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The mysterious government agency that assesses the suitability of Hollywood movies for screening in mainland China has made the unprecedented decision to pull an already authorized movie from theaters, depriving over a billion people from delighting in the summer's most Messiah-debunkingest adventure, The Da Vinci Code:

Some say the government yanked the film in response to complaints from Chinese Catholic groups... Others contend the flick was too popular: It was poised to break records as the highest-earning foreign movie ever shown in China, putting domestic Chinese movies to shame. [...]

Wu Hehu, a spokesman for Shanghai's United Cinema Line Corporation, said he received a notice to cease showing the film, but he didn't know why the order was made.

"This is such a short notice from the film's distributor. They will stop showing it from tomorrow," Wu said. "I don't know the reason either. We just do what we are told to do."

We doubt the decision was the result of any campaign on behalf of China's Catholics to stuff the People's Ministry of Cinematic Well-Being suggestion box with outraged appeals to "mercifully shield the citizenry from the devil Tom Hanks' stringy-haired heresy." Rather, the move sounds more likely to be the handiwork of the lesser-known but highly influential "self-flagellating, murderous Chinese albino" lobby, who felt strongly that the film portrayed them in a negative light.