Hit U.S. Tv shows The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory and NCIS have been ripped from video streaming websites in China after reportedly breaching regulations on harmful content.

Officials at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (Sapprft) made the order last week (ends16May14), prompting a public outcry.

The watchdog group bosses have yet to explain why the order was given, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter the move came shortly after officials said they were planning to increase censorship of foreign content.

Following the backlash from fans of the online shows, Sapprft bosses said there were copyright issues with the shows - and they were not in line with state regulations on Internet audiovisual products.

These regulations relate to shows that "harm the nation's reputation, mislead young people to commit crimes, prostitution, gambling or terrorism."