No. It wasn't just a rumor. It was factual when the first report came out (23rd/24th). However, the huge public backlash that ensued brought about some reconsideration, some slackening.
To add on to my first posting, there's a new development. It was reported during midday today (the 27th, or yesterday, depending on where one's located), the authorities have decided to lift its restriction from April, after having convened an emergency meeting with the top three CN streaming platforms, and after having secured a letter of guarantee from all of them, with their respective promises to adhere to three conditions.
- To notify the authorities, before the 15th of each month, of their proposed streaming schedule of dramas for the following month.
- To ensure an annual quota of 60% contemporary genres vs 40% others, for instance, historical genre.
- No promotion of any drama in any form is allowed anywhere before any online approval (governmental or certification) is issued or so attained (by the respective streaming platforms).
^^^NB: Translated from SARFT notice (below).
Hallelujah! We will still get a reduced dosage of historicals. Perhaps, we will also get to watch more 'responsible' biographical historicals. Hope springs eternal!
The Legend of White Snake will premiere on 4.3 on IQIYI (hopefully, no further rescheduling). It is the first drama that will benefit from this slackening. The backlash was also due to The Legend of White Snake being one of the top ten upcoming C-dramas that are highly anticipated (and it won The 2019 Golden Shark Award because of it).
Even on Viki, it's highly anticipated and already has 10299 followers as of now. That's a wow for a C-drama on Viki(!), let alone that it hasn't started.
Yet, it's not just for that 'public backlash due to high anticipation' reason alone. This drama happens to expound good, positive values, and most importantly, it does not (as reported) 'rewrite' history (which has been rather glaring and disappointing in some recent historical, biographical dramas, such as Queen Dugu, Story of Yanxi, Ruyi Royal Love in the Palace, etc., but still entertaining, enjoyable and worth watching if one would discern its respective historical facts); or promote 'undesirable' behaviors/aspirations. Rather, this legend is a hugely popular and well-loved Classic Chinese Mythology, and viewed as a national cultural treasure.
^^^ The Golden Shark Award
^^^ New schedule (IQIYI): Premiere date: 4.3; 2000 CST/China; every Wednesday to Friday, 2 episodes per day. For Viki's schedule, according to its app, it shows 4.4. Please check the channel page for updates.
On an aside, one notable 'casualty' from the enforcement of restriction was Queen Dugu《独孤皇后》 (starring Joe Chen and Chen Xiao). Right after it's finale, it was all taken down from the net. According to a 3.18 public announcement from its producer, it would be permanent. That's pertaining to legal platforms in China. Of course, one could still find it and watch it, if one wants. And, of course, till it's taken down, if it would.
Btw, there's no mention at all about such lifting of enforcement concerning the broadcast/satellite stations/networks. The meeting mentioned above only involved the top three CN internet streaming platforms. There were reports about a total 'blackout' on historical dramas in March, and where several historical dramas (on-airs and reruns), that were airing were suddenly halted and replaced with other non-historical dramas.
All in all, I believe everything (about this matter) is fluid and anything can happen, at any time. But one fact remains. That 'entertainment' is not just a mere cog in the wheel of the CN economy, within and without its borders. It's an important cog which is like a spider web that has already entwined the country itself, and the world of viewing consumers, businesses, investors, and the like.
We need sanity from the mundane world, right? Even though some dramas do make us tear our hair out.
Who says the CN authorities are overly rigid and uncompromising? This has shown otherwise.
Who says public opinion does not hold sway? This has shown otherwise.
So, keep chiming away and keep pushing the envelope.
Source: Excerpted from