No More Time Travel

If you were planning to go back to the 1960s this weekend, you may as well forget it and make alternative plans. After Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were banned in China, there has been a lot of speculation about what’s next, but I am pretty sure nobody would have guessed that time travel would be the next victim. And yet, here we are, time travel is now officially banned in China. Well, in movies that is.

The reasons are far from obvious, but as far as I can tell, there’s a worry that shows depicting people from today’s China going back in time to an era when people were more free will make people realise that life isn’t as rosy now as they initially thought.

I’ll probably survive without time travel movies, although Back To The Future has always been a reliable favourite of mine. But I wonder what’s next? Perhaps the letter “C” will be banned on all computer keyboards and will need to be removed.

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16 Responses to No More Time Travel

  1. KingBadger says:

    Bit of a step backwards for the CCP here.

  2. CP says:

    Clearly the Ministry of Banning Things is overstaffed. And how the hell can you ban something that hasn’t been invented yet? Or is this another thing the Chinese quietly invented without the rest of us noticing?

    Or maybe they are going to copy the intellectual property of time travel once it’s been invented by someone else, then return back in time (i.e. to now) and ban it, so that they can then claim to invent it themselves in the future?

  3. KingBadger says:

    I think what will happen is that a Chinese-own-brand version of time-travel will be given the blessing by the censors. Western-style time-travel revels in incestuous paradoxes (Back To The Future) that are both immoral and illogical. China has its home-brand YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter, and thus so it will have time-travel with Chinese characteristics.

    Of course, the deeper truth is that Western Imperialist Corporatists use time-travel to steal Chinese ideas and go back in time to replicate them and claim them as their own.

    Sadly, Xiaonei.com is only available in Chinese but don’t worry if Chinese isn’t your forte. One bright Harvard University student, Mark Zuckerberg, has copied this idea into English and called it Facebook.

  4. Dingle says:

    Maybe they’re worried that people in the movies will go back in time and use facebook?

    Weird though, so it’s not ok to depict modern people going back to say 1935, but it is ok to make a film set in 1935?

  5. WoAi says:

    @CP – This thread is becoming more complex than the plot of Inception!

    @KingBadger – Great link back to a very pertinent blog post. I think you’re on to something there!

    @Dingle – I actually had the same thought about how it’s okay to make films set in the past, but not one set in the present about someone going back to the past. But then I realised that any movie set in say, 1935 would already be subject to a whole host of “guidelines” anyway. So this is like a rule within a rule!

  6. T. says:

    If you think Inception is complex – you haven’t seen Primer

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film)

  7. BT says:

    I liked the quote from Li Jingsheng from SARFT (too like DAFT, anyways)

    “Time travel dramas are becoming a hot theme for television and films. But the content and exaggerated performance style are questionable,”

    “Many stories are totally made up. . . ” he said.

    And I thought it was real . . .

  8. WoAi says:

    @T – I like my films like I like my girls : simple!

    @BT – That’s hilarious. We can’t have exaggerated performance styles now can we. Why not just have a blanket ban on exaggerated performance styles, not just time travel movies.

    And don’t get me started on the totally made up part. My goodness, the irony. I mean, would they really be happy if Chinese historical movies were accurate in every detail. I think not! But maybe that’s their whole ideal – stories that aren’t totally made up or totally accurate. We’ll just have stories that are partially true with conveniently omitted parts that reflect badly on the government!

  9. Bittermelon says:

    Oh people people people! You mock the good intention of the Party, when its only mission is to serve the people. SERVE THE PEOPLE I say.

  10. CP says:

    @WoAi: I’m glad you banned the letter “C” as I’ve had a right unt of a week and was worried about offending someone.

  11. Stephanie says:

    What?!!? OK I am so behind…I knew they banned facebook…but youtube and twitter?!? And now…Time Travel? hahaha- what are they scared of? That Chinese may get ideas and go build their own time travel machine…I;d love to see the day! : )

  12. anthony says:

    as long as they dont ban caturday !!!! lol

  13. WoAi says:

    @Bittermelon – Here, here!

    @CP – Indeed. Perhaps the government should just ban all words, then there would be nothing to worry about.

    @Steph – Yep, YouTube and Twitter have been banned for a few years now.

    @Anthony – I believe the ban was on Chinese made movies. The government fortunately doesn’t quite have the authority to dictate what Hollywood movies are made.

  14. Bittermelon says:

    I was just listening to a radio show and the host asked a question about 1950 US TV programs. One program ran afoul of the censor because it dared to show…a full view of a toilet. After much discussion it was allowed to go on when it only show a toilet cover. It marked the first time on TV when any part of a toilet was shown. This is a long winded way to say censors are the same the world over: humorless men (they are men only) who knows nothing about what they are seeing.

  15. madsam says:

    The best comment on source article is this-

    “Do journalist still fact check? With a shrinking world it’s not hard to plug the Chinese government press release into a translator, and find out it contains *no mentioning of time travel*. Here’s the Broadcast Administration announcement:
    http://www.sarft.gov.cn/articles/2011/03/31/20110331140820680073.html
    The phrase “神怪剧和穿越剧” litterally translates to “spirit-monster theme and transcendental theme”, refering to *crossing-over* (not time travel) ghost stories that are too scary for prime time slots where children may be watching.
    This is the same issue TV censor boards in US would consider.”

    IMHO, many chinese are still steeped in superstitions and the film industry, esp. from HK and
    Taiwan certainly doesn’t help.

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