With a veritable smorgasbord of harmonized options, narrowing down this particular list was a struggle of Herculean proportions but here it is: Shanghaiist’s greatest moments in censorship from 2015.
Technically, this goes into effect on January 1st, 2016, but the strict regulation against all “illegal” maps was passed back in November. It bans the production, display or sell of maps depicting the PRC that do not meet with national standards and regulations.
If you haven’t checked to make sure that all your maps are up to date, now might be a good time.
Censorship can also create opportunities. China’s intensifying crackdown on porn has created numerous well paid job opportunities across China, with Chief Pornographic Identification Officers raking in up to 200,000 RMB for their services. In April, Shaanxi officers announced that during a marathon seven-day porn-watching binge, they managed to break two computers in the course of their investigation.
No, we have no idea how to apply for this job.
8) Google’s new parent company Alphabet
Nobody ever said Chinese censors weren’t effective.
Less than 24 hours after Google revealed that it would become a subsidiary of a new holding company called Alphabet, users were barred from accessing its website in China.
7) Adam Sandler’s artistic freedom
Figuring that intergalactic aliens blasting a hole in the Great Wall wouldn’t help the film’s chances of getting picked up in China, Sony executives scrapped that sensitive scene from their latest film Pixels.
Of course, Adam Sandler isn’t the only one to have his credibility compromised in the single-minded pursuit for Chinese box office receipts, much of Hollywood has already jumped on the Pander Express:
6) Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi was expected to play both Beijing and Shanghai during its Asian tour this fall, but just a week before the planned gigs, promoters informed the public that they had been canceled for “unforeseen reasons.” As is often the case, this seems to have been code for “Dalai Lama reasons.”
However, what made this story even stranger was that Taiwanese superfans soon revealed that they were the masterminds behind the cancellation. Inspired by Maroon 5’s summer concert in Shanghai being cancelled because Dalai Lama reasons, the fans snitched on Bon Jovi to get the band to play a second date in Taipei.
And the plan would have worked to perfection too… if not for that typhoon.
Seriously, who would want to censor this?
5) Peng Liyuan’s dubious makeup
During China’s first couple’s whirlwind trip of the UK, the British press were left speculating as to the cause of Peng’s powdery complexion at a royal banquet, meanwhile Chinese netizens saw the photos vanish from the internet as state censors stepped in to maintain the illusion of a gaffe free state visit.
4) Fan Bingbing’s cleavage
Right after New Year’s, the massively popular dynastic drama “The Empress of China” starring Fan Bingbing was allowed back on the air, but with drastically less historical cleavage. SAARFT ordered the cuts after receiving public complaints that the bosoms were “bad for the healthy growth of juveniles.”
3) “Dangerous tweets” about the Tianjin explosions
Ever since the Wenzhou train crash in 2011, Chinese censors have put an emphasis on maintaining tight control of the Chinese Internet during times of disaster. The period after the Tianjin explosions was no different with censors liberally harmonizing thousands upon thousands of “dangerous” tweets.
Working in overdrive and with impressive efficiency, they quickly created a list of 50 websites that were to be punished for “spreading rumors” and “creating panic.”
2) Uniqlo Sex Video
In what was likely the most viral video of 2015, a couple filmed themselves having sex in the fitting room of a Beijing Uniqlo shop. After being uploaded onto WeChat, the video quickly became the top trending topic everywhere.
Eventually, Chinese censors caught on and harmonized the video from the internet, even calling in officials from Sina and Tencent to explain how the footage had spread so quickly. Still, they weren’t able to erase the memory.
1) “Under the Dome”
“Under the Dome,” the landmark documentary about China’s air pollution problems by former CCTV reporter Chai Jing was the surprise viral hit of the Chinese Internet this year, racking up 200 million views in no time, before it was abruptly deleted from major Chinese video websites under apparent orders from Beijing. Still, seems like the word is out.
WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS…
By Pinky Latt