Story of Yanxi Palace and Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace both of which aired in 2018 are amongst the Chinese palace dramas that have risen to fame in recent years. Story of Yanxi Palace starring then unknown actress Wu Jinyan was the underdog that soared and became the most googled TV show of 2018. Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace led by A-list actress Zhou Xun and leading man Wallace Huo also went on to become a hit. Even though it’s been two years, many are still rewatching both shows which were first released as web dramas on Chinese online video platforms iQIYI and Tencent respectively.
On Sep. 28, netizens were shocked to see that both shows were suddenly taken down and no longer available for public viewing. The topic started trending on the Weibo hot search. As no explanation was given, netizens can only guess that perhaps the rights to the dramas have expired and the video platforms did not renew. However, there are also rumors that it is due to requirements to make adjustments to the Chinese palace dramas due to censorship.
It can be remembered that Chinese palace dramas were once pulled from airing on TV in 2019. Chinese state media had also criticized themes promoted by such dramas as the plot usually revolves around women of the court lying, scheming and backstabbing each other to gain power. The imperial lifestyle was also seen as lavish, contradicting important values of frugality and hard work.
We may never know the reason why these dramas were taken down as it’s not the first time it happened. Incidentally, Ming Dynasty is airing its rerun on Chinese state-run channel CCTV-8 so it doesn’t seem like there is a ban either.