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'House of Cards' attracts huge following in China

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While everyone's comparing how long it took them to finish binge-watching the second season of House of Cards stateside, TV fans in China have apparently been doing the same thing and can't get enough of Frank Underwood, either.

According to Policy Mic on Thursday, both politicians and their constituents have jumped on the Cards bandwagon. It's no secret that several American politicians have been enjoying the Netflix drama (even going so far as to read some actual Underwood lines in this video), but top members of the Chinese government are also really into this cynical look at Beltway politics.

"A large number of [China's] senior leaders in government and enterprises and opinion leaders also highly recommend this show," China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said last week.

Fans have been able to view the show through Sohu, which is essentially the Chinese equivalent of Netflix and features several American TV shows available to stream legally. A staggering 24.5 million people viewed Cards season one through Sohu and season two is currently the most-streamed show on the site by far, most of the views coming from government employees and residents in the capital of Beijing.

Cards isn't the only Western show China's grown to love. Other top shows on Sohu include The Big Bang Theory and The Ellen Degeneres Show, for instance, and Chinese audiences have also developed quite the affinity for BBC's Sherlock. The first episode of the show's third season easily became the most popular ever featured on Youku, another Chinese streaming site.

The fanbase has also become just as devoted and quirky as American and British fans, even calling Sherlock's character "Curly Fu" in a nod to Benedict Cumberbatch's lustrous brown locks.

China-U.S. relations figure heavily into season two of Cards, including storylines about trade and cyber warfare. The show is airing uncensored, as it wasn't pre-screened by regulators, and Sohu's chief executive says he has not received any feedback from regulators about content that might "reflect negatively on government" as of yet. In 2009, the popular Chinese show Dwelling Narrowness (Wo Ju) was pulled with two episodes to go. The series, which focused on rising property prices, was reportedly yanked for its "sex, dirty jokes, and corruption stories."

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