No kidding! I am still deciding whether this is funny. Google search this phrase, “China bans time travel,” and it will yield the following (results around April 19, 2011 22:50pm PST):
Telegraph.co.uk – Andrew Hough – Apr 15, 2011
Television dramas with plots involving time travel could be banned by the Chinese government under a fresh censorship drive, it has emerged. The move would ban cult movie classic such as Back to the Future. Photo: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS A scene from Back to …
Boston Globe – Jesse Nunes – Apr 14, 2011
By Carli Velocci, Boston.com Correspondent If you’re living in China right now and want to enjoy a nice quiet evening on the sofa watching the classic 1960 film version of “The Time Machine,” you may be out of luck. The New York Times recently reported …
Daily Mail – Richard Hartley-parkinson – Apr 14, 2011
Shows that feature time travel have been effectively banned by the Chinese government after it issued new rules for TV and film directors. In the latest crackdown on dissent, authorities want its citizens to uphold the …
The Guardian – Apr 14, 2011
Quantum Leap forward? China’s censors say time travel dramas have ‘questionable’ content and ‘exaggerated’ performance styles. Photograph: PR China’s censors have long been known for their stringent approach to television, but now they are taking on an …
Huffington Post – Apr 13, 2011
When it comes to time travel, the only obstacle greater than harnessing 1.21 gigawatts could be getting past the Chinese government. China’s State Administration for Radio, Film & Television has issued new protocol that essentially puts the brakes on …
TIME – Erica Ho – Apr 13, 2011
In China… well, in China, many weird things happen. The Chinese government, in another strange episode, has decided to ban time travel. Well, at least when it comes to television shows and movies. …
One might want to look up what FUD stands for. Of course these Western media reports are wildly inaccurate, even given the context of TV shows. China Broadcasting Administration’s March television production filing report did not mention any ban, not the least of banning time travel themed TV shows. What it did say is while by and large the state of television production is good, there are some poorly made shows they have concerns over.
Apparently, when the Broadcasting Administration sneezes, it can arouse “censorship” and “human rights” panic in the West. China is godly powerful. Tone down, China, otherwise you might cause a heart-attack in the West!
The real story is that lately there has been too many remakes of the Four Great Works of China, and have led to some lowbrow TV shows with ridiculous treatment unworthy of historical context of the original works. Also ghost stories that are too scary for children during primetime are asked to be rescripted (content appropriateness for given time slot is an issue TV censor boards in US would also censor).
It’s not hard to fact check this – just plug the press release into any old machine translator and see if time travel is mentioned. Here’ what the China Broadcasting Administration actually said (my translation):
We hope production companies would maintain their creative thoughts, promote superior traditional Chinese culture, and strive to improve television’s artistic ideals and substance.
Does that sound like a ban? Not to mention the fact the press release cited is about a TV production statistics publication, not a legislative decision or administrative decree.
And, the creative FUD award goes to The Telegraph for slapping quotes around ‘frivolous.’ Also take note of their plausible deniability tactic – they stuck in a ‘could’ that will be automatically skipped over.