Another China BAN: This Time It’s Time Travel Into the Future

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The Chinese government recently announced its latest contraband: time travel. Or at least time travel as it’s depicted in fictional enterprises such as films and television.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) cautioned filmmakers and producers that movies with time-travel thematics tend to “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.”

Although China has not issued an outright ban as yet, its firm censorship laws in almost all areas of public consumption likely means a practical prohibition for all intents and purposes. From the reports so far (bearing in mind the original statement from SARFT is in Chinese), it seems that the restrictions are a reaction to an increasing number of films that depict characters who, travelling through the temporal ether, are able to rewrite history.

The government finds this idea disturbing, because they find it “treats serious history in a frivolous way, which by no means should be encouraged anymore.”

Predictably, a number of reports on China’s announcement have playfully mused how iconic time-travelling films like Back to the Future and 12 Monkeys could now no longer make it to Chinese screens. But perhaps more seriously, China’s announcement speaks to its now-predictable trend of vigorously controlling all aspects of cultural production that are not state-sanctioned.

And what does a ban on representations of time travel even mean for the general populace? I’d hedge a guess that it’s about quashing anything that references a transcendence of the present moment, imagining things in different ways. Who knows what such things could provoke: re-examining politics, tradition, the role of the state, or unmasking the absurd notion in claiming a unitary history of anything. It’s all dangerous stuff for a government so thoroughly obsessed with tightly-clenching the dissemination of national media and messages.

In his essay, “Giving Offense”, JM Coetzee makes the astute point that one kind of censorship will invariably snowball into other kinds. “From being sour,” he says, “to being laughed at for being sour to banning laughter at what is sour, is an all-too-familiar progression in tyranny.”

For more check out original over onmemeburn.

 

Renee Blodgett
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Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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