BEIJING, China - Television audiences across China watched an anarchist antihero rebel against a totalitarian government and persuade the people to rule themselves. Soon the Internet was crackling with quotes of "V for Vendetta's" famous line: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
The airing of the movie Friday night on China Central Television stunned viewers and raised hopes that China is loosening censorship.
"V for Vendetta" never appeared in Chinese theatres, but it is unclear whether it was ever banned.
Some commentators and bloggers think the broadcast could be CCTV producers pushing the envelope of censorship, or another sign that the ruling Communist Party's newly installed leader, Xi Jinping, is serious about reform.
China's authoritarian government strictly controls print media, television and radio.