‘Banned’ in 2015 and 2016: From Bon Jovi to Lightbulbs

by Nick Stember
Obscenity Politics
Violence Science & Technology
Superstition & Religion Tibet
Corruption Environment & Health
Public Safety Other



Two concerts: Bon Jovi in Shanghai and Beijing
Twenty-two Muslim names in Xinjiang


Ivory imports from trophy hunting
Golf club memberships for Communist Party Members
The American gothic horror film Crimson Peak


Twelve-thousand ‘sensitive words’ from the domain name registry .xyz
Hundreds of third-party apps on TV streaming boxes
Dozens of synthetic recreational drugs
One beauty pageant contestant: Canada’s Miss World


One academic monograph: Qin Hui’s 秦晖 Moving Away from the Imperial Regime 走出帝制
One-ride hailing service (Uber) on WeChat
Cars in Beijing for one day
Hiring third parties to author scientific articles



Six online TV shows: Go Princess Go 太子妃升职记 , The Lost Tomb 盗墓笔记 , Evil Minds 心理罪 , Wu Xin the Monster Killer 无心法师 , Death Notify 暗黑者 , Blind Spot 探灵档案
One movie: Deadpool


‘Bizarre architecture’, forbidden by new State Council urban planning guidelines that follow up on Xi Jinping’s 2014 remarks: ‘No more making bizarre buildings’ 不要搞奇奇怪怪的建筑
Foreign-owned media publishing online from within China


One online TV show: Addicted 上瘾 for its depictions of homosexuality, extramarital affairs, one night stands, underage relationships, smoking, drinking, adultery, sexually suggestive clothing, and reincarnation


All iTunes Movies and iBooks
Discussion of the Panama Papers on the Internet and TV
Children on reality TV
One holiday: April Fools Day


Live streams of women eating bananas, or wearing stockings and suspenders
One Xinhua Op-Ed, for sexism: ‘Tsai Ing-wen’s Extremist Political Style May Be Due to Singlehood’


One popstar: Lady Gaga
One topic on the Internet and TV: the probity of relatives of former Politburo member and security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was convicted for bribery, abuse of power, and the intentional disclosure of state secrets in 2015


Production and sale of food made from state-protected wild animals
One American pop rock band: Maroon 5
One American movie: Ghostbusters (though some reports suggest it wasn’t banned — the distributors didn’t think it would do that well as Chinese audiences hadn’t seen the earlier versions)
One British singer and actor, presumably for her human rights activism: Jane Birkin
Betting on celebrity breakups and US elections on Taobao
Pokémon GO
Self-driving cars


Two concerts: Selena Gomez in Shanghai and Guangzhou
Partial ban on K-pop idol concerts in response to the deployment of the US-developed THAAD missile system in South Korea
Hoverboards and Segways on public roads in Beijing and Shanghai


The Galaxy 7 phone on flights including in check-in baggage
Incandescent bulbs
Two topics online: Xi Jinping G20 speech gaffe (see Chapter 4 ‘The Language of Discipline’) and live streams of the US presidential debate
Surfing in Shenzhen
Religious profiteering


Reposting of Caixin’s online support for lawyers
Total ban on K-pop idols (see August)
Online gaming after midnight (proposed)


Forcing minors to participate in religious (Islamic) activities in Xinjiang
Hong Kong pop star Denise Ho from online music sites for pro-independence views
Proposed extension of the smoking ban to public spaces


Growing, processing, and selling GMO crops for the next five years
Live streaming of unapproved games
Sick chicks (poultry from additional bird flu-affected countries)
Ivory trade and processing (by the end of 2017)
Christmas (celebrations by protestant house churches in Zhejiang)
K-drama Hwarang (part of the ongoing ban on South Korean popular culture)
Taiwanese filmmaker Wu Nien-jen, pop musicians Bobby Chen, Dwagie, and Vivian Hsu, and hardcore bands Chthonic and King Lychee (ban likely to have been put in place for some time)