Chinese government censors appear to have outwitted James Bond after scenes in the Chinese release of Skyfall were cut.
The film has been released across China but according to chatter on local social networking sites at least three scenes have been altered.
One scene which has been completely removed is from the sequence filmed in Shanghai. In the original version of the film, Bond is seen chasing a villain named Patrice. Bond pulls up outside a skyscraper in a car.
He watches Patrice enter the lobby of the skyscraper and shoot dead a Chinese security guard behind the lobby desk. The entire scene has been removed from the film.
Another scene, filmed in the Chinese territory of Macau has been altered but not removed. In the scene, Bond is seen sitting at the bar of a Macau casino talking to a hostess called Severine. She tells him how she was trafficked into prostitution as a child.
The scene remains intact but the Chinese subtitles have been altered to remove reference to prostitution.
The pivotal thread of the film has also been altered to remove any reference of torture by Chinese authorities. The main villain, Raoul Silva, reveals in the film that he was tortured by Chinese government agents. The subtitles apparently make no reference to this.
The alterations have not yet been explained by the Chinese authorities who frequently remove scenes from western films. Some scenes are deemed too offensive and others too politically sensitive.
Scenes from Men In Black 3, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Mission: Impossible 3 were all edited by the Chinese authorities.
The efforts to censor western films do seem rather pointless, though. Within days of their release around the world, pirated DVDs of western films are available at shops around China.
The quality of the pirated DVDs varies hugely but Sky News managed to buy a top quality pirated copy of Skyfall last month.
Skyfall was due to be released in China last November. However, the release date was delayed, allegedly so that its likely success didn't impact on the success of other Chinese films due out at the same time.