Here’s What’s Cut in the Chinese Version of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody movie opened up in China this past weekend, and just like in Malaysia, parts of the film that depict Freddie Mercury's sexual orientation have been removed.
China has regulations against what they call "abnormal sexual behavior" portrayals in the media, which they say includes LGBT content.
CNN notes censors removed more than two minutes of footage from Bohemian Rhapsody, including a close-up of the singer's crotch during a performance on the BBC, dialogue where Mercury (portrayed by Rami Malek) tells Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) he thinks he's bisexual, a scene where Mercury meets partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) and the video for "I Want to Break Free," which features the band dressed up as women.
Every moment where two men kiss and the word "gay" is used were also cut from the movie. But a scene where Mercury comes out to his family by holding Hutton's hand is retained.
As Chinese filmmaker and LGBT activist Fan Popo told CNN, even though the country is "trying to present itself to the world as open-minded," the restrictions on LGBT content and "Western lifestyles" that went into effect in 2016 tell a different story.
"Rather than homophobic, I think [China's censors] are sexphobic," he said. "They are probably the most conservative people in China. That's why they are chosen for this job."
Even with the scrubbed content, some observers believe the release of Bohemian Rhapsody in China represents a victory for the LGBT community there. But Popo disagreed. "If everyone becomes content with this kind of 'victory,' then the whole world will always submit to authority, creators won't be respected and there will be no protection for the interests of the audience," he said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bohemian Rhapsody is being screened in China through a network of art houses. It's believed the movie was only released in the country because of its high worldwide box-office gross and Malek's Oscar-winning performance.
The movie earned $6.6 million at the box office in China over the weekend, which is considered "respectable" due to the relatively low number of theaters showing the film there.