The Nanfang / Blog

Top 10 Chinese Internet Searches in 2014 Are Not What You’d Expect

Posted: 12/17/2014 3:47 pm

love apartmentWith all of the year-end lists rolling out this month, it isn’t difficult to get an idea of the stories that captivated audiences in 2014. Google’s 2014 global list of top searches is led by big news events such as “Robin Williams” (who passed away this year), the “World Cup”, and “Ebola”.

China’s list, though, has many scratching their heads. Even the China Daily has asked its readers, “Can you trust this list?” While the list has been widely covered by media, no sources are mentioned in any of the reports.

The list certainly includes a few understandable searches, such as “Malaysian Airlines 370″, and “World Cup” but as for the rest, well, you be the judge:

love apartment1. iPartment 4

This is the fourth season of the show with a title better understood as “Love Apartment”, a sitcom that has been criticized for plagiarizing jokes from Friends.The show is noteworthy for the rare inclusion of a Japanese character, albeit in the “Ross” role.

You can watch all 24 episodes of iPartment 4 online here.

malaysia airlines mh370 china family2. Malaysian Airlines 370

The mystery of this missing airplane continues to draw attention in China, which had the highest number of passengers on board the doomed flight.

cool running everyday mobile phone game app3. Cool Running Everyday

Third in the series of “Everyday” games offered by Tencent, Cool Running Everyday is a mobile phone video game in the “endless runner” genre that features colorfully-coiffed anime characters in their search for more gold coins.

a hero tv drama4. A Hero

More directly translated as “A Generation of Ambition and Ruthlessness”, A Hero is a television drama based on a novel set during the roaring twenties. The story features the familiar motivations of either making it rich, or getting revenge.

You can watch the show online here or here.

world cup5. World Cup

Despite not qualifying, China was nevertheless still game to look it up online.

iphone 6 line up china6. iPhone 6

Interest in the iPhone was so strong in China that consumers were willing to pay top dollar for bootlegs due to the domestic release date being weeks behind the rest of the world.

may december romance tv drama7. May December Love

Traditions get tested in this family drama in which the Gu family patriarch doesn’t approve of his daughter’s finance who is—get this—an older man.

Watch the show online here or here.

sing my song tv reality singing competition8. Sing My Song

While the generic Chinese title of this show means that netizens could have been searching online for “nice Chinese songs”, they were likely looking up this reality TV singing competition that features the best astonished reactions from celebrity judges.

Watch the show online here.

divorce lawyers tv show9. Divorce Lawyers

It’s a TV show about divorce lawyers. Watch to see how they maintain harmony in the face of cultural traditions, or at least for the Playboy bunny outfit seen above.

Watch the show online here.

2048 mobile phone game10. 2048

Not to be confused with Wong Kar-wai’s film 2046, 2048 is a numeric-based mobile phone puzzle game. At least it isn’t lining up three colors in a row.

Photos: QQ, qq1234, mz6, ruian888, fengsung, 969g, zynews, tieba, iFeng, baiducontent, i4, sina


China Cracking Down on Broadcast of Western TV Shows with Strict New Rules

Posted: 12/15/2014 5:37 pm

funny-Conan-O-Brian-China-IphoneAs bad as any “bad China day” can get, expats can always enjoy the pleasure of popular Western TV shows through Chinese streaming websites. But it looks like even that pleasure may disappear once new regulations take effect next year.

The State Committee on Films and Broadcast Media (formerly known as SARFT) wants to make it more difficult for dangerous imperialist western ideas to infiltrate China via Hollywood sitcoms. Starting next year, SARFT will require all online broadcasters to have a special license to broadcast any non-Chinese television shows.  Even then, no new content can be broadcast until at least six months have passed from its original broadcast date the west.

The change was announced at the 2014 China TV and Film Creative Arts Summit, and has already drawn swift criticism for encouraging pirates to fire up the old DVD-burners to distribute content illegally.

So before it’s too late, watch Western TV shows like Conan, American Horror Story, Homeland and Saturday Night Live online before they go they way of The Big Bang Theory.

big bang theory banned china


Photo: themetapicturevonbonn


Smoking Ban Means Chinese TV and Movie Stars Must Butt Out

Posted: 11/25/2014 4:35 pm

China’s Central Television airs scenes of Deng Xiaoping smoking in his autobiographic TV series called Deng Xiaoping at Historical Crossroads

China’s push to crack down on smoking is reaching into the country’s entertainment industry. The government is set to ban characters in movies and TV shows from taking drags on cigarettes, according to a new draft regulation on cigarette control introduced by the State Council on November 24.

