Things that are banned in China and WHY?

Even though China was one of the world’s most visited country (before the Covid-19 pandemic) mostly because of its rich cultural heritage, sky soaring mountains and  beautiful landscapes, and decent urban civilization, most people who visited the country could only talk about the ridiculous censorship that the Chinese government has enforced upon its citizens.

Here are a few things that you might not know are banned in China :

  • Winnie The Pooh:

Yes, you heard it right, beloved cartoon movie, Winnie the Pooh is banned in China, after a series of “memes” were made comparing the characters in the show to China’s high officials.

 Image Source: BBC NEWS

     Netizens didn’t even spare President Xi Jinping, and compared him to Pooh itself!

China’s censors didn’t tolerate this mockery of the leaders of the Communist party, and hence the beloved children’s character got its Chinese name, images, and even the movie banned in China.

  • Violent Video Games:
  • China banned video games focusing on violence, sex, and gambling, in April 2019. Popular games that made the list due to violence-related reasons were Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat.

 Image Source: Gamingscan.com

Other games which too made the blacklist in China, include those who depict the Chinese Government or its history in a negative light. Games that made this list include IGI 2: Covert Strike, Plague Inc., and even Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

  • Fireworks:
  • This one might come off as a bit of a shocker since it was China which invented Fireworks sometime between 600-900 AD.

    Alas, due to the overpopulation and increasing levels of air pollution, people see fewer lights in the night sky during Chinese New Year Celebrations.

Image Source : thinglink.com

Most of the big cities across China have banned setting off fireworks since greenhouse emissions are increasing. Other cities have placed a limit on the number of fireworks that can be shot into the sky.

  • Wikipedia:
  • The Chinese government has banned Wikipedia: The Online Encyclopedia in all languages, as of May 2019. (Only the Chinese version of the website was banned previously)

     In a statement, Wikipedia wrote, “ We have not received notice or any indication as to why this current block is occurring and why now.”

     However, it is theorized that Chinese officials did so to repress access to the site’s diverse opinions, which may contradict the Party’s opinions and values.

     Many pointed out that the government also banned the website to refrain public access to China’s dark history.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

  Many suspected the timing of the ban, as the ban was enforced shortly before the anniversary of the end of the Tiananmen Square Protests, which might have shed light on one of the cruelest acts of the Chinese Government.

  • The Topic Of Time Travel:
  • In 2011, the topic of time travel has been banned by Chinese Regulators in all forms of entertainment, including TV shows and movies.

      Image Source: medium.com

Reportedly, the government didn’t like the idea of people going back in time and changing Historical events.

The State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television stated, “The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which by no means will be encouraged anymore.”

  • The “Jasmine” flower:
  • The Chinese government censored the word “Jasmine” on the internet and banned sales of the flower in many large cities like Beijing, after the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia inspired similar Pro-Democracy protests in China.

Image Source: boredbug.com

    It is speculated that this ban was enforced to prevent revolts against the Chinese Government’s anti-democratic rulings.

  • Social Networking Sites:
  • One of the major social media platforms that is banned in China is Facebook. A ban was imposed on Facebook in the year 2009 after it was used by Xinjiang independence activists during the Urumqi riots.

    According to a 2017 Chinese Law, online services are required to store data on domestic servers. Mark Zuckerberg – the founder and CEO of Facebook isn’t in favor of this move since the government can easily access a user’s personal data.

    As a result, Facebook-owned social media platforms, such as Instagram, and WhatsApp were blocked as well.

    In 2019, Zuckerberg in a statement against this move, wrote, “I believe one of the most important decisions we’ll make is where we’ll build data centers and store people’s sensitive data.”

    Similarly famous social media platform, Twitter is also banned in China. Tweeting can, in fact, get you locked up. Many Chinese activists have been using VPNs to access Twitter in the country which has resulted in a high number of detainments in China.

     Wang Aizhong, a human-rights activist, told The New York Times,” If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak.”

     Other famous social media platforms banned in China include YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Line, Google+, etc.

    Image Source: vpnchina.com

 Although China has its own alternatives for all of these apps like WeChat, Seina Weibo, Zhihu, Tencent QQ, Youku ,etc., these apps are highly censored.

  • Random Books and TV Shows:
  • In 2014, the Chinese government randomly banned some popular American TV Shows including, “Big Bang Theory”, and “The Good Wife”, and “The Practice.” The reason for this ban remained unknown, but in 2019, Chinese censorship tightened under President Xi Jinping and banned TV shows that are “too entertaining” ahead of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

According to The South China Post, the notice read,” TV stations should put emphasis on choosing shows … and not broadcast any period or ‘idol dramas’ that are too entertaining.”

   Image Source: en.wikipedia.org       Image Source: amazon.in

Many books that go against the government ideology and reveal China’s dark history are also banned. Some of them are banned because they touch certain topics like drugs, rebellion, Tibetian Freedom Struggle, and/or portray the government in a negative light.

The Tiananmen Papers is one such book.

  • Peppa Pig:
  • Popular cartoon character Peppa Pig, joins Winnie the Pooh on the list of characters that China banned. Reportedly, Peppa Pig was blocked from the online video channel, Douyin, after it was somehow associated with a “gangster” subculture.

          Image Source: youtube.com

      After the search term #PeppaPig, was removed from Douyin, as many as 30,000 videos of beloved Peppa became unavailable to the Chinese public.

  • Quoting Foreign Press:
  • After the New York Times won a Pulitzer in 2013 for a news piece about the secret wealth of Wen Jiabao (the sixth Premier of the State Council of China), the Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, issued a ruling that forbids all mainland Chinese media from using information from foreign organizations without permission.

   Image Source: Wire.in

   A journalism nonprofit, Reporters Without Borders, condemned this move by the Chinese Government and called it a “new level of censorship”.

– Aanandita Singh

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