The highly anticipated return of Friends to Chinese streaming platforms soured quickly after fans noticed that a LGBTQ plotline was cut from the US sitcom — and their complaints were censored, too.
China’s top platforms started streaming the series on Friday, but the back story of a lesbian character was absent from the first season’s second episode.
Fans flooded social media with complaints about the removal, with the top-trending hashtag “Friends censored” racking up tens of millions of views on the Sina Weibo microblog.
“I compared this episode and found that all the lines referring to Ross’ ex-wife Carol being a lesbian were deleted. It’s very clearly disjointed,” wrote one user, whose post gained more than 177,000 likes.
Foreign films and television programs that include content authorities consider “sensitive,” such as LGBTQ themes, sex, politics and violence, are routinely censored in China.
“Why would there be a need to mention it? Homosexuality doesn’t exist here, so it’s perfect forever. Everyone’s happy living under this government,” read another seemingly sarcastic comment.
The criticism was also censored on the weekend, and the protest hashtag was replaced by “Why is friends so popular” on Sunday.
Friends, which follows a group of six young people in New York, originally ran from 1994 to 2004 in the US.
It also became an international phenomenon, including in China, where it is hugely popular among millennials. Many young Chinese learned English by watching it on DVDs.
The series first ran in China — uncensored — on the streaming platform Sohu between 2012 and 2013.
Following the popularity of last year’s reunion show, the country’s streaming giants, including Bilibili, Tencent, iQiyi and Youku, decided to relaunch a censored version.
In addition to omitting the LGBTQ plotline in season one, sexually suggestive lines have been translated differently in the Chinese subtitles of the relaunched version to remove the innuendo.
The fan furore over Friends was just the latest such wave of complaints from Chinese fans.
In 2019, multiple scenes in the film Bohemian Rhapsody referencing queer music superstar Freddie Mercury’s sexuality were dropped in its China release.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), authorities have pushed to purge society and culture of elements they deem unhealthy.
Guidelines released by the top media regulator in 2016 prohibited “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” in TV shows, such as homosexuality, smoking, extramarital affairs and underage relationships.
On a beach in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, just a few kilometers from Taiwan’s Kinmen, life is carefree, despite some of the worst cross-strait tensions in decades. Ignoring warnings from Beijing, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday — the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the nation in 25 years — sparking a diplomatic firestorm. China yesterday launched some of its largest-ever military drills — exercises set to disrupt one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. However, on Xiamen’s palm-fringed beach, there was little concern. “A war? No, I don’t care,” a young IT worker surnamed
According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re going to get.” Now, an Indian remake of the movie has been hit by boycott calls over years-old comments by its Muslim star, Aamir Khan. It is the latest example of how Bollywood actors, particularly minority Muslims such as Khan, are feeling increased pressure under Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Modi. Laal Singh Chaddha, an Indian spin on the 1994 Hollywood hit with Tom Hanks, is expected to be one of India’s biggest films of the year. This is due in large part to its
ACROPORA REVIVAL: A marine science official said that the results of recent studies showed that the reef can still recover in periods that are free of intense disturbances Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef now have the highest levels of coral cover in decades, an Australian government report said yesterday. Portions of the UNESCO heritage site showed a marked increase in coral cover in the past year, reaching levels not seen in 36 years of monitoring, the Australian Institute of Marine Science said. Scientists surveying 87 sites said that northern and central parts of the reef had bounced back from damage more quickly than some had expected, thanks mainly to fast-growing Acropora — a branching coral that supports thousands of marine species. “These latest results demonstrate the reef can still recover
Screams from soldiers being tortured, overflowing cells, inhuman conditions, a regime of intimidation and murder. Inedible gruel, no communication with the outside world and days marked off with a home-made calendar written on a box of tea. This is what conditions are like inside Olenivka, a notorious detention center where dozens of Ukrainian soldiers burned to death late last month, said a former prisoner of the camp outside Donetsk in the Russian-occupied east of Ukraine. Anna Vorosheva — a 45-year-old Ukrainian entrepreneur — gave a harrowing account to the Observer of her time inside the jail. She spent 100 days in Olenivka