“Friends: The Reunion”, a special program that marked the reunion of the series’ protagonists after 17 years, was loaded with scenes with celebrities; however, it suffered a cut of approximately six minutes in its arrival to the transmission services of China. What happened?
China has a large number of “Friends” fans and the HBO Max special was acquired by the three leading platforms in the country: Alibaba’s iQiyi, Tencent Video and Youku. Each made drastic changes to the episode in anticipation of Beijing regulations.
Although the cuts of each broadcast differed, all were eventually cut by about 6 minutes from the original version of HBO Max. Censored scenes include appearances by BTS, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, as well as brief cameos by LGBTQ fans of “Friends.”
In the original version of the special, BTS has a brief participation in which RM says that “Friends really taught me things about life and true friendship.” In China, this segment was completely eliminated.
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BTS was censored in China since last October, when when receiving an award celebrating cultural relations between the United States and South Korea, RM mentioned the “history of pain” and the “shared sacrifices” of South Korean and American soldiers during the war. from Korea. In China they took the statements as an affront, since China supported the North in the war and also suffered heavy casualties. Ad campaigns starring BTS were quickly withdrawn in the country and the group has remained an unwelcome character ever since.
For its part, Lady Gaga has been banned in China since meeting the Dalai Lama in 2016, while Justin Bieber has been censored since 2014, when he posted a video on Instagram about his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo..
Despite the cuts, “Friends: The Reunion” has been widely accepted in China. The special currently has a 9.5 / 10 rating on the China Douban portal, making it one of the highest rated TV imports today.
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