According to the document, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) will be responsible for “supervising and managing” content on shows that involve smoking.

A broadcaster can be fined from RMB 5,000 to RMB 30,000 if the media censor finds a movie or television show that broadcasts scenes containing cigarette smoking. Shows that contain heavy smoking scenes could even be suspended and taken off the air, according to the report.

In addition to smoking scenes on big screens, the restrictions also extend to public spaces, cigarette commercials and vending machines. If the regulation is passed, China would ban cigarette commercials, smoking in indoor public spaces, and prohibit public servants from smoking in public.

Chinese actor in the movie Let the Bullet Fly

But whether the regulation translates into tangible results is still a big question mark. One Weibo user called LL宇H wrote, “All the scenes showing Grandpa Mao (Mao Zedong) and Mister Deng (Deng Xiaoping) smoking will be scrubbed off the screen? What does this mean for their personal characters?” Another questioned if the regulation is only scratching the surface rather than dealing with the real problem. 泡泡匠 commented, “If you really have the guts, why not just ban people from growing tobacco? This is really self-deceiving…” Given the millions earned in taxes from tobacco sales, this seems unlikely. User 小凝和轩宝 wrote, “There won’t be any tobacco trade if there is no demand! They can close down these giant tobacco companies first.”

Photos: CCTV, Net Ease 



No More One Night Stands or Sexual Innuendo on Chinese TV

Posted: 11/13/2014 11:00 am

China doesn’t have an established rating system for film and television shows, so the country’s media regulator, SARFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television), has absolute authority to axe any show it deems “inappropriate” for Chinese audiences.

Under a new rule introduced by the regulator, awkwardly titled the “Notice on SARFT’s Regulation to Tighten Control on Internet Video and Audio Content”, scenes and plots related to marital affairs, love triangles, one night stands and gratuitous violence, will be edited or deleted, Jiangsu Net reported. The rule states that content charged with sexual innuendo, wife-swinging, sexual abuse, incest and prostitution will all require editing. The rule goes on to explain that “content with too much physical contact needs to be cut or deleted.”

The new rule is expected to target online video streaming websites, such as, where a number of foreign television shows are streamed online. Even the relatively benign comedy show Big Bang Theory was targeted by the Chinese media censor.

Weibo user, 我bu是皮皮猪 questioned what would happen if the rule was enforced, commenting, “None of the Chinese classic novels-turned shows would make the cut, nor would any foreign blockbusters. The only content left is state-produced shows. Redness will cover all of China.”

Another user, N那些记忆, asked, “if you’ve got balls, why not delete all of the Party official adulterers we’ve been reading about?” Many corrupt officials recently purged from the Communist Party were sacked on the grounds of adultery. According to an official from China’s anti-graft body, adultery charges apply to officials who have at least three mistresses, China Daily reported.

Another user, 鱼二三四, attacked SARFT’s logic: “If traffic jams can disappear just by deleting the term ‘traffic jam’ from the dictionary, then I would gladly do so.”

Photos: Showtime



Bumbling Panda the Star of Controversial CCTV Ad to Promote Better Behaviour by Chinese Tourists

Posted: 10/17/2014 1:47 pm

pandas behaving badly chinese touristsTo see China’s national mascot as an unkempt bumpkin might be insulting to many, but that was exactly the point of an advertisement created by CCTV.

The controversial ad depicts pandas walking around in Australia urinating in public, littering, bumping into people, and hauling overstuffed shopping bags around. Locals show their disgust at the behaviour throughout the spot. It was made at Milson’s Point in Sydney, Australia.

pandas behaving badly chinese touristsThe commercial concludes with the words “Be a good panda. Be a good tourist,” but it’s the imagery that makes the deepest connection by showing behavior commonly associated with Chinese tourists. Even though many news outlets have reported that the commercial was pulled from the air, it’s not clear from which market is was pulled from.

pandas behaving badly chinese touristsChinese tourists have a notorious reputation for causing numerous incidents while traveling. A Chinese teenager defaced a 3500 year-old artifact in Luxor, Egypt last year, while Chinese tourists were photographed washing their feet in the fountain in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

Here’s the commercial:

pandas behaving badly chinese tourists

Here’s the publicly urinating panda. Note the pixelation around his hands.

