Chinese censorship cut off Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber from “Friends” reunion

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Beijing China doesn’t seem to like some of the world’s most famous “friends” new friends. The long-awaited star-studded reunion episode of the blockbuster American comedy series is now available for broadcast across the planet, but legions of fans in China have a slightly shorter and slightly less star-studded version to enjoy.

“Friends” has not been broadcast by any of the Chinese TV networks, but the series has loyal fans across the country who years ago downloaded pirated videos from the Internet, often dubbed with Chinese subtitles produced by amateur volunteers.

While at least three broadcast sites in the country showed the reunion episode, sharp-eyed fans noticed some things missing from the full version, which could only be obtained via illegal downloading.

Phoebe Buffay’s classic song “Smelly Cat” performed alongside special guest Lady Gaga, was not featured in the episode available in China.

Chinese Governmental oversight It was never transparent about how and why it was made Specific decisionsBut recent history may provide some clues. In 2016, the American pop star met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, whom China considers a separatist.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said that her decision to meet the Dalai Lama sparked outrage in the country, and many Chinese social media users also criticized her.

She wasn’t the only pop star missing from meeting friends. Justin Bieber appears in the episode wearing a potato costume, but not in China.

He caused a fuss, and he later apologized for it Visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Japan In 2014. The site honors the war dead in Japan, including some convicted war criminals, and many people in South Korea and China consider it insensitive.

The Chinese seem to be less afraid …


South Korea star Boy band BTS She also had a brief clipping episode. The group faced violent reactions last year over comments made by one of its members about the Korean War, during which the United States supported South Korea against the Chinese-backed North Korea.

A victim of non-pop stars from mysterious China Censorship was the LGBTQ community.

A scene in which a German fan named Ricardo says he was, “A gay man wanted to have hair like Jennifer Aniston, so you can imagine how lonely I felt at times,” was not included.

A broadcast service in China also omitted a scene featuring a gay couple.

It’s impossible to know if the authorities in Beijing issued an official propaganda directive, or whether each broadcast service made their own decisions, but Chinese fans seem to be enjoying the reunion regardless.

The hashtag #whyweloveFriends was trending on Chinese social media on Friday, with some people praising the show for its “warmth”, while others suggested it was a good way to capture some spoken English.


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