Sadly, for Chinese fans of The Walking Dead, the action horror drama may soon be a thing of the past. The authorities have already shut down two of China's most visited file-sharing sites in late November on the basis that the sites were known copyright infringers. To make matters worse, the Chinese broadcast authorities have already implied on multiple occasions that starting in April 2015, Chinese audiences will only have access to healthy content void of excessive violence and sexuality.
With shows like The Big Bang Theory already censored, it's quickly looking as if The Walking Dead and Masters of Sex will be the next to go. Chinese fans of the threatened shows have gone into a panic after the latest censoring news went public. However, young, computer savvy fans, like 30-year-old Beijing lawyer Zhao Tianshu, are not letting their beloved shows go without a fight:
I've been stockpiling shows by downloading as much as possible -- it's the only way to make me feel safe.
To make matters worse, the few shows that do make it through into China will likely be strongly edited versions of the original episodes. Chinese audiences will also have to wait until the entire season is available, encouraging viewers to binge watch entire seasons. Analysts and fans believe that "officials [have] become nervous about the impact and feel compelled to do something about it," enhancing speculation that the Chinese audience's obsession with controversial American TV shows have caused authorities to fear an ideological threat. The fourth episode of the political drama Madame Secretary, which revolved around sensitive subjects like the Chinese and Japanese territorial dispute, the one-child policy, and the Tiananmen crackdown, has already gone M.I.A.
Anybody associated with thought work or ideology or the image of China--- everything is being squeezed or tightened or limited
Although the extreme media crackdown is understandable from a political point of view, authorities need to understand that they are essentially encouraging piracy. With hundreds of thousands of streaming or torrent sites all across the internet, Chinese die hard fans of American shows will probably find ways to access their entertainment, no matter how dangerous it may be.