Chinese authorities are strongly discouraging popular TV dramas featuring time travel. The not-quite-ban accused: “The producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged any longer.”
A State Administration of Radio, Film and Television official stated that TV time travel dramas “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” The agency’s statements do not constitute an official ban, but they are sure to incur self-censorship for creators who do not want to draw the negative attention of the authorities.
It is not clear why this particular “discouragement” should be in effect at this time. It is possible that the government wishes to prevent too much imaginative speculation that life could be better than it currently is in the people’s paradise; it also aligns with efforts to stem the popularity of spiritual pursuits.
Chinese authorities have a tradition of censoring “unhealthy” content, from the action movies of Jet Li to unflattering depictions of historical events. The film Avatar was banned in China in 2010 after showing in the country for two weeks; it’s not clear whether this was to protect the homegrown industry from the 800 pound gorilla that is the James Cameron blockbuster, or whether the theme of popular revolt by the peaceful Na’vi people struck a little too close to home.
The Independent reported in 2008 that a black list of censored topics was released by the same agency included sexual content, crime reenactments, evil spirits, and films advocating environmental damage environmental damage or animal abuse.
Photo: No time travel tunnel for you!
05-11-07 © Terraxplorer via iStockphoto