Censorship Officials Really Enjoying Third Season of The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

BEIJING — It’s no surprise that China’s top censorship officials have become loyal followers of American television shows. Every week, in a private screening room in the basement of the Ministry of Culture, they watch with bated breath the latest installment of each popular TV series before issuing a blanket ban on its propagation within the Chinese mainland.

Top of the bill this week was AMC’s The Walking Dead, new episodes of which premiered in the United States last weekend. The episode drew a record turnout in the main screening room, with over 400 ministry officials, as well as members of the National People’s Congress and the State Council, in attendance, many in costume as favorite characters or zombies.

Daryl Dixon, one of the many compelling and complex characters Chinese censors are keeping to themselves.

Daryl Dixon, one of the many compelling and complex characters Chinese censors are keeping to themselves.

The latest episode of the bisected third season of the popular zombie apocalypse drama continued the story line where hunter Daryl Dixon was reunited with brother Merle in life threatening circumstances, while Rick Grimes’ dwindling group of survivors attempts to regroup at their prison stronghold after assaulting the town of Woodbury.

State censorship officials, many committed fans of the show, list elements such as the gritty realism, well-developed characters, heart-stopping action and coherent, layered narrative all as reasons why The Walking Dead is one of the best things on television, and therefore must be kept from mainstream Chinese audiences at all costs.

“This is precisely the kind of slow-burn, well thought-out, crowd pleasing show that we need to keep entirely to ourselves,” remarked cadre Wu Dong with a mouthful of popcorn. “Can you imagine what putting a well-crafted show like this on CCTV would do to the Chinese entertainment industry?”

“Domestic shows, with their cardboard cutout characters living in impossible comfort or implausibly well-lit poverty, fighting the Japanese or the Nationalists until they are liberated by the benevolent hand of the Communist Party—these are bad enough when seen with no frame of reference,” he said. “Next to The Walking Dead, they look like a brain-dead child’s home movie.”

“Whoa! Did you fucking see that shit? Incredible!” he added, as the popular character Michonne decapitated a drooling zombie with a katana.

“It is a true privilege to deny an entire nation the opportunity of ever seeing this.”

The screening of the pioneering show, which is based on the popular series of graphic novels (a cache of which was seized by Chinese customs on Sunday), ended with a standing ovation, before attendees lined up to add their signatures to several Party circulars banning the release, exhibition or reproduction in any form of The Walking Dead in the People’s Republic of China.

“Boy, the second half of the third season is off to a great start,” remarked Ministry of Culture deputy secretary Ma Qing. “It’s a true privilege to deny an entire nation of 1.4 billion the opportunity of ever seeing it simply in a pitiful attempt to keep our own culturally bankrupt entertainment sector on life support.”

Ma added she was “seriously looking forward” to extending a blanket ban on all products associated with HBO’s Game of Thrones for that show’s third season, which will premiere in the spring.

In other news, high-resolution episodes from the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead with excellent Chinese subtitles are available to watch or download for free on Youku, Tudou, Sohu, Xunlei, iQIYI and Baidu Video.

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