CLOSE
Getty Images
Getty Images

10 Things China Has Banned

Getty Images
Getty Images

They do not like Green Eggs and Ham.

1. Green Eggs and Ham

In 1965, the government of The People's Republic of China decided they like Green Eggs and Ham about as much as mystery-creature Sam does at the start of the book—which is to say, not at all. It was banned until Theodor Seuss Geisl died in 1991 on account of the "portrayal of early Marxism."

2. Alice in Wonderland

Wikimedia Commons

Lewis Carroll's famous tale of imaginative nonsense came under criticism in America for its assumed portrayal of drug use and possible subtle satire of politics and religion. But even before that, the book had been banned in the Hunan Province in China on the grounds that “animals should not use human language, and that it was disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.”

3. The Big Bang Theory

CBS

Over the last generation, American TV shows have found a receptive audience in China. But just recently, the government abruptly banned The Good Wife, NCIS, The Practice, and the popular hit on both sides of the Pacific, The Big Bang Theory. When Chinese fans demanded an explanation, the censorship agency offered only that they were either out of copyright or contained “content that violates China’s constitution, endangers the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, provokes troubles in society, promotes illegal religion and triggers ethnic hatred.”

4. Gambling

iStock

Except for two state-run lotteries, gambling is illegal in all of mainland China. This has led to a Las Vegas-like casino scene in Macao but the mainland laws are so stringent, even advertising for the nearby legal gambling is forbidden in China.

5. Gaming Consoles

iStock

This ban was recently lifted, but only after 14 years without Xbox or Wii or PlayStation in the People's Republic. The government cited the violent content of many games for the ban and certain titles will still be illegal.

6. Online Dating for Army Personnel

iStock

In 2010, the Communist Party’s Central Military Affairs Commission issued a series of internet restrictions for members of the armed services. “Seeking marriage partners, jobs or making friends through the public media is not permitted. Going online in local Internet cafes is not permitted,” the regulation states. “Opening websites, home pages, blogs and message forums on the Internet is not permitted.” The ban was imposed to prevent personnel from leaking military secrets during their online chats.

7. Remembering the Tianamen Square Massacre

Getty Images

Not only is the incident banned from mention in textbooks and Chinese-controlled websites, over 100 terms are blocked from internet search results around the June 4th anniversary. This year, all of Google search was inactive leading up to the 25th anniversary.

8. Jasmine Flowers

iStock

Afraid that the so-called "Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia would inspire similar insurgence in China, the Chinese Communist Party cracked down on the dainty white flower in 2011. The word was blocked in text messages, video of the president singing a song about jasmine was wiped from the internet, and a vague ban was placed on selling the flower at markets.

9. Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, and Many Other Celebrities

Getty Images

The Chinese government has proved to have an extremely low tolerance when it comes to supporters of the Tibetan Independence Movement. Actors Harrison Ford and Richard Gere, a devout Buddhist, have been banned from entering the country after publicly expressing their support for Tibet. Martin Scorsese was banned in response to his 1997 film Kundun, which chronicles the life and exile of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. And Brad Pitt is forbidden from entering the country simply for starring in Seven Years in Tibet.

10. Avatar (in 2D)

20th Century Fox

After enjoying two weeks in 2010 as a hit in China, Avatar 2D was banned. Authorities claimed the move was an economic one, favoring the 3D version, but critics of the decision pointed out that with only 550 such screens nationwide the ban essentially kept the film out of the public sphere. Additionally, China's Central Publicity Department issued an order to the media "prohibiting it from hyping up Avatar." Taken together, the effective ban was seen as an attempt to give domestic films an edge at the box office and censor the content, which could be seen as an allegory for China's policy of forced evictions.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
What Does the Sergeant at Arms Do?
House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Donald Trump arrive for a meeting with the House Republican conference.
House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Donald Trump arrive for a meeting with the House Republican conference.
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

In 1981, shortly after Howard Liebengood was elected the 27th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate, he realized he had no idea how to address incoming president-elect Ronald Reagan on a visit. “The thought struck me that I didn't know what to call the President-elect,'' Liebengood told The New York Times in November of that year. ''Do you call him 'President-elect,' 'Governor,' or what?” (He went with “Sir.”)

It would not be the first—or last—time someone wondered what, exactly, a Sergeant at Arms (SAA) should be doing. Both the House and the Senate have their own Sergeant at Arms, and their visibility is highest during the State of the Union address. For Donald Trump’s State of the Union on January 30, the 40th Senate SAA, Frank Larkin, will escort the senators to the House Chamber, while the 36th House of Representatives SAA, Paul Irving, will introduce the president (“Mister [or Madam] Speaker, the President of the United States!”). But the job's responsibilities extend far beyond being an emcee.

The Sergeants at Arms are also their respective houses’ chief law enforcement officers. Obliging law enforcement duties means supervising their respective wings of the Capitol and making sure security is tight. The SAA has the authority to find and retrieve errant senators and representatives, to arrest or detain anyone causing disruptions (even for crimes such as bribing representatives), and to control who accesses chambers.

In a sense, they act as the government’s bouncers.

Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin escorts China's president Xi Jinping
Senat Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin (L) escorts China's president Xi Jinping during a visit to Capitol Hill.
Astrid Riecken, Getty Images

This is not a ceremonial task. In 1988, Senate SAA Henry Giugni led a posse of Capitol police to find, arrest, and corral Republicans missing for a Senate vote. One of them, Republican Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon, had to be carried to the Senate floor to break the filibustering over a vote on senatorial campaign finance reform.

While manhandling wayward politicians sounds fun, it’s more likely the SAAs will be spending their time on administrative tasks. As protocol officer, visits to Congress by the president or other dignitaries have to be coordinated and escorts provided; as executive officer, they provide assistance to their houses of Congress, with the Senate SAA assisting Senate offices with computers, furniture, mail processing, and other logistical support. The two SAAs also alternate serving as chairman of the Capitol Police board.

Perhaps a better question than asking what they do is pondering how they have time to do it all.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
France Hires Two Cats to Get Rid of Rats in Government Offices
iStock
iStock

The French government just hired two new employees, but instead of making policy decisions, the civil servants will be responsible for keeping offices rat-free. As The Telegraph reports, the cats are the first official mousers to France.

The secretary to the prime minister, Christophe Castaner, brought in the cats after he saw that the mouse problem at the offices near the Elysee Palace was getting out of hand. They're named Nomi and Noé after the early duke of Brittany Nominoé.

Paris is home to about 4 million rats—nearly two for every citizen—and the capital's offices are just as vulnerable to infestation as other old buildings. Until now, government employees had been setting out traps to solve the vermin problem. With Nomi and Noé now living on site, the hope is that the pets will double as pest control.

The new hires aren't unprecedented: The British government employs over 100,000 cats to chase down rodents. Official mouser may sound like a cushy job, but the UK holds its felines to a high standard. Larry, the official Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office to two prime ministers, was nearly fired in 2012 for failing to react to a mouse in plain sight.

[h/t The Telegraph]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios