Mainland censors have banned a popular yet controversial TVB drama series When Heaven Burns with five episodes to go. It was the first local production to be banned in China in a decade.
According to media reports, the channel said the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) ordered TVB's sub-licensees on the mainland - youkou.com and tudou.com - to stop showing the series and remove all content from their websites.
One source said a similar order was issued to TVB's other licensed online video providers on the mainland. 'TVB is concerned about the matter.
It is waiting for an official notice before making any comment,' the source said.
The ban comes as Sarft starts to limit the number of entertainment shows and replace them with 'moral preaching' programmes.
A search for the series' Chinese title on video sites including youkou.com, tudou.com and PPS yesterday afternoon found nothing. The exact reason for the ban was not immediately apparent, but baffled mainland fans speculate it was because of the series' controversial storyline.
There are heated debates on online discussion forums like Douban and Tianya, with viewers complaining that Sarft canned the series when it was reaching its climax. There are rumours it was banned for condemning the 1989 June 4 crackdown.
The 30-episode series, which began airing last month, portrays a bleak view of humanity with scenes of cannibalism and characters with casual relationships.
The story follows three former band members who are haunted by guilt after a tragedy 18 years ago that forced them to kill and eat a friend's flesh to survive.
Cast members include Bowie Lam Bo-yee, Moses Chan Ho and Charmaine Sheh Sze-man.