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10 Strange Things You Won't Believe Governments Have Banned

Mukulika Mukherjee
Did you know that governments across the world have banned some really weird stuff in recent years? Well, here's a list of a few such strange bans that have left us gaping in disbelief.

Did You Know?

The Chinese government was not comfortable with the concept of the film Avatar, and a mandate was passed that the movie could only be shown in 3D format. Now, since there are a very few 3D theaters in the country, this move practically proved to be a ban for the film!
This was just one of the many instances where governments have imposed ridiculous bans on things, such as movies, toys, fashion, and certain foods. Now, if you're wondering how do they justify such bans; They come up with a reason for everything, no matter how lame it might be.
Are you curious to read about more such bans? Well, then you're sure to enjoy this information that brings to you a list of the top 10 weird bans that you can hardly believe to be true. So, let's get started!

10 Weird Things Banned by the Government

While there is no end to the list of bans that are absurd, weird, or downright silly, here we have shortlisted the most ridiculous ones for you. Just go through the list, and let us know what you have to say.

Video Games

Where: Greece
To curb the rise of online gambling in Greece, the government passed a law in 2002 that banned all electronic computer games, including gaming consoles.
The reason behind this blanket ban was apparently the inability of the government to distinguish the "innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines". Unfortunately, this law holds true even today, and the government has done little about it.

Western Hairstyles for Men

Where: Iran
The governments of the Middle-Eastern countries do not support the spread of western culture, and Iran is no different. In a move to keep the people away from its influence, the government of Iran has come up with a list of government-approved hairstyles for men.
Unfortunately, western hairstyles, such as mohawks, spikes, and mullets, do not find their place in this list, making it illegal to sport any of these. Hair salons that happen to go against the law can be penalized, and even their license can be canceled by the government.

Being Emo

Where: Russia
In the year 2008, the Russian government came to the conclusion that the emo trend that originated during the 1980s was responsible for the rising number of suicides among teens.
According to the government, the emo culture was a dangerous trend, because its "negative ideology" triggered depression and suicidal tendencies among teens. Hence, it was declared illegal to follow this culture and turn up in emo clothing at public places.

Reincarnation (Without Prior Government Permission)

Where: China
Yes, you've read it right! In China, it is illegal for someone to reincarnate without prior permission from the state, and the ban was imposed in 2007. The motive behind such a weird law, which can be hardly imposed, is to exercise control over the Tibetan Buddhists.
Wondering how? Well, in Tibetan Buddhism, reincarnation is a sacred belief and some Tibetan monks, who are known as tulkus or the "living Buddhas", have the ability to choose how and where they wish to be reborn. The Dalai Lama is one of them, and the current Dalai Lama who is 77 years old, refuses to be born in Tibet as long as it is under Chinese control.
Since he has already begun his succession plan, it is widely speculated that with the ban on reincarnation in place, the future will see the emergence of two Dalai Lamas, one chosen by the Tibetan monks and the other chosen by the Chinese government.

Baby Names

Where: Denmark
If you're in Denmark and looking for an original name for your baby, then you're in for disappointment!
The government has practically banned "creative" baby names, and parents are left with little option but to choose from a list of 7,000 baby names that have been approved by the state. However, if you're really keen for a particular name that is not on the list, you need to seek special permission.

Driving for Women

Where: Saudi Arabia
According to the laws in Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for women to drive a car. In fact, it is the only country in the world that prevents women from driving. This is because of a patriarchal society in which gender roles are strictly defined by the Sharia (Islamic law).

Valentine's Day

Where: Saudi Arabia
The government of Saudi Arabia finds the celebration of Valentine's Day as a violation of Islamic beliefs, and hence, the florists and gift shops across the country are instructed to remove red roses and anything and everything that can serve as a gift to your Valentine, weeks before the holiday.
However, the ban has given rise to a thriving black market of Valentine stuff in the country, where you can easily buy gifts, soft toys, and red roses, albeit at a much higher price.

Chewing Gum

Where: Singapore
The government of Singapore has imposed a ban on chewing gum since 1992. This makes import and sale of chewing gum illegal in the city. While such a ban might appear to make no sense, the objective behind the ban is to keep the streets and public places clean, and solve the problem of chewing gum sticking to tables, chairs, elevator doors, etc.
However, the key reason behind the ban, as put forward by the government, is the disruption of the subway system in the city, as chewing gum sticking to doors would cause unnecessary delay.

Time Travel

Where: China
Now, if you're wondering how can a government impose a ban on something that hasn't been made possible yet by technology, then you'll probably be glad to know that what the ban targets at is not the technology itself, but its depiction in TV shows and movies.
The reason? Well, movies based on time travel seldom stay true to history, and according to the Chinese government, this manipulation of the flow of events is "disrespectful to history."

Fortified Foods

Where: Denmark
Not just creative baby names, Denmark has also banned all kinds of fortified foods, and this includes yeast-based spreads, such as Ovaltine and Marmite, along with fortified breakfast cereals and milk fortified with vitamin D. The strict food safety laws in the country are responsible for the ban.
You see that the world is a strange place indeed, with strange things happening all around us. So, which of these bans do you think to be the most absurd of all? Do let us know.