All The Things China Has Banned In The Past 100 Years

Given the country's been under a strict Communist regime since the 1940s, it's no surprise China is home to some pretty strange laws. Over the years, China has become notorious for its ever growing list of bans. Why does China ban things? The Chinese government seeks to suppress free speech via banning anything deemed subversive. How does this pan out in reality? From the days of Mao Zedong to present, repressive legislation has resulted in some rigid and often downright bizarre bans. 


The term "subversive" is apparently subjective, as demonstrated by items that are banned in China. Most people know social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are banned and that the Communist Party is a big fan of outlawing books and banning American movies. However, did you know things like jasmine flowers, architecture deemed "weird," and even some celebrities are not allowed in China? If you're interested to learn more, browse the list below! 

  • The Letter 'N'
    Photo: nsub1 / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Letter 'N'

    The letter "N" was banned in China in 2018 following a decision to eliminate term limits for the country's president. 

    Status: "N" was viewed as a reference to the terms of the office of the presidency, but the ban was quickly lifted.

  • 'Animal Farm'
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    In 2018, after the Communist Party abolished presidential term limits, George Orwell's book Animal Farm became one of many things banned to help prevent potential protests. 

    Status: Animal Farm remains banned. 

  • Vasectomies
    Photo: Eastfenceimage /


    In 2021, after more than 30 years in China of forced sterilization and limits on the number of children born per family to control population growth, the country's birthrate declined so much that hospitals began banning vasectomies

    Status: As of 2021, no official government policy was in place to limit vasectomies, but hospitals were required to get permission from county health departments to perform them.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
    Photo: Andrew Poole / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    After Winnie-the-Pooh was used in a series of memes mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping, the beloved character was marked as a censored image and phrase on China's Weibo platform.

    Status: As of 2018, the ban of Winnie-the-Pooh is in full effect. With no term limits in place, it seems President Xi Jinping may be in power for the foreseeable future, leaving Pooh banned indefinitely. 

  • Bitcoin
    Photo: via Pexels

    In 2018, China announced that it would block all websites dealing with cryptocurrency. In 2021, China intensified its rules, making all activities related to them illegal and vowing to "root out" activity relating to it.

    Status: It appears that Bitcoin will not be available in China for the foreseeable future.

  • Multiple Phrases Including 'Personality Cult' And 'I Oppose'
    Photo: Sky Noir / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Multiple Phrases Including 'Personality Cult' And 'I Oppose'

    Following the 2018 decision to end term limits for China's president, a number of phrases were found to have been banned or censored. "Personality cult," "I oppose," "Disagree," "Animal Farm," and "Emperor" were among the banned language.

    Status: As of May 2018, these phrases remain banned and several more words and phrases have been added to the censored list.