Hit Chinese palace-intrigue TV dramas removed from streaming platforms

Published (HKT): 2020.09.29 06:05

Two popular Chinese television series about palace intrigue have been taken off their online platforms as authorities continue their campaign against period dramas.

Chinese internet users on Monday found that “Story of Yanxi Palace” was no longer accessible on streaming site iQIYI, and “Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace” was removed from Tencent’s on-demand video platform.

No official reason has been given by the streaming platforms or Chinese authorities, but speculation ran rife among netizens that the removal was ordered by the National Radio and Television Administration.

“Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace” chronicles the marriage between Qianlong, emperor of the Qing dynasty, and Step Empress Hoifa-Nara. “Story of Yanxi Palace” follows the journey of Wei Yingluo, who started as a maid but became the emperor’s consort.

Chinese authorities have been targeting period dramas for almost a decade, starting with the National Radio and Television Administration banning the airing of palace-intrigue shows during prime time in 2011.

Regulators also mandated in 2013 that period dramas must make up no more than 15% of all television shows broadcast each month. In 2017, period dramas were temporarily banned from state-level satellite channels.

Shows about palace intrigue were “dominating screens” and exerting a “negative influence” on the public, an article in the official newspaper of Beijing’s Communist Party Municipal Committee said last year. The shows might cause viewers to fantasize about the lavish lifestyle of emperors, and plots about backstabbing courtiers might affect how viewers socialize, the paper said.

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