In 2011, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the country decided to ban representation of time travel in cinema and other visual media. The Chinese Government held that such representations disrespected the liner progression of history. Until then, Chinese television and cinema was highly populated with stories with interpolations in received history of king’s and their courts. In April 2011, China’s State Administration for Radio, Film & Television stated that “producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore…[they] casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” Hence the move to censor time travel representations!

Apparently, critics defending the Chinese Government’s move believe that the censoring of time travel was not in fact a banning of the scientific exploration of a favorite theme, but geared at censoring attempts at restructuring history or such an imagination that makes seem a reordering of history possible. Characters who usually went back in time in Chinese visual representations, did so not without changing the course of–or causing minor adjustments in–history.

Among other things or activities that are prohibited from being shown on screen are smoking and drinking, cleavages of female breasts, homosexuality, and celebrity kids. Also, in a bid to promote innovative “homemade programmes,” media regulators in China allegedly banned foreign television programmes, with primary focus on South Korean stars or content, which were in fact very popular, before June 2016, that is the time of this media regulation.

Finally, earlier this week, China has decided to ban Winnie the Pooh, since the Chinese President, Xi Jinping resembled the cartoon character way too much. All .GIF images of Winnie the Pooh were taken down China’s instant messaging platform, WeChat. China does not entertain making fun of its leaders. As a result, when its citizens started making split images of Jinping and Winnie the Pooh in the same frame, or of the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, with a downcast looking cartoon character as the President of China, the Communist Party acted instantly without further ado, adding another laurel to its great banner’s crown. Or as Stephen McDonnel reports for the BBC, “inside the Great Firewall of China of course.”


Arup K Chatterjee

Arup K Chatterjee

Arup K Chatterjee is a recipient of the Charles Wallace fellowship, 2014-15, to UK. He received his PhD from the Center for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is the author of The Purveyors of Destiny: A Cultural Biography of the Indian Railways (Bloomsbury, 2017), apart from numerous other prose or poetic works and opinion articles published worldwide. He is Assistant Professor of English at the Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, and the founding chief-editor of Coldnoon.