Photos: screencaps from Youtube


TV Reporter Tied To Tree for Live Broadcast During Typhoon

Posted: 09/16/2014 6:33 pm

typhoon reporterA television reporter has above and beyond the call of duty to bring images of Typhoon Kalmaegi to viewers across Guangdong.

A person described as a “Guangdong meteorological storm chasing reporter” fastened himself to a tree so that he could record video from the storm. His first words? “It’s too windy to talk.”

typhoon reporter

Sounding completely afraid for his life, the reporter describes what he’s seeing, hearing and feeling: a little rain, heavy winds, and the waves several meters high crashing ashore. He also told viewers to stay inside.

typhoon reporter

Here’s the video:

Photos: Sina screenshot


It’s Getting a Lot Harder to Stream Western TV Shows in China

Posted: 09/4/2014 6:45 pm

The Big “Banned” Theory

After yanking four popular American TV series – The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, NCIS and The Practice - from China’s video-streaming websites in April, the country is now set to put even tighter controls on foreign TV shows available on the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the new policy.

The new policy would allow Chinese media regulators to limit the number of foreign TV shows to no more than 30 percent of content on China’s video-streaming websites such as Sohu, Youku, Tudou and Iqiyi. It did not say whether the 30 percent cap referred to the number of TV shows or TV episodes.

China’s media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said that foreign TV shows currently account for more than 50 percent of TV content on Youkou and Tudou alone.

An executive at one of the Chinese video-steaming websites told the newspaper that the regulating agency has been collecting data about foreign TV shows from the websites for quite a while to study the new policy.

The motives behind the new regulation aren’t immediately clear, but executives at some of the websites told the Wall Street Journal that the cap would help cool the bidding for licensing foreign TV shows. Last year, licensing foreign and domestic shows cost the websites RMB 4.2 billion ($683 million), up from RMB 3.2 billion in 2012 and RMB 300 million in 2007, according to figures released by EntGroup.

Before the popular comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory was pulled from Sohu TV, it was watched by 120 million viewers a month over 1.4 billion times, roughly around the country’s total population.

While China’s own state television CCTV was broadcasting Game of Thrones, a sexually graphic TV show, and even Walking Dead, filled with violent and bloody scenes survived the censorship, the choice to ban those four American TV shows in particular was baffling to a lot of viewers. 

The country’s media regulator vaguely explained that the four shows may have violated Clause 16 of the country’s online broadcasting rules, which “prohibits pornography, violence, and content that violates China’s constitution, endangers the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, provokes troubles in society, promotes illegal religion and triggers ethnic hatred,” the New Yorker wrote.

There were also rumors that the reason The Big Bang Theory was banned was because CCTV is looking to broadcast the show on Channel 8 after the translation work is done, Beijing News reported.

We don’t know which of your favourite foreign TV shows will be next in line to be axed, but one thing is clear: sooner or later, the country’s media regulator is going to get them.

Photos: The Blot Magazine; Qianjiang Evening News 


CCTV Congratulates Banned TV Show For Emmy Win

Posted: 08/27/2014 3:08 pm

big bang theory sheldon cooper jim parsonsBreaking Bad may have been the big winner of this year’s Emmy awards, but Chinese citizens know who the real winner is: Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory.

In verifying the show’s cultural significance in China, CCTV posted a comment on Weibo congratulating Parson for winning the award for Best Performance of a Lead Actor in a Comedic Role for his portrayal of the worst friend/roommate/boyfriend you could ever hope to have:

big bang theory emmy win

There is a type of humor called ‘Sheldon’
The Best Performance of a Lead Actor in a Comedic Role is: Jim Parsons for ‘Big Bang Theory’. This is the fourth time Parsons has won the Emmy! But actually, his path has not always been smooth sailing. From his first appearance, the program could not find a television network willing to purchase it. However, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ has been an exception. After reading the script for the pilot episode, Jim thought that this character was right for him… let’s congratulate him!

But what should be Chinese fans expressing their pride at Parsons well-deserved Emmy win has instead been an outpouring of rage. Netizens are still furious about The Big Bang Theory having been unceremoniously banned from video streaming sites earlier this year.

Here are some comments from this post that emphasize people’s anger over the ban on what may be China’s most beloved foreign comedy show:

Prohibited from broadcast, so I’ll just say ‘bird’ (a Chinese expletive) [waving.emo]

Isn’t this show prohibited from broadcast? What’s the point of mentioning this?

