Cleavage scenes were edited out of the historical TV drama The Empress of China following public complaints that the female actresses’ plummeting necklines were negatively affecting the country’s impressionable youths, China’s censor explained yesterday.
The show, said to be one of the most expensive Chinese TV series ever produced, features a number of recognizable faces including Fan Bingbing, Zhang Junning, and Zhou Haimei. Not long after the first episode was broadcast on December 21, HNTV pulled the program off the air and explained that it wouldn’t show again until January. The network claimed that the hiatus was due to “technical issues,” but other sources claimed that the costume dresses were considered “too revealing” and needed to undergo some digital tailoring.
Sure enough, when the program returned, viewers were quick to note that some of the show’s most prominent stars had indeed been cut. Close-up scenes that had previously included female actresses’ pushed-up bosoms were replaced with wide-angle shots showing only their faces.
The edits were made after viewers complained that The Empress of China, also called The Saga of Wu Zetian, “was bad for the healthy growth of juveniles,” Tian Jin, director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
This is the first time SARFT has chosen to clarify why, exactly, the TV drama had been pulled from the air, Shanghai Daily reports, perhaps due to the overwhelmingly negative response to the edits.
“Our artistic works, films and TV dramas should all promote China’s core values and pass on positive energy and good and true ideas,” Tian added.
We’re not sure how this justification will sit with 95 percent of viewers (including juveniles, no doubt) who voted pro-cleavage in a Sina Weibo survey, but SARFT’s explanation is pretty much in line with the netizen who complained that airing “squeezed” cleavage was no different than “forging and selling fake goods”.