A post from Chinese state media Beijing Daily‘s microblog late on Friday has left Taiwanese and Hong Kong media, as well as Qing dynasty drama fans, in awe. Some popular dramas have reportedly disappeared from major Chinese TV channels a day following the post.
Chinese state media Beijing Daily posted on Weibo in Chinese last Friday a list of the “five negative impacts” that the popular Qing Dynasty dramas have left to the society, which include:
- Creates a fashion to admire an extravagant lifestyle in the palace;
- Impedes interpersonal interactions under the shadow of the power struggle plots, and induces fear;
- Overpraises past emperors and top officials, eclipses the glory of China’s present-day leadership;
- Promotes the pursuit of pleasure and luxury goods, downplays the virtues of diligence and thriftiness;
- Encourages the pursuit of commercial interests, plays down spiritual leadership.
The dramas named in the post which are considered “harmful” to the society are: Empresses in the Palace (甄環傳), The Legend of Mi Yue (羋月傳),Scarlet Heart (步步驚心), Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略), and Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (如懿傳).
The stronger censorship and blocked screening of the Qing Dynasty dramas, which are mostly adapted from real historical events and figures, are believed to contain sensitive content which might lead to an association with the power struggles among China’s communist leaders and Xi Jinping’s authoritarian inclinations.
Last year, TVB’s most anticipated drama epic, Deep in the Realm of Conscience (宮心計2深宮計 ), which is set against the backdrop of the ancient Tang dynasty, was banned from view in China, according to Mingjing News, as it contains sensitive lines which might encourage people to think of today’s a power struggle, e.g., “The master asks you to die, then you have to die.” Meanwhile, Chinese authorities continue to tighten their censorship grip on dramas in the wake of its 19th National Congress.