China Censors Nix TV Time Travel

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


Virginia Thomson
Virginia Thomson6 years ago

Bit of a badly worded poll question in my humble opinion. Censorship of entertainment in some form or other happens everywhere, but for different reasons and purposes for example 'snuff movies' are mostly banned, at least as far as I know. I think that western countries could do with a bit more censorship of sexual, violent and crude content. OBVIOUSLY the censorship happening in China as spoken of in this article is a completely different thing. Censorship should never exist to prevent people from obtaining knowledge that allows them to form an opinion or make choices that may or may not conform to the current governmental or social 'status quo'. Even some Chinese people once they have realised this is being done to them feel deep down that it is wrong and they don't like it and have spoken out against it (and been censored, to put it mildly). That is why some people 'disappear' in China. Their form and degree of censorship is clearly excessive and paranoid, and shows that the authorities must realise on some level that if people were allowed to see and hear what they currently are not allowed to, that those authorities would be in serious danger of no longer being authorities. There would be uprisings everywhere. Tiananmen Square anyone?

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Limit censorship!

Jill R.
Jill R.6 years ago

"casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” ...are they kidding me!!! That country lives with and promotes absurd tactics and superstition. They are killing off all the Rhino's just so their men can get their jollies!!

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Censorship at certain levels is needed.

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

i have always been of the opinion that the riddles of the present can be solved with lessons from the past. Ignorance is our undoing. most people dont know where humanity comes from and a handful of those that have the knowledge, use the old tricks and put old wines in new bottles and get everyone drunk all over again.

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Maybe they are afraid someone will build a time machine and depose them.

Carole H.
Carole H6 years ago

I am not in favour of censorship, however, I must admit that I too have some problems with depictions that change, totally rearrange or diametrically alter historical events, (in the right hands this is tantamount to propoganda), and with the recently seemingly prevalent 'pick and mix' attitude to ancient legends, gothic stories and mythologies - which in many cases appear ill informed even as to the original stories - this to me smacks of ignorance and laziness. If you are going to use these legends etc. in a supposedly creative way at least show some respect to the originals, leave them with at least the attributes both positive and negative they are meant to have. If you want to be truly creative - then do that CREATE your own original myths and legends but do not make such a hodge podge of others.

V C.
Veronica C6 years ago

Time travel is a typical sci-fi subject. This makes no sense. There is a LOT worse they could be watching.

Michael M.
Michael M6 years ago

What a bunch of paranoid and delusional power-tripping group of idiots who run around waving false morality and spout dogma and not facts... Kind of like my last boss :p

Erasmo J.
Erasmo J6 years ago

If I could, I would cancel a few reality shows in the northamerican T.V.