Why This Country Is Banning Some Of Your Favorite Shows

Can you imagine not being able to stream Scandal, Girls, or Game of Thrones — because of the government?

That could be the reality for TV lovers in China, thanks to new regulations that extend the country's already-strict censorship rules.

It's no secret that China's government doesn't love Western TV programming, even though the country's residents reportedly enjoy streaming shows like Sherlock and House of Cards. Its State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) has previously restricted foreign programming for content that depicts sex and violence.

But in its latest set of rules, the Chinese government is taking censorship a step further, banning images of people in same-sex relationships — along with depictions of drinking and "extreme vengeance" — both in TV and online programming. The new rules represent "the first time the government has publicly called for a merging of censorship standards for online and traditional television content," according to The New York Times.

The standards were released last December, but they weren't widely reported until this month, explains the Hong Kong Free Press. In addition to banning what China considers "abnormal" sexual relationships, the regulations also apply to depictions of China that are "harmful to the unity and sovereignty of the country and its territorial integrity," The New York Times reports.

One of the most restrictive provisions covers censorship of TV that "promotes unhealthy views of marriage and relationships, including extramarital affairs, one-night stands, and sexual freedom," Quartz reports, a.k.a. topics covered in many popular shows here in the United States.

Other notable entries on the forbidden list include any entertainment that "shows the dark side of society," which is likely meant to include programs that are critical of China's government and its policies. The rules also include censoring any TV offering that "breaks with national sentiment, lacks a foundation in basic living, or promotes a luxurious lifestyle."

For the full list of what content China's government is censoring, check out this breakdown on Quartz.
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