you have to pay back your wu mao?
Moron, they're timestamps, not "petty number catalogues". Precision is not your thing. And obviously abject stupidity is. I'm not just gonna accuse you of vanity and pettiness; I'm gonna show you with the timestamps that can't be edited or deleted so you don't obfuscate as per usual. Deal with it.
How are my questions fake? If you bring up jurisdiction clause, then justify why you brought it up. If you suggest US owed protection to Rwandans, show why that is so. If you want to cast blame, demonstrate your logical basis for doing so. SImple questions. That you can't answer them is not a fault of the questions, but a fault with you. No surprise there.
Listen, I know you CCP apologists like to obfuscate, and putting you on the spot and on record limits your ability to do so. Sorry about that. But now I get to watch you wiggle and squirm and protest about having to justify what you're saying. Gasp! Oh the humanity! How can anyone expect that of a CCP apologist? LOL.
You'll only disclose your "reasoning" in "proper occasions"? That's a good one, Pierce m'boy. That's my laugh of the day. So, when you're in a discussion about a topic, that is not the "proper occasion" to disclose your "reasoning" therein? Yes, the "logic" of a CCP apologist. You can't make this stuff up if you tried. Thanks for that, Pierce m'boy.
YOu know what? Forget trying to make arguments. Just tell me your multitude of reasons why you won't. Turns out that's funny too. Ring ring.
"demonstrated how foolish you’re"
---but Pierce m'boy, you're the latter day embodiment of stupidity each and every time you say anything, yet here you still are!?!
Nah, I think I'll stick around and keep asking questions you can't answer, like:
""State your purpose for referring to "jurisdiction clause"";
"establish any US duty of care to Rwandans";
" basis for "blaming" the US on Rwanda"
...just as a few very recent examples. If I had a dollar for every question you've failed to answer, and every "argument" you've failed to logically substantiate, I'd have a lot of dollars. But no matter. That's what work is for. This is purely for amusement, and you're a gifted comic. Well done, Pierce m'boy.
What? To be honest, I think you'd have to watch "The Big Bang Theory" to know that it actually has nothing to do with the origins of the universe at all...
Ahh Pierce m'boy, you assert IL, yet you fail to define what it is. It's just typical that a CCP apologist fails to define his own assertions. Why are you looking to me to define it? Am I the designated spoon-feeder for CCP apologist idiots? How pathetic can you get?
"the stated purpose of my reference to jurisdiction clause"---here's a challenge for you. State your purpose for referring to "jurisdiction clause". Commit to your idiocy, so we can all humour in it.
Are you asserting that contract law exists, or doesn't exist? Simple question that remains unanswered, amidst your constant obfuscation that renders incomprehensible what it is you're talking about. I realize that is the MO of all CCP apologists, so let's put a stop to that, shall we.
But for treaties, there is no international law except for prohibitions for things like slavery. Simple as that. Feel free to show us something that international law prescribes in the absence of treaties. I suspect this will take another week before we get even a colossally stupid response, such is the way Pierce m'boy works. Alas, not everyone can function like adults.
Feel free to show us any day now where the US D of I obligates protections for non-Americans. How long have we been waiting for that? 3 weeks?
My guess is we'll have deafening silence. You don't ask a CCP apologist questions hoping for answers; you ask to enjoy the humour of them lacking the stones to even try. Pierce m'boy my neutered pup, ring ring
Pierce m'boy, you are a pathetic human being who is an embarrassment for all human beings. You seriously have the impulse control of a 3 year old. Those statements require no qualification or equivocation, and are stated as observable and reproducible facts.
When a thread closes, the thread closes. Sometimes you get the last word; sometimes you don't. That's the way it goes. But for you, as evidenced by the last 4 or 5 threads which denied you the last word, you lack the depth of character and intellectual capacity to move on. So instead, you hijack completely unrelated threads so as to continue with your display of buffoonery. Now, I'm on record as enjoying the amusement you provide, but your lack of character is truly disappointing presumably for all Chinese people.
And once again here, a thread closed with you NOT getting the last word, and there you are here hijacking a new thread on a completely unrelated topic. This is pathetic behaviour befitting a petulant child if said child had a chronological age of 3...but in your case, that is simply your intellectual age.
But as I've also said, CCP apologist belligerence has no effect on me, since it is so pervasive as to render regular internet forum users inoculated from the disease. If you want to be the mole, I want to do the whacking. Though as I've noted before, your behaviour bespeaks some serious flaws in your upbringing, for which there is likely a shared responsibility between yourself and your ancestors.
Thinking that CCP censors would employ logic and common sense in their work is to be expecting quite a lot, me'thinks. We are, after all, speaking of censors...who work for the CCP. I don't think logic and common sense enter into the equation at any point along that chain of command.
Two readers persist in an insane demand: Why don't you answer my "well documented" questions?
I usually don't dignify cockamamie questions with answers meant for intelligent folks. I suggest you do the same. Science, facts and math (logic) mean nothing to illiterates and Democracy cultists.
What do idiots mean by “documentation?” For those with minimal education beyond literacy, it means media hearsay. The journalist gold standard for reliable information says at least 3 “independent” sources. When a rumor has been spread a million times, it’s no brainer to find dozens of such dubious sources. This is the sacred cow of Fourth Estate.
More than half the world’s population hold the God of Abraham up as the Maker of this universe, which was ostensibly created only 6000 years ago. Scientists have proved through observations of cosmic microwave background radiation, nucleosynthesis, etc. the validations the laws of physics. The rebuttals from religious freaks to the 17.38 billion year old universe are always one and the same: God in the Bible says this and that.
The superstitions of Democracy Cultists follow the same line of argument: Elections are the only way to choose leaders because it is part and parcel of their self-contradictory Universal Values system. You are Satan if you confuse us with facts, math and science, which prove the contrary.
Of course cultists also claim more than half the world population is on their side with dysfunctional democracies.
Rather arrogant to "doubt I know the meanings of capital and labour". On what grounds do you have this doubt?
I note you say that Marxist-Leninists and no doubt also Communists should not be given a voice, let alone a decision making role in a well-functioned [sic] (think you mean "functioning") political economy.
So where does that leave China and its ruling Communist Party? You can't have it both ways. The Communist Party may have recently elevated hundreds of millions from abject poverty but it also condemned hundreds of millions to abject poverty and misery and many millions to untimely deaths in the "Great Leap Forward" and the Cultural Revolution. A very strong argument can be made to show that if a non-CCP party had ruled China since 1949, those hundreds of millions would have been raised out of abject poverty 30 or 40 years ago (cf Taiwan, South Korea).




SCMP.com Account