Time Travel Discouraged in Chinese Television

Bill and Ted, Marty McFly, and Doctor Who are no longer welcome in China, it seems.  The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the concept of time travel has been banned from TV and film in China.  It’s apparently disrespectful towards history.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The rationale [for the time travel ban] is that whatever isn’t possible in the real world belongs to superstition,” said film critic and journalist Raymond Zhou Liming, who notes that time travel is untouched by censors in Chinese literature and theater.

In the electronic mass media, however, which in China reaches the world’s largest TV audience and the globe’s fastest growing movie market, the idea of time travel presents a clear and present danger.

In time-travel dramas such as Myth (Shen Hua), currently popular on Chinese TV, audiences seem to like the story of a modern man going back to ancient China where, after some adjustment, he finds love and happiness.

“Most time travel content that I’ve seen (in literature and theater, that is) is actually not heavy on science, but an excuse to comment on current affairs,” Zhou told The Hollywood Reporter.

Apparently unhappy with film and TV presenting even the fictional notion that China’s ability to provide happiness is a thing of the past for the average man, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television posted its guidance about time travel.

“Producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore,” SARFT said.

This sort of guidance, while not a black-and-white ban, commonly acts as an effective catalyst for filmmakers’ self-censorship. In a country that has no film law on the books, what SARFT says often goes.


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