V For Vendetta Plays on Chinese TV for the First Time
Television audiences across China got their first look at the infamous revolutionary V, sparking strong reactions online and possibly signalling a liberalization of censorship rules in China.
According to the Associated Press, a Chinese TV channel broadcast the 2005 comic book movie V For Vendetta for the first time ever Friday night after which Chinese citizens took to their version of Twitter to post various quotes from the movie.
The movie, which depicts a fictional Great Britain ruled by a fascist government, was never played in Chinese movie theaters in 2005 and has not been played on Chinese TV before last week.
The AP quotes media commentator Shen Chen saying, "Oh God, CCTV unexpectedly put out 'V for Vendetta.' I had always believed that film was banned in China!"
CCTV, the only company with a nation wide broadcast license in China, denied that the movie had been banned as did members of the Chinese government; however, with it's themes about overthrowing an authoritarian ruler, the subject matter of the movie seems like something the Chinese government would have censored in the past.
It is not clear whether CCTV made the decision to air the movie independently or if they sought approval from government authorities, but CCTV producers testing the limits on censorship could be a sign that the Communist Party's new leader Xi Jinping is already working on reform.
Whatever the implications in China, this is a good reminder to Western Audiences that while V For Vendetta is a cautionary tale about what could happen here, the type of government that uses censorship, curfews and secret police to control its people is a reality for Chinese citizens.
Perhaps in the future the Chinese leaders will look back and regret letting a billion people hear the words "People shouldn't be afraid of the government, governments should be afraid of their people."
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