Intolerance to even minute criticism of top leaders in China came to fore when a three-second scene showing President Xi Jinping's name on a list of 'traitors' was censored.
Let alone opposition, even a constructive criticism is increasingly being monitored by the authorities in China with Jinping, who is about to complete his first five-year term and almost sure to be reappointed to a second term.
In a historical drama called The Qin Empire, a scene showed the names of Xi and other top Chinese leaders including Premier Li Keqiang, former president Hu Jintao, former premier Wen Jiabao, written in ancient Chinese script on bamboo slips. A character is shown inspecting the bamboo scroll featuring the names of traitors that had been caught spying for the rival Zhao state.
Though it was a period television drama with historic setting, many viewers spotted the names and quickly posted screenshots and short clips of it online.
The issue was widely reported in several Hong Kong and Taiwanese news sites. The Chinese media, surprisingly, kept mum on the issue and now it turns out that the scene has been censored. The scene and discussions related to it on blogs have been completely removed.
As of now, it is not clear if the show's producers will face any repercussions for the scene.