Calendar

China Bans Time Travel (but not Tomorrowland)

I’m not sure who’s making the decisions in China these days. It feels like an episode of Celebrity Apprentice; one day things seem to be going well (as if John Rich or Marlee Matlin were calling the shots) and the next day it feels like things are off-track (and LaToya Jackson or Gary Busey are running things). Just when you thought the Chinese government was loosening up a bit in terms of their comfort zone with creative thought and imagination (the plans for Shanghai Disney resort are advancing nicely, for example), along comes the news that they are banning time travel in film and TV shows.

That’s right, in case you hadn’t heard — the $4.4 billion Shanghai Disney resort is expected to open in late 2015 with a Magic Kingdom-style theme park, two hotels and a Downtown Disney shopping center. There’s only one problem — the Chinese government has banned time travel in entertainment. I guess it’s time for the age-old communist practice of rewriting history to suit the current oppressive needs. Will Shanghai Disneyland include Tomorrowland, now that they have to reconcile the principles of Chairman Mao with their introduction of Mickey Mao?

Here is the kind of dangerous programming the Chinese government fears…

Brilliant. If there were 7-UP commercials that smart here in the US, I’d drink the soft-drink just to show my support.

You see, China doesn’t want to go back to the future… or even back the past, for that matter. The Chinese government has banned any depiction of time travel in TV shows and films because the plot element “disrespects history.”
In a statement, China’s State Administration for Radio, Film & Television said that fictional time-traveling in programs “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.”

Here is the full statement. Read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean…
广电总局关于2011年3月全国拍摄制作电视剧备案公示的通知
【发布时间】:2011-03-31 14:02 【信息来源】:办公厅
  3月29日,广电总局向各省、自治区、直辖市广播影视局,新疆生产建设兵团广播电视局,中央电视台,解放军总政宣传部艺术局,中国教育电视台发出《广电总局关于2011年3月全国拍摄制作电视剧备案公示的通知》,通知说,2011年3月,全国电视剧拍摄制作备案申报公示的剧目共95部、2783集,同意公示的剧目共66部、1961集。
  按题材划分,当代题材33部、942集,分别占公示总数的50.0%和48.04%,其中 ,当代军旅题材1部30集,当代都市题材25部744集,当代涉案题材4部93集,当代科幻题材1部35集,当代其它题材2部40集。现代题材2部、55集,分别占公示总数的3.03%和2.8%,其中 ,现代军旅题材1部30集,现代其它题材1部25集。近代题材28部、864集,分别占公示总数的42.42%和44.06%,其中 ,近代都市题材1部25集,近代传奇题材11部332集,近代革命题材15部477集,近代其它题材1部30集。古代题材3部、100集,分别占公示总数的4.55%和5.1%,其中 ,古代宫廷题材2部70集,古代武打题材1部30集。批准立项的重大革命题材电视剧目2部、65集 。本月申报的剧目中,因内容或手续不全问题暂不予公示的剧目共29部、822集。
  近几个月,全国报备剧目的总体态势是好的,但我们也发现一些不正确的创作苗头:个别申报备案的神怪剧和穿越剧,随意编纂神话故事,情节怪异离奇,手法荒诞,甚至渲染封建迷信、宿命论和轮回转世,价值取向含混,缺乏积极的思想意义。对此,希望各制作机构端正创作思想,要弘扬中华民族优秀传统文化,努力提高电视剧的思想艺术质量。
  另外,近期申报备案公示的涉案剧数量有所回升。在此提示各制作机构:广电总局2004年以来有关涉案剧制作和播出的管理要求持续有效,各制作机构在涉案剧创作之初,要审慎考虑市场风险,避免盲目立项投资。
  遵照中央精神,为庆祝中国共产党成立90周年,各级电视台要积极筹备,努力推出一批生动再现中国革命、建设和改革开放历史画卷、真实反映各族人民在党领导下实现民族伟大复兴奋斗历程的优秀作品,为建党90周年献礼。
    备案公示剧目表请在总局政府网站电视剧电子政务平台公示专栏中查询。

…and you thought Michelle Obama’s need to control McDonald’s “Happy Meals” was a little oppressive.

Are the Chinese just determined to raise children with absolutely no sense of creativity or imagination? Or, this being the 90th anniversary of the Communist party (CPC), do they just want to maintain complete control over any portrayal of the events depicted in TV shows looking back in history?

Apparently, time-traveling Chinese shows have been prevalent lately, featuring characters traveling back to ancient times. The issued guidelines discourage producers and writers from using time travel, along with any elements that contain “fantasy … random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques,” if they want their programs to stay on the air. Of course, the governement can still pull the plug on any show whenever it wants, for any (or no) reason at all.

I still don’t get it. Something about opening a Disney theme park in Shanghai (the theme of which will be the romantic portrayal of the past alongside the technologically-driven portrayal of the future) just doesn’t gel with the Chinese impulse to erase thoughts of time travel. It’s the usual Chinese “progress” — one step forward, one step backward, and 1,331,460,000 steps in place.

Why are Chinese authorities concerned with this in the first place? Doesn’t the government realize the end result will be two things? (That’s right, it’s the good old law of unintended consequences). One — to drive up the illegal bootlegs of any TV shows or films that have anything to do with time travel. And two — to inspire a scientist there to work secretly on a time travel machine to go back and make sure this ban on time travel never took place.

And maybe even Communism, while they’re at it.

Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the world for Parcbench... from the Biennale in Venice, to Centre Court in Wimbledon, to Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol, Tennessee. He is based in New York City and frequently on the road.

More Posts

About Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the world for Parcbench... from the Biennale in Venice, to Centre Court in Wimbledon, to Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol, Tennessee. He is based in New York City and frequently on the road.
Category : TV and tagged , .
« »

Comment:

  • troy

    WAR IS PEACE

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH