The revelation that the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will ban–or at least severely restrict–bitcoin exchanges from operating within the country has captured the focus of the cryptocurrency community over the past week and led to intense volatility within the markets. However, as many people have pointed out on Twitter, China has a long history of censoring even the most bizarre things, so it should not be surprising that the government is cracking down on a technology that threatens its power to control the economy. In that spirit, here are seven ridiculous things China has banned–other than bitcoin exchanges.
However, as many people have pointed out on Twitter, China has a long history of censoring even the most bizarre things, so it should not be surprising that the government is cracking down on a technology that threatens its power to control the economy. In that spirit, here are seven ridiculous things China has banned–other than bitcoin exchanges.
Chinese architecture is best known for its historical buildings, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. However, China is home to a number of unique modern buildings, too, including an art center shaped like a teapot. Alas, tourists will have to look elsewhere to find more buildings shaped like clothing, because China banned “bizarre” architecture last year, claiming that there were too many “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings in the country.
In 2010, the Chinese military became increasingly concerned that soldiers were leaking government secrets through social media, so the government issued a series of strict regulations soldiers must follow when using the Internet. Included among those restrictions was a blanket ban on online dating for the military’s 2.3 million soldiers, as well a prohibition on “making friends” through social networking sites.
Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, wrote a myriad of beloved children’s books. However, his books often portrayed children disobeying authority, and the Chinese government interpreted this as a “portrayal of early Marxism.” Consequently, regulators banned Green Eggs and Ham in 1965, and the ban remained in effect until after Geisel’s death in 1991.
As if banning children’s literature was not enough, regulators added an entire genre to the list of things China has banned. In 2011, a report circulated that alleged the Chinese General Bureau of Radio, Film, and Television had banned time travel movies. That did not actually turn out to be true, but the Bureau did bar filmmakers from misrepresenting historical figures, meaning that Mao Zedong will not be receiving the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter treatment anytime soon.
The Word “Jasmine”
In 2011, Tunisian revolutionaries ousted the nation’s dictators in what became known as the “Jasmine Revolution.” Shortly afterwards, Chinese dissidents began calling for a Chinese Jasmine Revolution on online message boards. Concerned about this turn of events, Beijing officials began blocking the word “jasmine” in text messages, and floral shop owners reported that police had told them jasmine flowers had become contraband.
In addition to architectural styles and words, China has a long history of barring Western celebrities from entering the country. One such celebrity who incurred the ire of the Chinese government was Brad Pitt, whose 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet portrayed Chinese rule of the region in an unfavorable light. However, this story had a happy ending, because Pitt finally got to visit the country a few years ago.
Earlier this year, Justin Bieber also found himself added to the list of things China has banned, although many readers likely wish their governments would take similar measures.
Complicated Company Names
Many words and phrases get lost in translation, and Westerners have long been puzzled by the proliferation of Chinese companies with names such as “Beijing Scared of Wife Technology Company” and “Shenyang Prehistoric Powers Hotel Management Limited Company.” Apparently, China agreed that a condom company named “There Is a Group of Young People With Dreams, Who Believe They Can Make the Wonders of Life Under the Leadership of Uncle Niu Internet Technology Co Ltd.” was a bit much, because the State Administration for Industry and Commerce began restricting businesses from registering weird or excessively long names about a month ago.
H/t reader kevin a.
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