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Chinese Censors Crack Down on Time Travel 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the leaving-the-past-alone dept.
H_Fisher writes "Disrespect the Chinese government at your peril ... and this includes anything you do with the past. Time magazine's Techland blog reports that China is banning references to time travel which are disrespectful to the nation's culture and history. No word on whether this includes a travel ban on time lords."
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Chinese Censors Crack Down on Time Travel

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  • First Post (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitac (24581) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:37PM (#35813466) Homepage
    From Friday, April 15, 2011. PS, gas prices went up again.
    • Or to be more locally relevant to the story at hand:

      • Pollution still sucks and Beijing still censors the shit out of us
      • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:44PM (#35813516)
        So the chinese have invented the Frux Capacitor then?
        • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:50PM (#35813556)
          They actually stole the plans and modified them, along with the ones for their riced-up DeRorean.
          • by treeves (963993) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:10PM (#35813670) Homepage Journal

            Since DeLoreans don't have hair what effect does lice have on them?

          • No, they got the plans for a bunch of pinball machine parts by mistake.
            • No, they got the plans for a bunch of pinball machine parts by mistake.

              Amazingly they were still able to manufacture a Derorean anyhow. Too bad it can't seem to hit above 60 mph without starting to lose bits and pieces...

              • Too bad it can't seem to hit above 60 mph without starting to lose bits and pieces...

                I hear the number plates fall off all the time.

                And 60 mph is an achievement for a Northern Ireland built DeLorean, a sports car that can be chased down by two Libyans in a VW Van.

        • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:52PM (#35813576)
          RMAO
        • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Their top researchers are too busy trying to figure out why ridiculous foreigners don't seem to comprehend that their language does, in fact, contain an 'L' sound.

        • L-R is a Japanese thing. In Chinese, it's R-W. Or so I've been told.

          • by readin (838620)
            "Chinese" is more complicated than that. First, there are many languages of China. Second, the official language (Mandarin) has far more sounds than Japanese. It is comparable to English in the number of sounds available - including a sound like an L and a couple sounds that resemble and R.
        • by irving47 (73147)

          Chances are they stole the formula for the electrolyte. So when they travel in time, the capacitor starts leaking all over the time vehicle and they have little chance of returning.

          (This might be just a little obscure even for slashdot. Google "Capacitor plague")

          • by Meski (774546)
            Assume you had a working time machine, how would you deal with spares? Move from present to past, dropping a parts depot every 5 years or so? You'd need to make them rather secure, to prevent the natives from getting the technology prematurely...
      • Great, where's your local time lord when you need him? On the other hand; Imajin will be taking over China any day now.

  • by xMrFishx (1956084) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:38PM (#35813476)
    I wonder if the Chinese traveled back in time to tell themselves to ban talking about time travel because it was possible. Will this prevent the discovery of time travel so that they can not warn themselves? The plot thickens...
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:45PM (#35813524)
      Take it easy on the State Administration for Radio, Film & Television, xMrFishx; everybody kills Hong Xiuquan on their first trip [abyssandapex.com]. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what's the harm?
    • I wonder if the Chinese traveled back in time to tell themselves to ban talking about time travel because it was possible. Will this prevent the discovery of time travel so that they can not warn themselves? The plot thickens...

      Yes, that was my first thought also! The Chinese in the year 2096 discovered time travel. Upon discovering this and inventing a workable time machine, Emperor Chian `xon Choue's first reaction was to send emissaries back in time to have a chat and ban talking about time travel. This way the future Chinese could have the secret all to themselves; except that they forgot what the secret was in the alternate reality and now the details of the meeting are lost because although it happened it never happened. So

    • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:23PM (#35813996)
      Speaking to you from 2075 to let you know their ban was an utter failure. Also. Chinese take-out is still popular in regions where the Tsunami of 2040 didn't wipe out coastal populations. And the Internet has been replaced by the much better GkKLdfv^(0--18X... transmission interrupted by tachyon flux...
    • The plot thickens...

