Both U.S. President Obama and Wang Qishan, a member of the Communist Party Standing Committee, admitted they’re addicted to the U.S. political drama House of Cards. In China, many Chinese officials have been linked to corruption, bribery, and sex scandals, and this season of the show portrays China’s elite in a rather candid light.
The most surprising thing for Chinese viewers is that it hasn’t been banned yet in China. This season, the show has U.S. and Sino diplomatic relations in the storyline, and has Chinese viewers in an uproar over the many innuendoes about China’s princelings.
In the first season the protagonist, Frank Underwood, struggled to win the position of Vice-President of the United States.
In the second season, diplomatic scandals dominate the theme, and Chinese elements surge. The drama is more like current events, including China’s cyber-espionage, Chinese currency manipulation, rare earth trade disputes, and the East China Sea disputes with Japan. Even using US casinos to launder money by corrupt Chinese officials is included.
Within four days of the second season, the show already had 9 million hits on the authorized Sohu.net alone.
Kenneth Lin, one of the play writers, said that they paid attention to China’s current affairs, so the drama mirrors reality. They also discussed current affairs with many China experts before writing. After watching the show, political scholar Lu Xiaobo agreed that the writers have successfully mixed fiction and reality in creating the story about China.
Columnist Jia Jia thinks the only reason the show can be seen in China is due to the broadcasting review board’s negligence. But it could be the fact that the show also portrays US politics in a bad light.
Comments from netizens in China:
“A wonderful American drama.”
“Where can we find young and handsome representatives in China?”
“I wish we could have good quality and thought-provoking TV shows instead of all those anti-Japan shows.”