The Chinese Communist Party turns a blind eye on its human rights violations but interestingly censors "Friends," the popular 1990s sitcom that made a recent comeback series, for being "immoral."
Faithwire reported that the Chinese government has "significantly altered" the dialogue of "Friends" such that the original storyline has been cut or changed. The censorship follows the 2016 ruling made by Chinese President Xi Jinping that prohibits any content on adultery, one-night stands, underage romance, and same-sex content to be shown in China.
Xi calls such content as "vulgar, immoral, and unhealthy." He also made sure that all media outlets run by the state comply with "absolute loyalty" to his ruling, align with Communism, and obey his administration in "thought, politics, and action."
Accordingly, "Friends: The Reunion" was initially released by HBO Max in May 2021 and became popular among Chinese viewers. The original series, "Friends," was then streamed in China by Bilibili, iQiyi, Tencent, Sohu, and Youko on Friday, February 11. However, viewers got to watch a highly censored version.
This led to the frustration of many Chinese "Friends" fans, who then took to Weibo to express their anger through the hashtag "#FriendsCensored." The hashtag went viral and reportedly received at least 54 million mentions before the Chinese government censored it as well. Weibo explained they took the hashtag down in compliance with CCP-mandated "relevant laws and regulations."
Many fans raised that the government's censorship of the program was an "insult to our English language ability." They said they could easily identify the government's attempt of changing the storyline through the rewritten captions.
Faithwire raised the "irony" in China's actions of censoring "Friends" for its "immoral" content in the face of its own immorality for the reported human rights violations it does against its own Uyghur minority.
"The irony here, of course, is China's reasoning. Xi's government is calling an erstwhile sitcom 'immoral' and 'unhealthy' as it is--according to governments around the globe--actively committing genocide against its Muslim minority population, the Uyghurs," the media outlet said.
The genocide of the Uyghur minority and a host of other human rights violations has prompted many countries and organizations to call a boycott for the ongoing Winter Olympics in Beijing, which is referred to as "Genocide Games." One of them is Open Doors CEO Chief Executive Officer David Curry and another is East Turkistan Government in Exile Prime Minister Salih Hudayar. The East Turkistan Government in Exile is said to be where most of the Uyghur minority reside.
The CCP is also known for its ruthless campaign against Christians and people of other faiths in the country. Thus, Voice of America, just in time for the Olympics, launched a campaign called "Pray For China 2022." The campaign intends to remind the public of the need to pray for Christians in China who face persecution daily for their faith. The campaign's website says there are a total of 23,403 prayer commitments made by believers coming from 154 countries for Christians in China as of this article's writing.
The United States Commerce Department in July 2020 banned 11 Chinese companies due to its involvement in the exploitation of the Uyghur minorities. The said companies are banned from accessing items, commodities, and technology from the United States.
A year later, the United States Senate passed the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that prohibits goods to be imported from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as a means to address China's human rights violations. The bill was later approved in December for President Joe Biden's signature. Biden condemned China's human rights violations as "genocide" after he took office, echoing what former President Donald Trump did during his term.