      Ever noticed that we seem to be getting more and more lawyers and fewer and fewer physicists? This is a very cunning plan by the Chinese to fix this. You pass the laws of physics as actual legislative laws and, by the time all those lawyers graduate law school they are actually trained as physicists. By this time next week 3x10^8 m/s won't be just a good idea it really will be the law!

  • scifi (Score:4, Funny)

    by Weezul (52464) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:39PM (#35813480)

    If you outlaw scifi then only criminals will have scifi,
    meaning only criminals will go on to study physics.

    • by OpenGLFan (56206)

      If you outlaw scifi then only criminals will have scifi,
      meaning only criminals will go on to study physics.

      Thereby sucking them out of the university's Finance schools. Brilliant!

      • by Weezul (52464)

        Umm, last I herd, the requirements for like half the Wall St. jobs were :
        - PhD in mathematics or physics
        - lots of programming experience
        I'm sure you might also get the job with another hard science or engineering degree, so long as you could pass their interviews, which apparently get targets pretty heavily towards mathematical games.

        A business degree usually just means your suitable for managing people who couldn't get admitted to your school, wherever that happened to be. I'd imagine finance degree means

        • by RogerWilco (99615)

          Economics isn't necessarily the same however, more like studying Theology, i.e. you might've really learned something, but..

          An interesting way to describe Economics, I'll remember that one.

  • by ae1294 (1547521) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:44PM (#35813518) Journal

    I was just getting ready to jump into my time machine and go back to kill Sun Yat-sen. How could they have known?

    O... wait...

    • I was just getting ready to jump into my time machine and go back to kill Sun Yat-sen. How could they have known?

      You know, other than some rather sordid and scandalous private affairs, Dr. Sun was alright. Now if we're talking about Glorious Chairman Mou or Messianic Generalissimo Chiang, I am all for it.

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        I was just getting ready to jump into my time machine and go back to kill Sun Yat-sen. How could they have known?

        You know, other than some rather sordid and scandalous private affairs, Dr. Sun was alright. Now if we're talking about Glorious Chairman Mou or Messianic Generalissimo Chiang, I am all for it.

        He rapes my wife three years from now...

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:48PM (#35813544)
    Another Samzenpus FacePalm. The /. title is seriously misleading. FTA:

    With the way things are run, the state controls and monitors everything shown on your television or your computer. So yeah, China can randomly go back in time and say Marty McFly never existed. Scary, huh? The Doc would be furious. Fortunately, that's not what they're saying. But somehow the government has taken a sudden disliking to the idea of distorting certain historical events, things and people. (Cough.) ....The decision was made earlier this month, with the country's State Administration for Radio, Film & Television stating that "The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore." What's wrong with these shows? They “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.”

    So time travel comes in because the article decided to link the concept of time-travel to television and movies that convey alternative histories (Which, to the pedants, can include time-travel). But it the main theme discussed is regarding misrepresenting history. Nowhere does it say sitting in your back-yard and working on that warp-drive is verboten. It seems to me they want to cut down on media that strays from the government dictated and allowed 'historical context'. Far from a ban on time-travel. Censorship...Yes...Sensationalist...Unfortunately.

    • This is just a historical revisionism / always at war with Oceania / business as usual thing.
      They even bothered to get a picture of the Delorean to go with the extremely tenuous headline.

    • by quenda (644621)

      Seems more like they have had a run of bad "historical" dramas using a cliched and awkward plot device.
      The TV bosses have published guidelines to discourage more.

      If the BBC director sent out a memo saying, "Please, for the love of God, no more airport documentaries, serial-killer dramas, or home make-overs.", would we get the same response on /.?

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>Seems more like they have had a run of bad "historical" dramas using a cliched and awkward plot device.

        Hmm? TVB's Step Into the Past series was pretty good, and even though it was a Hong Kong production, received a lot of support from the Beijing government in producing it in mainland China.

