All three episodes of Netflix’s animated comedy BoJack Horseman have been removed from Chinese streaming site iQiyi, just a few days after they were uploaded.
iQiyi acquired streaming rights to the series as part of a content licensing deal with Netflix, signed in April after the US company accepted that it wouldn’t be able to launch solo in China. The first episodes from the series – about an alcoholic half-man, half-horse sitcom actor – started streaming on the Chinese site on June 19.
Yang Xianghua, senior vice president of iQiyi, talked about the Netflix licensing deal at the Shanghai International Film Festival last week.
Other Netflix shows licensed by iQiyi including documentaries Chef’s Table and Making Of A Murderer are still streaming. iQiyi also plans to launch other shows including Mindhunter and Stranger Things soon.
Until a few years ago, China’s video platforms were able to stream a wide range of Western content, but regulators started to crack down in 2014, ordering shows such as The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife off sites. Under new regulations, all foreign shows must clear censorship before streaming and should not account for more than one third of all content on streaming sites.
China has been clamping down on online content in the run-up to the Communist Party Congress, which takes place once every five years and is scheduled for this autumn.
Last week, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television ordered three platforms – Sina Weibo, news site iFeng and games platform ACFUN – to stop live streaming, claiming that they were breaking regulations and “promoting negative comments”.