THE BLOG

House of Cards: China's Source of Solace

09/07/2014 13:59 BST | Updated 08/09/2014 10:59 BST

Russia may have rejected the show outright. But, the 'House of Cards' has a lot of takers in China. Produced by Netflix and starring Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, this political drama set in 1990 BBC miniseries is clocking good viewership in the communist China. The show is a televised version of a novel written by Michael Dobbs, a British politician.

The show was released in February by Sohu, an online Chinese video platform. A whopping 30 millions views made the second season of the show more popular than the first one, with the entry of the character of a Chinese billionaire named Xander Feng, who has all grand designs to influence American political scenario.

The success of this show in the land of nearly-autocratic political system fuelled by Communist ideology has been a source of some curiosity. The country, which has been yearning to shift its identity from the manufacturing end of the world's products, has been devouring the show like nothing before.

And, it would be important to mention the show is a work of fiction, and bears no resemblance to characters living, or dead or lewd with anger. Are you sure, you didn't hear this before?

For some basic truths, the show gives a vicarious opportunity to America-bashers, who take reasonably great pride in China's nationalistically-singular identity. The Chinese unquenchable desire for truth, and those grand designs revealing the greed and corruption in America's appetite somewhat evoke a rather comfortable feeling within the minds that are set the land of Mao Zedong.

In simple words, the show provides a catharsis to the Chinese mind, which has been subject to stripping day after day with reports of corruption, threat and insecurity following heavy crackdowns since the day President Xi Jinping took charge of the office.

So much has been the popularity of the show that the otherwise busy Communist Party in China had its inspection wing take a break from its historic investigation in the recent past to highlight the abuse of power from an innovative angle - the fictionalized depiction of Washington as per the 'House of Cards'.

There was a lot of seriousness to a show that was based on the work of fiction of a Brit politician. Now, one can understand how serious the Chinese were when you get to know that the Communist Party's Discipline Inspection Committee published a long article, articulating on the ways and means of corruption in American political system.

The article was authored by someone called Zhao Lin, at an academic group which is associated with the party's anti-corruption body.

What forms the bemusement of the article? Crucial questions like these crop up: How original are these plots? Is there any close connection with the story and ground reality? Are there any similarities to incidents in the past?

More than anything else, does corruption happen in a way that's shown in 'House of Cards' and 'American Gangster'?

Now, the crown of integrity seems to be shifting from western countries that stood as the epitome of everything white, including their politics and policy making, literally. Now, is America that easily corruptible? Is the question that's worth well over few billion dollars!

Irrespective of the debate on whether the plots are real or not, close to any element of truth or not, the Chinese seem to have found their 'wonder pill' of solace.

They now breathe easy, despite the pollution clouding their senses and sensory organs. That, Americans or any countries populated with whites, they are low on integrity and even lower on values. Simply put, they are less upright than they boast.

But, what's vitally different about two countries in question is: Such shows can still occupy broadcast time in the US. China, out of bounds, and out of questioning limits, anyway!