The Enforcement of Restriction on Historical Chinese Dramas: Brace yourselves, historical C-drama lovers

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.

They are:

  1. To notify the authorities, before the 15th of each month, of their proposed streaming schedule of dramas for the following month.
  2. To ensure an annual quota of 60% contemporary genres vs 40% others, for instance, historical genre.
  3. 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! :slight_smile: 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. :laughing:

For now:
Who says the CN authorities are overly rigid and uncompromising? This has shown otherwise. :wine_glass:
Who says public opinion does not hold sway? This has shown otherwise. :coffee:
So, :dolls: keep chiming away and keep pushing the envelope. :slight_smile:

Source: Excerpted from


The restriction mentioned is for upcoming dramas and pertaining to legal streaming platforms in China. As for whether those already available on Viki will be deleted or when they will be, that’s a question for Viki. As for those on other sources, only time will tell.

Don’t hold your breath. Apparently, certain ‘restriction’ has been enforced.

It’s not that they are doing it now. Restriction has been laid out for years, just not enforced. From some official notifications and some news reports, it was due to some glaring recent instances that prompted the authorities to finally enforce it strictly.

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Thanks for the update! :smile:


Thank you jadecloud88 - let’s hope it’s for new and upcoming dramas only then - I’m new here and there are still a tons of dramas I haven’t seen. Hopefully they will rethink this and remove the restriction for new dramas. I really don’t see the point of turning down money from us international fans…

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I personally Love Chinese Historical Dramas when it comes to time period dramas the Chinese are the BEST
all away around. I like all Asian Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese. But my most favorite of all is the Chinese Dramas next is the Koreans Drama. I have long been a fan of Chinese dramas long before I even knew about Viki.
Maybe what started this whole restriction issue is Web site that are NOT legal one bad apple in the basket makes it bad for the rest. Yes Chinese historical dramas are at the top as the BEST.


Considering how many free illegal sites there are out there I do find it strange they would prevent sites like Viki not to pay to show their content…

You mean not to show their paid content?
Well, Viki probably didn’t pay China itself, they paid their license partners. But I guess - I don’t know - that Viki has a restriction for these dramas in Asia, at least it used to be this way. So maybe not too big of a problem, with content already here, but the more for upcoming series. I guess it’s just wait and see.

That is what I meant; viki has paid a license to show the content from the producers. Why would China be against that? China is a big export of tons of products so why not dramas?
Yes, we’ll have to wait and see…

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Because China wants to educate their people, they want them to become people of the mindset China is looking for so anything that could “endanger” the outcome of a “good Chinese” (no offense, meant) is suspicious to the government and either they go against it completely, or will “adjust” it. It can happen that a fully produced drama will never see the light of day, if they think it is bad for character building.

why can you please explain this too me

this is crazy they should be make more not less that

Legend of the White Snake is awful .I had a hard time getting through first episode. I was very disappointed because I really looked forward to this drama. It is a classic tale and it is, I hate to say ,awful. The Gods (Luo Jin) however and The Legends are quite good. Watching them raw and semi subbed where I can get them.
I love Fantasy/SiFi/Super Natural and Iron age Period Dramas. Wuxia, Xainxia. They(China) should go for the Dough (Money) and either start another U.S. and all of North America. steaming site or sell license to the legit sites for North America. They have a huge fan base here. (Mexico, US,Canada).

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Did they change series/episodes or cut some? Or will they just ban the whole show completely then?

You wrote one of 3 rules is a 60/40 % genre mix, does that mean that in the past the fantasy/fictional history part was much higher?

If they remove/stop most of the fantasy/historical series and only keep contemporary they’ll have the same boring 0815 mainstream stuff we do have in the Western areas - so for me there would be no reason left to continue watching Chinese stuff since the genre I prefer is fantasy/historical sometimes scifi which is quite underrepresented in Western productions (and the few shows that fit into this genre are in no way on the same level like the Chinese dramas I watched so far).

That’s the personal taste :slight_smile: I watched the first 5 episodes and I love it! The leading couple is so sweet. I really enjoy this drama so far.


Initially, the authorities did withhold several series from broadcast. Later, they slackened and instituted three conditions (as mentioned in an earlier post above).

Yes, in the past, there were more historical genre dramas in demand, and which resulted in more being produced and shown (via broadcast or streaming platforms).

No. There will still be a quota of 40% for historical dramas.

Not so, IMO. There will still be plenty of good reasons to watch Chinese dramas. In fact, I believe the quality will be much improved since producers and broadcasters have to toe the tight line where each drama’s plot is concerned - factual vs fusion vs fiction. Let’s see how it will pan out.

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Has there ever been a sound declaration of the CN authorities why they are against the supposed “overdose” of historical drama? I mean, do they fear that the people will long for the good old days and such? Is that why most of the c-dramastories have a tragic ending in stead of the good ending in the original novels?

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That is why I stopped watching Chinese dramas bc I couldn’t deal with their tragic endings all the time (in the dramas I like to watch I know not all dramas have tragic endings) But like I said the ones i love to watch both main leads die or at least one of them does.

I was watching this Chinese historical type drama (1930’s) Everyone died! I was so upset bc they waited until the end episode to kill everyone in the drama! (drama is not here on viki though). I just gave up on Chinese dramas bc the ones I really, really like, have tragic endings on them. I don’t need to see that all the time. A few dramas, understandable, but all of the ones I’ve watched so far? Too much for me.

I remember back in 2013 I loved watching Chinese dramas bc the main characters stayed together but now, that’s so rare.

The C dramas I watched so far had almost all happy ending even when the novel didn’t.

That doesn’t mean 100% of all characters stay alive when the story includes war fights too, but mostly the main (couple) had a happy end.

Seems we watched different ones. Compared to the anime I loved the C dramas I like aren’t as depressing considering the endings like the anime used to be. Often my fav/the main characters in the anime died at the end. That was what I watched during my childhood xD

And sometimes I find no happy end more realistic than happy ends - even though I’m glad now that most characters I liked in C dramas so far didn’t die by 100% rate.

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Yes, we do. lol

I like action packed dramas but no anime I tried but never liked them My action packed can be bloody at times, and you don’t like dramas that involves too much blood. Sorry I suggested kill it and Sketch to you.

They are really very violent in some scenes. Sketch had a nice ending, although the beginning was so violent.[ Kill it] I have it on hold bc I’m watching a mexican drama titled ‘‘La Reina del Sur.’’ and ABYSS (Sk) and many others I already cooked for my kids so I’m relaxing the rest of my Mother’s Day.

Today is Mother’s Day in USA/PR, and to those celebrating this day, may you enjoy it in good health with your loved ones.