'The Big Bang Theory' Banned in China But Not 'House of Cards'?

Image: 'The Big Bang Theory' Banned in China But Not 'House of Cards'? CBS Television Network “The Big Bang Theory”. Pictured left to right: Simon Helberg, Mayim Bialik, Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 11:09 AM

By Angela Deines

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China’s media watchdog agency has banned the hit show “The Big Bang Theory” and other U.S.-made television series, claiming the shows promote harmful content. So why is "House of Cards" still on?

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT, has given no explanation for removing the hit comedy show along with “The Good Wife,” “The Practice,” and “NCIS” from streaming video websites, according to The Hollywood Reporter

There has been a public outcry over the shows’ removal and there is reportedly an effort underway to bring the shows back.

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SAPPRFT has only said the shows don’t follow the regulations outlined in Article 16 that governs audiovisual products. That article states that media productions are subject to a ban if they harm China’s reputation, promote crime, including prostitution, gambling or terrorism.

“The reason is simple economics, “ according to a blog co-written by Ying Zhu and Frances Hisgen for The Wall Street Journal. “Chinese local producers want to keep a lion’s share of the massive domestic online content market, and they want to cultivate their own fans instead of siding with the fans of US or UK shows.”

Chinese president Xi Jinping launched an initiative last month to get rid of pornography, rumors and other related content which included the banning of the four U.S. shows. What’s perplexing many observers of the ban, however, is that the Chinese government hasn’t pulled the plug on “House of Cards,” particularly the second season that is critical of the corruption in China.

The ban on the U.S. shows harkens back three years ago to when the Chinese government banned “Avatar” in order to get more viewers for the domestically-produced Confucius movie. The public snubbed “Confucius” and the government eventually relented, allowing “Avatar” to be shown in China’s theatres.

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