No more Back to the Future. No more Star Trek. No more Harry Potter, Terminator, or Austin Powers.
At least not in China.
Recently, the Chinese State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television placed a ban on all movies and TV shows that feature time travel, claiming they are “offensive to Chinese heritage”.
According to ChinaHush (a site devoted to ensuring that Chinese news stories are not misrepresented by Western media), “Many [time travel] 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.” But it seems that in their desire to eliminate a producer’s ability to take historical license with the past, the government is choosing to place an all out interdiction on time travel content.
The State Administration claims that films featuring time travel “lack positive thoughts and meaning.” (Though Captain Kirk demands to know how saving whales from extinction and Earth from destruction is a lack of positive thought and meaning).
The ban seems to be a government reaction to popular TV Shows such as “Palace,” which features character(s) traveling back to pre-Communist times. Instead, the government wants media producers to create films that “showcase the progress of Chinese leadership.”
But according to sources such as the New York Times and the Hollywood Reporter, there may be additional motives for the ban. “The fantasy of time travel – which potentially gives the individual the freedom to reorder reality – conflicts with politically correct thought completely ruled by the CPC,” says the Times. In addition, the most popular time travel shows are hosted by networks rival to the state-run broadcaster.
Some sources claim that the ban is merely a guideline intended to “discourage” time travel content, rather than eliminate it outright. However, as news.com.au points out, when it comes to indictments from the Chinese administration, the two essentially amount to the same thing (especially since the State Administration has the power to cancel any Chinese show at any time for any reason).
So unless Hermione Granger can whip out her Time Turner and go back in time to Obliviate government officials into forgetting about this ban, it looks like that for the people of China, Time Travel will soon be a thing of the past.