The Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the biggest talked-about and successful biopics will finally have its China release more than five months after the biopic hit the big screens last year. Audiences in China will however, see a drastically different than the version playing in North America because it is reported that all the scenes with references to Freddie Mercury's sexuality or explicit physical contact between men have been removed.
For long, there has been speculation as to whether Bohemian Rhapsody would premiere in China at all with homosexuality despite been legal for more than two decades is still a very much debated issue, particularly in China. This speculation about the Freddie Mercury biopic release in China has been left unsure for quite a time with Chinese censors banning ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’, including same-sex relationships, shown in films and TV in 2016.
According to CNN, the censorship reportedly includes cutting any mention of the word "gay" from the film, as well as excising a scene in which the actors recreate the filming of the I Want to Break Free music video, which famously features Mercury and the other members of Queen in drag, satirizing bored housewives. It also cuts the major interactions between Mercury and his long-term partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker).
Even Malek's best actor Oscar acceptance speech could not escape censorship in China, as the words "gay man" were cut from the broadcast.
Bohemian Rhapsody, which released in the US in November, was a critical and commercial success. It earned four Academy Awards, including Best Actor, and was nominated for Best Picture.