Bad news for all fans of Chinese historical dramas out there. Recently, China’s National Radio and Television Administration NRTA (formerly SARFT) has ordered TV stations to halt all broadcast of palace-themed dramas.
According to a post by Beijing Daily, although palace dramas can enrich the lives of the masses through entertainment, they also have negative effects: 1.) The masses have grown overly obsessed with the lifestyles of royalty. People have even used historical speech as catchphrases. 2.) The endless scheming and intrigue in certain dramas are easy for people to imitate. 3.) Palace dramas have portrayed royalty as “new idols.” 4.) Palace dramas have promoted a lavish and extravagant lifestyle which is fundamentally different from the values of hard work and virtue that present day China wants to instill among its people. 5.) Dramas have placed more emphasis on commercial interests rather than substance.
These five “deadly sins” that some dramas have committed are the reasons why Chinese officials haven chosen to ban palace dramas like My Fair Princess, Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace and Story Of Yanxi Palace. Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace which has been airing in the afternoons was pulled out before it can air its last episode. The Story Of Yanxi Palace has been replaced by a variety show.
In addition to banning palace drama series from being televised, the government has also prohibited male actors from wearing earrings. There are screencaps of actors on variety shows whose ears have been blurred out. Should their hair color stand out too much, it will be covered up in post production.
The Chinese government also has a ban to “strictly control the participation of celebrity children in variety shows.” Where Are We Going, Dad? is one such show that’s affected by this. Jordan Chan and his son Jasper were quite a crowd favorite in season 5, but season 6 has not arrived.
The government also aims to “regulate the management of minors.” This requires TV stations to prevent the commercialization and overexposure of minors. It also prohibits minors under 10 years old to endorse anything.
China’s censorship of the media is probably one of the strictest in the world. It’s ultra conservative officials may have their hearts in the right place by trying to protect its citizenry from the pitfalls of mass media but sadly, I think creativity is adversely affected.