Chinese fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ have found themselves watching a very much watered down fourth season after a heavily edited version of the first episode aired on Sunday.

Game of Thrones'Game of Thrones' is very different on CCTV

Due to pirated copies of the popular series being available on the internet, viewers in China quickly realised that their 'Game of Thrones' was very different to the original. Broadcast on the state-run CCTV, fans of the show called the series premiere a “mess”, after it was estimated around 20 minutes of action was cut from the show.

The South China Morning Post newspaper reports that many viewers were aware “that much of the series’ blend of nudity, bloodshed and foul language is absent from CCTV’s official broadcasts.” They also reported a fan saying the story now “feels discontinuous”, adding their reaction to the edited version was “my God, what a mess."

More: 'Game of Thrones' season 4 episode 4 recap

‘Game of Thrones’ fans in China might count themselves lucky that the show is aired at all, especially on public television. Other popular US series including, ‘The Good Wife’, ‘NCIS’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ have been removed from Chinese internet streaming sites amid fears of the "negative effects and hidden security dangers" of streaming foreign programmes.

Game of Thrones'Game of Thrones' airs on HBO in the US

‘The Big Bang Theory’ will, however, make it onto Chinese television after CCTV exclusively acquired the rights to air an edited “healthy” version of the series. One Weibo user wrote that they wouldn’t be “sticking around to wait for [CCTV] to air an edited version of 'The Big Bang Theory' just like what they’ve done with 'Game of Thrones'.”

More: Can 'Game of Thrones' get any bigger?

Meanwhile for US ‘Game of Thrones’ fans season 4 is in full swing already with episode 5, ‘First of His Name’, airing tomorrow night on HBO.