HONG KONG — US TV series “Agent Carter” and “Empire” have been ordered offline in China by the country’s media regulator, the State General Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
The series appear to have fallen foul of new regulations that require imported TV series to have passed censorship in China before being broadcast, according to the widely read Mtime website.
The new rules require that an entire series from its first season be approved by regulators before a single episode can air.
The ruling was announced late last year with a date of implementation early in 2015 that was kept unclear.
In practice the ruling means that for shows where new episodes are broadcast at regular intervals, legal Chinese video sites will not be able to closely adhere to U.S. broadcast windows. That may in turn cause an upturn in piracy of those shows, as the most avid fans search for them on the most quickly available sites.
The crackdown by the SAPPRFT appears to have many motivations, among them a reduction of the amount of U.S. content shown online, and inclusion of the burgeoning online video scene under rules similar to its centralized control of theatrical releases and the TV sector.
New guidelines also seek to eliminate just about every kind of sexual activity, including flirting, other than heterosexual marital intercourse.