ST Podcast: How China's crackdown on period dramas has hit TV show Yanxi Palace

Pop Vultures (Season 1: Ep 4) March 15: How China’s crackdown on period dramas has hit TV show Yanxi Palace

22:31 mins

Synopsis: A podcast by The Straits Times that examines all the ins and outs of pop culture, be it Asian entertainment or Hollywood.

The Story of Yanxi Palace may have been a huge global hit, but China has now banned such shows from being aired, claiming they distort history and promote decadence and backstabbing, among other things.

How much do dramas like Yanxi and Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace stick to fact, and how much is fantasy? Should the crackdown on such shows end, or will they, like the Step Empress Hoifa-Nara, be banished to the cold palace forever?

Pop Vultures spill the (Chinese) tea!

Here’s what they cover:

– How big The Story of Yanxi Palace was, and how the state is cracking down on it (0.57)

– Reasons why palace period dramas have been banned by the Chinese government (2:25)

– Ramifications of the crackdown – reduced production of period pieces (4:20)

– How true to history are these dramas? E.g Qianlong’s (乾隆皇帝) Step-Empress Hoifa-Nara (继皇后) and her downfall (4:55)

– Ridiculous portrayal of medical treatments (fertility soups?) and science (blood-mixing as paternity tests 滴血认亲) in palace intrigue dramas (6:49)

– Real-life events that seem too dramatic to be true (Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧太后 vs Concubine Zhen 珍妃) (9:52)

– Palace intrigue dramas’ attention to detail in fashion and accessories such as a pearl-encrusted cape (云肩) that Noble Consort Gao wears, and why such details are close to history (12:20)

– Why are there so many dramas about the Qing Dynasty (清朝)? (15:03)

– Our thoughts on the censorship and increasingly tight ban on period dramas and why it’s a bad move (17:03)

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Produced by: Jan Lee, Yeo Sam Jo and Ernest Luis

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