Brad Pitt, Dr. Seuss and now this?! Cryptocurrencies and the long saga of other things banned in China.

In a bid to clamp down on the growing threat of cryptocurrencies, it was in February this year that Chinese authorities ruled that its citizens could no longer use Cryptocurrency exchanges in mainland China. The following month China began to enforce its country-wide firewall to block exchange markets and the ability to purchase ICO’s.

Since then we have seen the main contenders in Chinese digital exchanges move their locations to Hong Kong or further overseas and in a twist of events, an online Chinese publication that covered an announcement from the People’s Bank of China suggests plans to start their own, state-run cryptocurrency. This proposal is going to be forged under a ticket called the DCEP, which stands for ‘Digital Currency for Electronic Payment’ and will focus on payment solutions. And whilst the Asian superpower slowly and subtly consolidates its power and authoritarianism, we take a look at the lighter side of China’s most interesting restrictions.


Brad Pitt

Following his role in Seven Years in Tibet the Chinese Government was apparently outraged by the negative depiction of China within the 1997 film, to which they sought the blame on the lead actor. The ban on Pitt was eventually lifted, twenty years after the film was released, and the actor was eventually welcomed by a number of long awaiting fans. 

Dr. Seuss

Imposed in 1965, the famed children’s book had been banned in the country for over thirty years amidst claims the book supported marxism. Government authorities were displeased with the anti-authoritarian and mocking tone of the classic stories such as ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. The ban was in fact lifted following the author’s death in 1991. 

Alice in Wonderland

A talking cat?! China was once again displeased that this classic children’s book displays talking animals and ruled that the story book be banned. This law still exists today. 

Time Travel

It was claimed that based on regulations from China’s Film, Radio and Television Bureau, ‘The producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which so by no means be encouraged anymore’. The regulation is slightly ambiguous, however – only time will tell as to whether this relates to just fiction or the real concept.

Strange Company Names

Reported by the BBC as specifically targeting companies with ‘weird long names’, this ban is an attempt to restrict new companies following in the footsteps of ‘Beijing Scared of Wife Technology Company’ and, ‘There Is a Group of Young People With Dreams, Who Believe They Can Make the Wonders of Life Under the Leadership of Uncle Niu Internet Technology Co Ltd’. Though, you can really see their selling point. 

Not saluting to cars

This one isn’t really enforced in such a populous country – after all the police have so many other bans and laws to follow up with – but it really is written into law that children within the country must salute passing cars. The concept was established in a clever tactic to make children stop for cars and being more aware of traffic, however it actually chimed with a trend of higher pedestrians being hit by cars. Go figure.

Eating Another Man’s Wife

According to reports, cannibalism is technically not illegal but eating another man’s wife is. 

The Words ‘disagree’, ‘board the plane’ and ‘immortality’

Last month, Vox reported that the country had now enforced a new list of words that were censored on Weibo, chiming with President Xi Jinping’s increasing grab for power. Disagree and immortality of course bring into question the ruler’s authority, however ‘board the plane’ is also apparently meant to sound like ‘ascend the throne’, and they weren’t happy about that either.


Alas, the feeble cryptocurrency ban seems like a mere pin drop in the otherwise weirdly wonderful laws that overshadow Chinese everyday life. Nonetheless, despite the restrictions and total clamp down on cryptocurrencies on the mainland, Chinese media reports that it is still possible for over-the-counter platforms to trade in cryptocurrencies that are linked to offshore servers. Having said this, China are certainly not the only country possessing bizarre laws – did you know it is a crime in England to hold ‘a salmon suspiciously’ according to the Salmon Act 1986.

About the author

Tamara Davison

The Medellin-based Mancunian started her journalism career in a London startup and has since travelled around the globe covering arts and culture news, as well as climbing the Himalayas and being lost in remote places. She claims her knowledge of Bitcoin is a healthy obsession that she picked whilst studying the fascinating repercussions new technology has around the world.

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