Lady Gaga, one of the guests at the meeting of ‘Friends’ censored in China – HBO
Their faces, wrinkled by the passing of time and the skidding of the scalpel, reflect each of the 27 years that have elapsed since the first episode. Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross met again in a ‘Friends’ special turned into an exercise in planetary nostalgia . Also in China. Inside the Central Perk of Hangzhou , built in the image and likeness of the iconic cafeteria of the series, there was no room for a pin in the hours before the premiere. During the preceding days, the topic had become one of the most commented on Weibo – a social network similar to Twitter – with 1,000 million views.
But China, that spiteful acquaintance who maintains a detailed list of grievances, ended up throwing its own party. As often happens in real life, the problem was not so much friends as friends of friends. The version of the chapter broadcast in the Asian giant was censored to eliminate those celebrities included in the Government’s blacklist: Justin Bieber , Lady Gaga and the K-pop group BTS .
The Canadian’s faults date back to 2014, when during a visit to Tokyo he went to the Yasukuni Shrine, a temple that honors the memory of Japanese soldiers, including war criminals. «I love you, China; and I love you, Japan, “ proclaimed Bieber by way of apology through Instagram. But it was too late. In 2017, the authorities did not allow his world tour to touch Chinese soil because of his “bad behavior”.
Lady Gaga fell into disgrace after meeting in 2016 with the Dalai Lama , a Tibetan spiritual leader whom the Communist Party considers a dissident. The BTS members, meanwhile, made the mistake of talking about the Korean War by collecting an award without mentioning China.
Such a snip to the footage has caused the anger of the followers, who in China are legion. Although it has never been distributed on television, ‘Laoyouji’ – ‘Chronicle of old friends’ – boasts an average score of 9.8 on the Douban platform, which makes it the favorite American series of the Chinese public , ahead from ‘Modern Family’ (9.5), ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (9.3) and ‘Sex and the City’ (9). Even so, if they didn’t invite everyone, they wouldn’t be so friendly. China applies censorship and does not invite all ‘Friends’