China Gears Up for PRC 70th Anniversary with Ban on “Entertaining” Costume Dramas and Idol Shows

Instead, stations are being urged to show titles such as "Lovable China", "The People's Choice", and "I Love You, Motherland"

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8:03 PM HKT, Fri August 2, 2019 1 mins read

This October, the People’s Republic of China is marking the 70th anniversary of its founding. Expectations are for it to be Party-centric, but not especially party-friendly. A hint of what may be ahead was delivered this week by the National Radio and Television Administration’s official WeChat account when it issued a list of 86 patriotic TV programs for stations to air and warned against broadcasting period dramas or idol shows that are “especially entertaining”.

The key section of the post reminded China’s TV stations that they should “strictly control the selection, content, and broadcasting of programs” throughout August and ensure that they “match with the overall atmosphere of the publicity period”, in the run-up to China’s national day at the start of October.


In March, a similar declaration was reversed after netizens decried an apparent ban on costume dramas on China’s streaming platforms. That paved the way for one of the biggest hits of the summer in the Tang dynasty-set thriller The Longest Day in Chang’an. Fortunately, that show managed to make it out (and onto Amazon Prime for overseas audiences) before this latest move.

The department’s list of suggested watching includes titles such as Lovable China, The People’s Choice, and I Love You, Motherland.

After more than 870,000 votes, a poll on Sina Weibo’s dedicated TV account found that 38.5% of respondents felt it was going to be a tough month as there’d be “no dramas to pursue” in August. Meanwhile, 26% selected “no problem, this list has shows I want to watch”.

Cover: a still from 可爱的中国, from the approved list

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