Producers of one Chinese historical drama may be in some very real trouble after the names of some current and recent top Chinese leaders were spotted on a list of “spies” in the show.
In the scene from an episode of Qin Empire 3 (大秦帝国之崛起) last week, a character is shown inspecting a bamboo scroll featuring the names of traitors that had been caught spying for the rival Zhao state. While the scroll was only shown for a few brief moments, hawk-eyed viewers still managed to catch the first six names on list: Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, Li Keqiang, Jia Qinglin.
The scene has since disappeared from the Chinese internet and discussions concerning the show have been censored online, but that hasn’t stopped it from being heavily reported in Hong Kong and Taiwan media.
According to Apple Daily, netizens believe that the scene may have been added in post-production after noticing how the character holding the scroll makes an inexplicable wardrobe change. “Is the director still alive?” wondered one web user.
It’s not clear if the show’s producers will face any repercussions for the scene. In the past, Chinese President Xi Jinping has resolutely protected the integrity of his name. Last year, Chinese censors squashed all reports that a scientist had named a beetle after Xi Dada and an activist was detained for wearing a “Xitler” shirt out in public.
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