If you’ve been following this blog very closely, and for a very long time (nearly a year), you might remember that last April the Chinese General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television announced that it would no longer be greenlighting shows or films that involved time-travel as a plot element, and this week the saga was unexpectedly, sadly, and undeniably oddly continued. The suicide of two pre-teen girls has been blamed on their belief in the existence of time travel.
The GBoRFaT has a mad on for the current trend in Chinese television where modern day people accidentally travel back in time to historical China and befriend famous historical figures, because it tends to be less than historically accurate:
The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore.
This week, the People’s Daily Online (until recently self-described as the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China) reported on the joint suicide of two 5th grade school girls, casting heavy emphasis on its connections to time travel fiction.
On Thursday afternoon, Xiao Hua [not actual name] realized she lost the remote control for a rolling door at her house. She was worried and told her friend Xiao Mei [not actual name].
At 4 pm, the girls each wrote suicide notes and hid them in a closet at Xiao Hua’s home. Then they jumped into a pool and drowned themselves.
Xiao Hua wrote in her note that her older sister must take care of their parents…
Xiao Mei also wrote that she had two dreams: She planned to travel back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to make a film of an emperor; and she wanted to visit outer space.
After that, the article descends quickly to comparing the information in the girls’ note to children jumping off buildings in order to fly like their favorite superheroes. Now, I’m the first to admit that Chinese authorities taking a girl who killed herself because she was afraid of the trouble she’d be in for misplacing a remote, and blaming it on one of her flights of fancy, would be hilarious if the teen suicide part wasn’t true. And the part where China has banned stories that involve time travel from prime time airing. And the part where people, anywhere, still think that art kills.
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