China's censors may soon be cutting out any and all mentions of time travel, and more. Image: philgenberg / Flickr / CC BY

In China, a mix of economic power and social control is often on display. The latest crackdown on movies and media representations, including a long list of themes or topics, is making this social control even more apparent. For many Americans and Europeans used to a comparatively free media and arts environment, these restrictions are difficult to understand.

China’s latest movie ban

In a statement released on March 31, China’s government stated that movies, TV shows, and programs that “contain fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking” should be discouraged. The ban believes that these shows “go against Chinese heritage.”

Crackdown on dissidents

According to Amnesty International, China has recently been cracking down on many pro-democracy activists. The recent protests in many middle eastern countries seems to have spooked the Chinese government. Several artists in China have also been arrested. Chinese political and social systems are under control of the Communist Party. That single party maintains complete control of the political and social life of the country. Economically, China is working towards a fully capitalist system, though the social and political controls of the Communist party often come into conflict.

Chinese censorship getting stronger

Despite the relative economic freedom in the country, China’s censors have been cracking down especially heavily. In 2010, Google shut down all operations in China after censorship conflicts proved insurmountable. American movies and shows are often shown in China, but only after heavy editing. Time-travel and fantasy-style entertainment has been gaining popularity in China, with recent shows focusing on teenagers traveling back 2,000 years or more. The producers of popular shows may or may not cut time travel out of their shows entirely, but it remains to be seen if Chinese censors will allow them or not.


The Guardian

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