A popular U.S. drama series depicting life in a newsroom has been a surprise hit in China, where the government tightly controls the press, and concepts of free speech, which are exemplified in the show, are forbidden.
The HBO drama series The Newsroom debuted in the United States on June 24 to a solid viewership of 2.1 million. In China, netizens’ positive reaction to the show were quickly posted on the Internet.
“The Newsroom a fast-paced, intense, and exceptional production demonstrates the professionalism of America’s news anchors. Those who work in media-related professions must watch this show,” said one Chinese netizen via Twitter.
Another, from Heilongjiang, wrote, “The Newsroom is one of the best American dramas produced in recent times. To many people, especially those living in mainland China, it is but an unattainable dream.”
The show also appears to have stirred up criticism and resentment against the Chinese communist regime’s tight control over China’s media.
One netizen from Beijing wrote, “The characters in The Newsroom demonstrated such passion in their line of work, it feels as if we Chinese have long since lost that kind of fighting spirit. Can our Chinese news anchors still dare to say that America is not the greatest country in the world?”
A netizen from Macau commented, “This show would set the passion of even the most timid of journalists on fire. After watching it, you’d think that our local news scene in China is no better than a pile of garbage.”
Another netizen from Jiangsu noted with a heavy dose of sarcasm, “If the Chinese censors ever approve a show like this, I’ll join the Communist Party.”
The show seems to have stirred others into contemplating about the state of their country as well.
After watching the show, a media professional by the name of “Feng Tiefei” shared his thoughts on China’s society in an online post. He wrote, “We are now facing a turning point in history. Our government may be a tool that can impart virtue and kindness to its citizens, but at the same time, it’s also a tool that lies in the hands of opportunistic politicians. As a society, we thirst after cooperation and progress, yet we are still selfish people at our core.”
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