Article: Top 10 Famous Chinese Movies That Were Banned

The Chinese film industry is the second largest market, other than the United States, and if a movie wants to be a box office hit around the world, it is pretty essential to secure a release in China. There are many Chinese films which either touch some sort of sensitive theme or attend the intentional film festival without having approval from the government, or its value orientation is reasonably correct. Here are the top 20 famous Chinese films that were banned.

1. Mr. Zhao

Mr. Zhao is a dark Chinese film released in 1998, starring Chen Yinan, Shi Jingming, and Zhang Zhihua. It tells the story of Zhao, who teaches Chinese medicine. He has an affair with Tian Jing, his former student, who announces that she is pregnant. His wife is a factory worker whose sons find out about his infidelity, force him to choose between them, and refuse to give him a divorce.

2. To Live

To Live, also called Lifetimes, is a Chinese film released in 1994, starring Gong Li, Guo Tao, Ge You, Niu Ben, and Jiang Wu. In the movie, Jiazhen and Fugui are someone who lose all their fortunes, and they raise their family while surviving cultural changes during the 1940s to 1970s. The movie was banned due to various factors, the first being its critical portrayal of many policies, and the film entered the Cannes Film Festival without the government's approval.

3. The Blue Kite

The Blue Kite is a film released in 1993 starring Pu Quanxin, Li Xuejian, Chen Xiaoman, and Lu Liping. It showcases the love of a Beijing family from the 1950s to 1960s as they experience the impact of the Cultural Revolution, the Hundred Flowers Campaign, and the Great Leap Forward.

4. Beijing Bicycle

Beijing Bicycle is a Chinese film released in 2001, starring Li Bin and Cui Lin, along with Gao Yuanyuan and Zhou Xun. The story revolves around  Ghei, a seventeen-year-old boy, from the countryside who goes to Beijing to find work. He starts a job as a courier boy in which he gets a bike that gets stolen. Jian is a schoolboy who ends up buying his bicycle. The film got banned as it was sent to the Berlin Film Festival without getting the board’s approval.

5. Suzhou River

Suzhou River is a romance film released in 2000, it is a tragic love story which was set in Shanghai. The story is about Marda, who falls in love with Moudan, a young woman. He tries to kidnap her so that he can demand money from her wealthy dad, but she escapes him by jumping into the river. He serves jail time for three years. After getting out of jail, he meets MeiMei, who looks precisely like Moudan. It was banned due to screening at an international festival without approval.

6. Lost In Beijing

Lost in Beijing is a film released in 2007 starring Tong Dawes, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Elaine Jin, and Fan Bingbing. It shows the modern life in China’s capital focusing on a ménage-a-quatre, that involves a young woman, her husband, her boss and his wife. The film got banned in China due to releasing its dark social sites like prostitution, sex scenes, blackmail, and rape.

7. East Palace, West Palace

East Palace, West Palace, also known as Behind the Forbidden City, is a film released in 1996, starring Hu Jun, Si Han, and Zhao Wei. It is the first Chinese film that touches on the topic of homosexuality. A-Lan is a young gay writer, who is attracted to Xiao Shi, a young policeman, who arrested him. It was not allowed to be released due to discrediting the socialist image and or publicizing corruption ideas.

8. Postman

Postman is a Mandarin film released in 1995, starring Laing Danni, Huang Xing, Feng Yuanzheng, and Pu Quanxin. Xiao Dou is a shy mailman who steals and reads people's letters while on his way. He finds suicide, drug abuse, prostitution, and many other things in these letters. The director had shot the film without the authority's permission and could only screen it abroad.

9. Seventeen Years

Seventeen Years is a film released in 1999, starring Li Bingbing, Liu Lin, and Li Jun. The story is about two stepsisters, Tao Lan and Yu Xiaoqin. Xiaoqin one day steals from her father and blames Lin, who, while trying to prove her innocence accidentally kills her sister. The movie was banned from being screened in China as it slandered socialism.

10. Devils On The Doorstep

Devils on the Doorstep is a black Chinese film released in 2000, starring Kagawa Teruyuki, Jiang Hongbo, Jiang Wen, and Yuan Ding. The film was shot in black and white to mimic the old-time war films. The story is about a mysterious man who one night captives two people in a sack to the doorstep of Ma Dasan, a peasant, and threatens him to keep them until he returns. The film was banned as it failed to highlight the excellent image of certain political factions.