Video streaming websites in China have been ordered to stop showing four popular American TV shows, including The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife.
The move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online industry, which is freer than state television and China’s cinemas to show foreign productions and other content and has stretched the boundaries of what can be seen in the country.
A spokeswoman for a leading video site, Youku, said on Sunday it had received notification not to show sitcom The Big Bang Theory, political and legal drama The Good Wife, crime drama NCIS and legal drama The Practice.
The edict, which was identical to the one sent to Youku and other companies, also listed a Chinese slapstick miniseries made by another site, Sohu, as having to be removed.
Online streaming sites regularly receive orders to take down Chinese or foreign TV programs and movies, but usually because the regulator considers them too salacious or violent or because they infringe copyright laws.
Sohu’s most popular US shows are crime drama Nikita — episodes from the first and second seasons have been watched a combined total of 472 million times — and Masters of Sex, which weren’t included in the order.