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New cyber rules take down more American TV shows

2015-01-22 08:49 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Several popular American TV series were removed from Chinese video-streaming sites on Wednesday, reportedly related to the top media watchdog's new rules on managing online content.

The shows, including Agent Carter, Empire and Shameless, were taken down from video streaming sites like iqiyi.com, tv.sohu.com, youku.com, and v.qq.com.

Many netizens believe that the sudden removal was related to new rules announced last year by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

In September 2014 the SAPPRFT urged the country's video-streaming websites to get licenses to broadcast foreign films and TV series, and said it will ban all unregistered broadcasts. It also said it would review subtitled first seasons of all foreign-made TV dramas before they are shown in China.

A Youku media officer declined to comment on the sudden removal, but told the Global Times Wednesday that the company is aware of the policy, and is willing to cooperate with authorities on any changes.

The SAPPRFT could not be reached as of press time.

Analysts said the new rule reflects the authorities' commitment to regulating online content.

"Regulations have been relatively more relaxed towards programs shown online than on broadcast stations. Now, authorities are using a uniform standard for both," Tan Tian, a professor of new media at Jinan University, told the Global Times Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the removal of popular American TV shows may give rise to more domestic productions, according to Tan.

However, Yun Feiyang, a movie critic, told the Global Times Wednesday that domestically-produced shows still need to be improved to gain broader acceptance.

The removal of American TV series from video-streaming sites started last April when hit shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife were removed, sparking what observers saw as the start of tighter online supervision.

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