It could have come as a shock to many among the millions of viewers of national broadcaster China Central Television's (CCTV) movie channel.
On Saturday night, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) aired the movie V for Vendetta, revolving around the plot of a
masked man's violent crusade against state tyranny and oppression, themes that certainly are not music to the totalitarian Party.
The movie, starting Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, had been banned in China since its release in 2005 though pirated copies of the movie are known to be available in China's big cities.
It expectedly triggered a buzz among Chinese microbloggers on its Twitter-like versions of "Weibo."
CCTV 6, the broadcaster's primary movie channel and one of its most popular in the bouquet of channels, announced the movie's telecast on its official Weibo account.
"CCTV6WatchMoviesonTV: V for Vendetta is on tonight at 9:52 p.m. We'll post the plot synopsis in advance. Movie-lovers, get ready for a treat!" the channel announced early on Saturday. It generated immediate interest among internet users.
One user posted: "Yesterday evening CCTV unexpectedly broadcast 'V for Vendetta' This is sooooo unbelievable! the most important lines from the film are that 'people shouldn't fear the government, the government should fear the people', and that 'ideas don't fear bullets'."
"A shadowy freedom fighter known only as "V" uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society," is how the internet movie data base IMDB - blocked in China - describes the movie. The mask used by the protagonist has also been seen during protests and demonstrations around the world.
The Shanghaiist website quoted a user named BeijingGrassrootsPeoplesRadio as saying: "At 10 p.m. this evening, CCTV will broadcast the film V For Vendetta. Because of this film's anti-dictatorship, freedom-fighting message, it was previously banned by the government. Although everyone online is very familiar with the film, this is its first open broadcasted on television-by none other than CCTV. Does this signal that the government will relax its control of the media and the Internet a bit? Let's all tune in at 10 and witness this historical moment together."
The channel's announcement was reposted over 400 times though comments, according to Weibo waters, were blocked.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.