Over the past couple of years, there has been a trend towards more heavy-handed censoring in China, particularly for content that strongly represents Western ideals and culture. Each year, as China’s population becomes more global, online, educated and well-travelled, its censors battle harder to keep China ‘pure’ and free from the evils of sex, drugs and civil rights that have polluted the West.
While China’s censoring of the Internet is well documented, rules require everything from mainstream advertising to TV soaps to get the big State tick before being aired in the Mainland. “The Empress of China” – its biggest-budget soap ever made following China’s only female emperor during the Tang Dynasty, was abruptly pulled after its release in late-December 2014. After a few days the show returned with cleavage shots strategically removed from the lead actress, Fan Bingbing. It happened at a similar time to announcements that the Shanghai Auto Show was likely to ban racy models.