China’s popular video-sharing platforms, like: Bilibili, ACFun and Weibo have suddenly pulled out a lot of popular foreign TV from their websites which caused a massive shock and frustration among viewers.
Bilibili is considered as the Youtube of China with a giant client base of over 150 million users. The mammoth video-sharing website has removed all foreign TV shows that are originated in the United States, the United Kingdom and Thailand. Two of the most loved British TV series, Yes Minister and The IT Crowd were yanked off. Not only foreign TV series, but also all foreign TV genres, such as “American Drama” have been removed from the website.
As for ACFun, almost all famous movies and TV series that are made in USA, UK and Thailand have been removed.
To clarify this shocking action, Bilibili stated that those videos were removed for not complying with China’s copyrights regulations. It is unclear, however, if those shows and movies will be added once more sometime soon or not.
TV viewers expressed their anger over this action and believe that this move is rather political as part of China’s massive crackdown on the internet to clean up from unfavoured content by the government, such as shutting down VPN services, celebrity gossip websites, social media websites and so on.
One Bilibili user that goes by the username Hana Li said: “I don’t know whether it’s a government move to manage copyright problems or if they’re trying to control how people think,” [...] “Maybe it’s both.”
Another user commented “First they start shutting down VPN providers, now foreign TV shows have been taken off AcFun and Bilibili,” [...] “Why would anyone say this is the best of times? It’s the most hopeless time.”
Despite public outrage, China is still moving on to reinforce its internet sovereignty by implementing more restrictions on the kind of content fed to Chinese users on the internet. The country is heavily cracking down on web content promoting abnormal sexual behaviour. It is believed that China is making room for national entertainment to propagate patriotic and nationalistic ideals among the populace.
One user on Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, commented that the government “wants to isolate the country from the outside world in the internet age”. “The Qing dynasty is back.”
Regardless of China’s brutal take on the internet, users can still watch and download their favourite shows and movies on pirated websites, DVDs and torrenting applications.