news Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | January 14, 2015 | 8:45 am IST

The Chinese have never been known for their love of freedom of expression. But this time, the state’s censorship of a popular TV show has rattled the public and goaded them to ridicule their government online.

The Empress of China- the most popular drama on Chinese TV boasts of big stars, huge budgets, lavish sets and a gripping story. But the costumes, especially for the female characters did not sit well with the censors. Although in line with the period depicted in the show, the on display cleavage stirred up the moral police, who swiftly removed the show from the screens.

It did resurface, few days later, completely cleavage free. Scenes were zoomed in, cropped out, reframed and edited to adhere to the government’s standards. And surprisingly, the Chinese public, so used to the state’s interference in almost every aspect of their lives, has publicly expressed its outrage on online forums and social media with jokes and memes.

 The mass mocking of the government has resulted in hilarious suggestions to edit out pictures of the famous Venus de Milo sculpture, to cropping the bare chested images of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

China’s broadcasting censors have regulations banning the showing of adultery, sexual abuse, nudity, ghosts, murder, rape, suicide, gambling and drug uses – on TV screens. More disturbingly, they do not allow negative portrayal of the government or any topics that can lead to social unrest.

The Chinese public wants to show the government the absurdity of their decision. Even the Film and TV industry is afraid of how far their moral policing would go on interfering in their creative field. But as of now, the government has had the last laugh and cleavage or no-cleavage, they have shown who is the boss in China.

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