Global Times: American TV Shows Removed to Help Chinese Shows

Kelly Cuoco, Penny in The Big Bang Theory.


From NetEase:

Global Times: American TV Shows Taken Down to Support Domestic Shows

[Note: The title may have been changed to “Global Times: American TV Shows Taken Down, Domestic TV Shows Still Need Improvement]

Recently, quite a few American TV show fans were surprised to discover that American TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory have one after another been taken down from many video streaming websites, with the webpages where they were taken down from showing “unable to be viewed due to [government] policy reasons”. As it is understood, 4 American TV shows that have been taken down, with them being The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, NCIS, and The Practice respectively. The two more influential [popular] ones are the first two, which have many hardcore fans domestically.

For watchers of the domestic film and television market, this news is actually not so unexpected. As early as last month, the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television [SARFT] issued a notice concerning strengthening their auditing/censorship of online shows, microfilms, and other online audio-visual programming. Apart from shows domestically produced or produced by websites themselves, the American and British TV shows that the various major websites are competing to purchase shall also face government review. According to the aforementioned notice, the American and British TV shows purchased henceforth by websites must be “audited first before broadcasting”, with the programs that have been approved to report the local provincial-level SARFT record. Organizations/companies that broadcast shows in violation of regulations shall have punishments such as warnings, injunctions, and fines imposed upon them by SARFT in accordance with the “Regulations on the Management of Internet Audio-Visual Programming Service”.

American TV shows are currently on average the costliest and most influential TV shows in the world. Since being introduced into China, they have gained the following of many viewers, particularly urban audiences. However, because American TV shows have not been subject to China’s regulatory and censorship organs, some inappropriate, bloody, and violent plots/scenes in them have also appeared completely uncut on China’s video websites. Supervisory departments has in the past relatively neglected this phenomenon. Following the increasing purchasing of shows by many video websites in recent years, the influence of some content in American TV shows upon the youth [younger audiences] is increasingly pronounced. Thus, increasing oversight has become a necessary decision of supervisory/regulatory departments. According to analyses by foreign media, the implementation of this policy will affect 80% of American TV shows, and many American shows will face being taken down.

Kelly Cuoco, Penny in The Big Bang Theory.

Other than regulating content, “purifying” videos, the departments who have enacted this policy have an even deeper-level of consideration. Not long ago, many domestic film and television industry professionals voiced the same complaint: Domestic films and television shows need to face strict government review/censorship, but at the same time, the foreign films or television shows on the internet essentially face nothing in terms of government auditing/censorship. This makes it unfair when it comes to competition, with domestically produced films and television shows “losing at the starting line” as a result [domestic films and shows face greater scrutiny which makes it harder for them to compete with foreign shows]. In light of there still not being a ratings system for domestic movies and television shows, this kind of inequality in auditing/censorship greatly influences the market performance of domestically produced movies and television shows. Many industry insiders thus suggested: Identical auditing/censorship standards for foreign films and television shows broadcasted and screened domestically.

From the above facts, other than considerations for the mental and physical health of the young, it can be seen that the deeper reason for the censorship regulatory departments are threatening American TV shows lies in protecting the domestic film and television industry that remains vulnerable, especially the domestically-produced TV shows that look increasingly vulnerable in the face of competition from American shows. On the surface, this policy by SARFT has no relationship with the previously announced “Only Two Channels Per Show” policy to begin in 2015 [only two channels can broadcast the same show during prime time each evening], but actually has the same roots, with both using government policy to adjust the direction of the film and television market and help domestically-produced works. Media has conjectured that the crisis for American TV shows may very well be an opportunity for Korean and Japanese shows, that from this point on, video websites will increase their purchases of Korean dramas. However, this author believes that in following the “no longer negligent” supervision and regulation of regulatory departments, the excessive flood of foreign film and television works will change.

(Author is a well-known entertainment industry commentator)


Comments from NetEase:

gu1573 [网易山东省济南市手机网友]:

As expected, they only allow us to watch bare-handed ripping apart of Japanese devils.

玲奈神推 [网易上海市手机网友]:

Then take down bangzi dramas as well.

网易湖北省武汉市手机网友 ip:113.57.*.*:

Domestic TV serials are just palace dramas and anti-Japanese war serials. What other subject-matter is there? Isn’t garbage like those produced by Yu Zheng not disgusting enough?

