WTF: China Bans Time-Travel Movies And TV; Four Great Classical Novels Also Off-Limits

UPDATE: Reading more into this and looking at other translations, the 'time-travel' aspect may not be correct; rather it is the representation of historical characters that is becoming unacceptable. I'm looking into this more, and for now I'm leaving the headline and story as-is, but proceed with that note in mind.

It's good to read at least one utterly batshit stupid thing per day, so here's one for this afternoon: the General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television in China has reportedly decided that time-travel plots in movies and TV are not respectful to history, and therefore must be stopped. You know you want to know more, so read on...

This is a response to the increasing popularity of some new films and shows (such as the TV series Myth) that use time-travel as a core plot device, specifically as it puts modern characters in touch with ancient Chinese military and political figures.

Loosely translated, the ruling says,

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.

That's right: these stories are fiction. Except for Rian Johnson's Looper, a time-travel film which just shot partially in China, with Chinese investment. That one was totally true.

Obviously this story strains credulity, and we're looking into it more (the ruling took place at a meeting held April 1, if you can believe that) but for now we present the story in good faith.

Oh, and for that matter, the 'four great classical novels' of Chinese literature (aka Romance of the Three Kingdoms; Water Margin; Dream of the Red Chamber; and Journey to the West) are also off-limits for a while, because the works are in danger of going culturally bankrupt thanks to over-exposure. Someone better call Neil Gaiman, since he's scripting Journey to the West right now...[QQQ via TechDirt]