Therefore, stop the ban on broadcasting this show!!!!

In fact, the news editor (that wrote this post) was thinking: the ban on the show has nothing to do with me!! I’ll just show my appreciation for Sheldon; what’s wrong with that?! I actually really (expletive) want the ban to be revoked!!!

Why have this ban? And yet they still have the gall to publish this kind of news? [angry.emo] Detestable.

Can this show still be broadcast? A dubbed Chinese language version of this show will be nauseating! The Sohu subtitle translation of the show was so amazing!

The Sohu version of The Big Bang Theory was broadcast in English without any cuts and was accompanied by accurately translated subtitles. As well, additional notes were provided to clearly explain the numerous pop cultural references made in each show.

Fans have been awaiting a rumored move to network television where it is to be dubbed in Chinese, mostly likely to be aired on CCTV. With the next season coming up soon, we can only imagine how funny Sheldon will be by saying in Chinese: “Penny…. Penny… Penny…”


Photos: the Nanfang, CCTV


Jaycee Chan and Kai Ko To Lose Millions in Endorsements

Posted: 08/19/2014 7:23 pm

jaycee jackie chan tea endorsementJaycee Chan and Kai Ko are the latest of a number of celebrities, notably from Hong Kong and Taiwan, that have been charged with drug-related offenses, mostly in and around Beijing. As people wait for the fallout from the arrests, there’s one thing we can be certain of: both celebrities will lose a lot in endorsement money.

Many celebrities make the majority of their earnings from lucrative endorsement deals. Estimates vary, but some sources say the figure tops RMB 70 million a year.

As a rising star, Ko is considerably more famous than Chan, but the two still have 25 endorsement deals between them. Ko has endorsement deals with KFC, Nivea men’s skin cream, Stride chewing gum, Chevrolet cars, Cornetto ice cream, and Maybelline BB skin cream. Meanwhile, Chan has endorsement deals with Yuanye tea, Dove chocolate, and Kangta athletic shoes.

kai ko nivea

But since Chinese television has a zero tolerance towards drug use, it is very likely that all of these commercials will be pulled from broadcast.

Mr Li, who works in entertainment management, gave this estimate:

For a hot young guy like Kai Ko, a single endorsement deal should be worth about RMB four million a year. That means if he currently has 19 endorsement deals, he should be making about RMB six million a month. This does not take into consideration his fee made when performing in movies.

On the other hand, Jaycee’s worth should be lower than Kai’s. It can’t really be calculated, but his six endorsement deals should earn him somewhere around RMB two to three million a year.

CCTV estimated the loss of revenue from cancelled endorsement deals to be worth “hundreds of millions” without providing specifics, while Xinhua made an estimate of RMB 50 million a year.

It’s still too early for this pair to consider a comeback, but even that might be difficult once some time has passed. On August 13, a number of prominent Chinese entertainment agencies publicly signed a contract that blacklisted any talent that used drugs.

In 2011, Jaycee Chan’s father, Jackie Chan, announced that he was leaving his vast fortune to charity, and not to his children.

jaycee chan dove commercial

Before it gets lost to time, here’s a Dove commercial featuring Jaycee Chan and Guo Caijie.

Photos: starpedia77y4, nipicadquan


Is China Ready for NFL-style Football? New League To Start Next Year

Posted: 08/18/2014 11:42 am

us footballThe NFL is the latest US sports league to be dazzled by the vast potential of the Chinese sports market.

Starting next year, those in China will be able to watch live arena football (that’s American football, not the European soccer variant). Chinese authorities have approved the indoor professional football league, to be called the China American Football League (CAFL), reports the Washington Post.

Marty Judge, a co-owner of the Chinese Rugby Football Association, former NFL coach Dick Vermeil, and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski are all co-founders of the new league. It will consist of six to eight teams in major Chinese cities with players from both the US and China. The league hopes to eventually expand to 30 teams in China, and possibly to other Asian countries and Australia.

The CAFL is also the first sports league in China to operate independently of the government.

The league owners are optimistic about China’s potential to embrace America’s most popular sport. “It’s a gamble. We think there is an insatiable appetite for Western sports,” said Jaworski. Judge said, “China is going to be the next big marketplace for American football.” He added:

“With the backing of the Chinese government, the sky is the limit for how we can grow American football in the vast, untapped Chinese marketplace.”

No word yet on which cities will have teams at launch next year.

Photo: China Daily

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