网易湖南省邵阳市手机网友 ip:222.243.*.*:

You want us to watch bare-handed ripping apart of Japanese devils every day? Palace dramas? Go to hell.

藥粉 [榜上有名]:

That The Big Bang Theory has been banned but 2 Broke Girls is still alive [being broadcasted] proves that vulgarity is not the reason. That The Walking Dead is still around proves that explicit/graphic content harming psychological health is also not the reason. That K-dramas are still around proves that low-intellect [content] is also not the reason. I can only think that they must confirm that the shows won’t make the people smart that they’ll allow the people to watch them.

网易河北省石家庄市手机网友 ip:106.113.*.*:

Why is it blocking American TV shows instead of having domestic producers work harder at making shows viewers like? So they’re not letting others broadcast their shows just because they themselves can’t make good ones? What kind of logic is this?

mmiluy [网易天津市手机网友]:

Global Shit Times


To be honest, A lot of violent scenes in American TV shows really aren’t good for the growth and development of young people [children].

网易美国手机网友 ip:68.48.*.*: (responding to above)

And bare-handed ripping apart of Japanese devils doesn’t have a [negative] impact/influence?

hzjgbl [网易浙江省杭州市手机网友]:

There is a country, that has never invaded China, yet we call it a “hostile Western power”; there is a country, that has never had an emperor, yet we call it “imperialist”; there is a country, that has provided money and people who brought their own planes to help China resist invaders, yet we dispatched millions of troops to cross borders and snipe at them; there is a country, that has time and time again saved China at critical moments, yet we hate them to the bone… there is a country, that is too low/despicable!

网易广东省广州市手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*:

Damn, can The Big Bang Theory be more violent than bare-handed ripping apart of Japanese devils?

Vkick [网易湖南省长沙市手机网友]:

This is not enough! There should only be one channel, CCAV!

秋水澄湖 [网易上海市手机网友]:

Might as well just shut down the internet and return to the age of one-way information dissemination, where there are only newspapers, television, and loudspeakers.

联合国人民解放军 [网易河南省郑州市手机网友]:

Global Shit Times is just a propaganda tool.

网易广东省广州市增城市手机网友 ip:218.19.*.*:

Violence, gore, sexual content… Americans watch these things and we don’t see them living worse than us.

yvonesw [网易河北省廊坊市手机网友]:

You say American TV shows are bloody and violent, so what others watch, we can’t? That a ratings system is has not been realized after all these years is the government simply doing nothing, ultimately having the ordinary common people foot the bill. Fuck you. If you can’t [do your jobs], then step down and let those who can.

动物园大灰狼 [网易辽宁省鞍山市手机网友]:

This feels like when Japanese and American cartoons were popular on various television channels, so SARFT came down with a policy that prohibited foreign cartoons from being broadcasted between 4pm and 11pm. Fucking, that is exactly when students [children] have time and that’s when you forbid them from being broadcasted? And what was the ultimate result? The ultimate result was the coddled rise of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. Saint Seiya taught us to be brave and persevere, Transformers taught us to fight against evil, Tom and Jerry made us understand humor. What has Pleasant Goat taught us? No matter how hard Grey Wolf tries, he’ll never be able to eat mutton. All the various sheep are always disrespecting their elders. Red Wolf teaches us domestic violence. Little Grey teaches us that we can betray our parents for others.

网易安徽省芜湖市手机网友 ip:36.58.*.*:

Those website are going to lose so much money, having spent so much money to buy [the shows] but are not unable to broadcast them. Bastard Party, bastard government!

网易广东省深圳市手机网友 ip:112.97.*.*:

A certain parent sees that their own son is both ugly and stupid, so they take a knife and hack to death the good-looking children of other families, then tells their own son that he is the best! Stupid cunt logic!

飘渺浪客0 [网易四川省成都市手机网友]:

Looks like those auditing/censoring domestic TV serials are all mentally retarded. Otherwise, how could there be so many anti-Japanese super hero serials? [also the name of a specific Chinese TV series]

网易美国手机网友 ip:73.183.*.*:

Is there nothing else more worth doing? Talk about a strange country/government. =.=

exo撸含 [网易北京市朝阳区手机网友]:

When there isn’t even the right to watch television shows, no matter how strong and powerful the country gets, what use is it?


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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