Bohemian Rhapsody gets China release but netizens fear censorship

Movie still from Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek.
Movie still from Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek.PHOTO: 20TH CENTURY FOX

SHANGHAI - "Is this the real life?" a happy Chinese netizen wrote online, quoting the opening lyrics of Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody after news broke that the similarly-titled blockbuster would get a surprise rollout in China on March 22.

But other netizens have tempered their euphoria, expecting the censors to snip out homosexual content from the movie about former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died of Aids in 1991.

The netizens pointed to what Mango TV, one of the country's most popular channels, had done a few days ago.

It censored the comments made by Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for Best Actor for playing Mercury, in his Sunday acceptance speech, reported Variety.

"Listen, we made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself, and the fact that I'm celebrating him and his story here tonight is proof that we're longing for stories like this," Malek said.

Mango TV substituted the words "special group" for "gay man" in its subtitles.

It also deleted Lady Gaga's performance of Oscar-winning song Shallow with her A Star Is Born co-star Bradley Cooper, the Daily Mail reported.


Observers linked the censorship to her meeting the Dalai Lama in 2016 in the United States. Beijing views the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, as a separatist.