CBS' hugely popular sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" is no longer available for its fans in China. The online video streaming sites such as Sohu TV, iQiyi and Youku have been barred from showing it. In addition to "The Big Bang Theory," the other popular American T.V. shows that Chinese fans can no longer watch online are "The Good Wife," "NCIS" and "The Practice."
China has not provided any reason why these four shows have been taken-off from the Web streaming sites. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has ordered this ban, without providing any explanation.
Time reports that one of reasons for the ban is likely to be the increasing popularity of "The Big Bang Theory" in China. According to Time's report, "The Big Bang Theory" has racked-up a whopping 1.3 billion views since the sitcom was made available on Sohu TV in 2009.
"The reason that "The Big Bang Theory" was banned is because it's just too hot in China," said Lou Hongyu, a Weibo account user in Shanghai, as quoted by Market Watch blog. The Market Watch reports that a huge backlash can be seen on Chinese social media against the taking down of the "The Big Bang Theory" and the other three shows.
"Why were these four TV shows banned? The authorities may be making an example of a few, but who are they going to frighten?" The Oriental Daily asked in another Weibo post, as quoted by Market Watch. The Oriental Daily also quoted Sheldon's sarcastic line from "The Big Bang Theory": "I like China. ... See, they know how to keep people in line."
Earlier, SAPPRFT had said that it is Chinese Government that will decide whether an American or British show will be allowed to be broadcast in China, or not. According to the new rule, until being vetted, T.V. shows that are produced in the U.S. and the UK will not be aired online. If a Web site is found violating this rule, its license can be revoked, according to Market Watch.
Recently, some of episodes of "The Blacklist," which were critical of the Chinese Government, also faced censorship, according to THR.