$62m Chinese drama cancelled for being 'too sexy'

$62m Chinese drama cancelled for being 'too sexy'

Chinese TV broadcaster, Hunan TV (HNTV), has cancelled the popular period drama, "The Empress of China", one week after it was first aired.

The move gave way to speculation that censors disapproved of the revealing and racy costumes.

Although HNTV cited reasons such as "technical issues" as the main factor for removing the show, viewers have been compelled to believe that the flamboyant dressing had more to do with it. Telegraph.co.uk reported that online viewers had dubbed the show as "The Saga of Squeezed Breasts."

The drama is reportedly one of the most expensive Chinese TV shows produced at £30 million (S$61.71 million). It stars leading lady Fan Bingbing as China's monarch, Wu Zetian. She is known internationally for her roles in 2013's Iron Man 3 and 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.

China's media censorship board, The State Administration of Press, Publication, radio, Film and Television, has come under fire for halting the show midway through its run.

Telegraph.co.uk said that the censorship board firmly banned any depictions of "one-night stands, adultery, sexual abuse, rape, polyamory, necrophilia, prostitution, nudity and masturbation, as well as murder, suicide, drug use, gambling and even racy subtitles and puns". This was announced as a new set of regulations in November, reported Shanghaiist.com.

However, for the show to portray Wu Zetian's bloody legacy as a monarch, it would have been challenging to avoid these curbs since the empress was remembered for her voracious sexual appetite and for murdering her siblings and baby.

A viewer was quoted by the Telegraph.co.uk as saying: "Wasn't this the Tang dynasty style?" and "Why don't you just let a bunch aunties play them?"

Until the post-production team can figure out a way to adhere to these set of regulations, the show will remain history.

debwong@sph.com.sg

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