The regime’s press regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, made a new rule at the end of last year, requiring the department to preview and censor whole seasons of foreign TV dramas before showing them to Chinese audiences.
In the past, the first and second seasons of “House of Cards” were all shown on the Internet, synchronized with the U.S. show times. But now Chinese audiences will have to wait for the whole new season to finish and be approved by the regime’s regulator before they can watch it, if approved.
Although China’s large Internet video portal, Sohu TV announced in its 2015 year plan that it would show the third season of “House of Cards,” the release time of the drama is not clear, according to the state-run Legal Evening News. A Sohu TV staff member indicated that they do not know if it would be broadcast due to state censors.
“House of Cards” was once highly recommended by Wang Qishan, the head of the regime’s anti-corruption department, the Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection, according to Hong Kong media, the Phoenix in December 2013. An anonymous inside source said that Wang mentioned the “House of Cards” several times to the department staff when referring to the ongoing anti-graft campaign that has been shaking up the Chinese regime for two years, Phoenix reported.
“House of Cards,” adapted from a British novel with the same name, tells a story of power struggles, greed, and corruption in American politics. The TV drama has compelled many Chinese to compare it with the power struggles among Chinese communist officials and factions.
“House of Cards” is not the first foreign TV drama that’s been censored in China. Last April, at least four American TV dramas were banned and taken down from Chinese websites, including the “Big Bang,” “The Good Wife,” “NCIS,” and “The Practice.”