Nov 24, 2014 06:01 PM

Websites Offering Subtitles for Foreign TV Shows, Movies Shut Down

(Beijing) – Two websites providing subtitles for foreign video content closed on November 22 as the government clamps down on TV programs and movies available on the Internet. and provided Net users with Chinese-language subtitles for pirated TV shows and movies that can be downloaded from websites outside the country. The two sites were supported by communities of volunteers – often students studying abroad – who wrote the subtitles for the programs, many of them from the United States.

The subtitles often provided little more than loose translations, and phrases that are politically sensitive in China would sometimes randomly appear.

The website contains a notice saying it is closing. Its founder, Shen Sheng, said in a statement: "The period that the website was necessary has passed."

A statement on said it is cleaning up its online content. That website also let Net users download shows and movies with subtitles embedded in them.

The government shut because it was providing subtitles to content that was not authorized by media regulators, a member of the volunteer community supporting the site said on an online bulletin board.

Media regulators physically seized five servers from on November 21, said the source, who added that the government will shut down other sites.

The government has not said it closed the two websites.

Earlier this year regulators removed some American TV shows, including the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, from major video streaming websites like Sohu and Youku. The government said the shows were pirated or not authorized for broadcast in China.

Regulators have also set an April 1, 2015, deadline for websites to rid themselves of unauthorized foreign movies and TV shows.

The Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group representing six major U.S. studios, recently listed one of the top 10 websites providing pirated content.

(Rewritten by Guo Kai)

You've accessed an article available only to subscribers
Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code