        The plot of it is about a police officer that discovers a terra-cotta warrior that looks like him (hey, foreshadowing), and then time travels to the past to make sure the Qin win like they're supposed to. It's no

      • by poity (465672)

        If the BBC director sent out a memo saying, "Please, for the love of God, no more airport documentaries, serial-killer dramas, or home make-overs.", would we get the same response on /.?

        Probably, but it won't be too bad. However if it happens in America, /. would get bent out of shape about it's even more evidence that maniacal corporations are trying to enslave us by stifling creative thought and how USA is a police state that will not tolerate free thinking and how it's much much worse than China.

    • by D H NG (779318) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:35PM (#35813782)
      Actually, this is not just the article singling out time travel. According to The New York Times [nytimes.com], the original government report [sarft.gov.cn] does single out TV dramas that involve characters traveling back in time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by cosm (1072588)
        Thanks for that...MOD UP!
      • Actually, this is not just the article singling out time travel. According to The New York Times, the original government report does single out TV dramas that involve characters traveling back in time.

        Maybe they just want to keep the lazy Trek writers out of the country.

        Seriously, though, coincidentally, I introduced my daughter to Back to the Future last night. She liked thinking about the time paradoxes as much as the film itself. To limit avenues of fictional exploration is to dumb down your society.

    • It's a good thing we (or some of us) live in the enlightened USA. In the US, we would never allow a law that forbade the interpretation of history and our collective past. Except for Florida [infoshop.org], that is.
      • by khallow (566160)
        Thanks. When I saw this story, the first thought that popped into my head was "How is the US doing this worse?" I mean, that's what we're all thinking, right? Thanks for answering that question.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course, it doesn't help if TFA is also totally wrong.
      Chinese text from the original announcement:

      If you understand Chinese, it doesn't mention time travel or history at all. The confusion comes from the term , when used in certain context, can mean time travel. But in general it just means travel to a different world. In the context here, it means to travel to a mythological world.

      The are no mentioning of bans neither, it's just the dudes at State Administration for Radio, Film & Television doesn't l

    • So the Chinese government wants to ban time travel stories to stop historical revisionism when they engage in massive historical revisionism themselves? (Tiananmen Square? Nothing ever happened there!)

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @06:50PM (#35813552)
    It seems to me that their real fear is people latching on to the idea that things could ever have worked out differently. If people explore alternative histories and conjecture what would have happened if the ruling regime didn't come to power, how things might have been changed... perhaps for the better.

    Better to nip those flights of fancy in the bud and keep everyone's horizons nicely blinkered and focused on the factory assembly line.
    • by vivian (156520) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:39PM (#35813804)

      No I think the real problem is they want to maintain their monopoly on making up history. If someone else starts doing it too, people might start getting the idea that perhaps all history they read isn't quite as true as they currently think it is.

      • Exactly. Right now, officially, there was no Tiananmen Square massacre. But what if some TV drama, under the cover of 'alternate history' creates a TV drama that explores what would've happened if there was a Tiananmen Square massacre in '89? The Chinese government has worked so hard covering that up, they don't want some TV drama, under the guise of fiction, coming in and giving people the facts. So they need a law to nip that in the bud quickly.

        Nothing to see here folks. This is just what happens whe

    • by readin (838620)
      Excelly point. Also they don't want people looking at the past and discoving that what they've been told is full of lies. And they don't want people looking at what the CPC did to destroy so much of China and kill so many Chinese people. Nor would they want people looking at the history of China's relationship with Taiwan and discovering that maybe Taiwan isn't part of Taiwan after all. Nor would they want people realizing that China has a history (both past and current) of imperialism just like the Br
    • by readin (838620)
      Excellent point. Also they don't want people looking at the past and discovering that what they've been told is full of lies. And they don't want people looking at what the CPC did to destroy so much of China and kill so many Chinese people. Nor would they want people looking at the history of China's relationship with Taiwan and discovering that maybe Taiwan isn't part of China after all. Nor would they want people realizing that China has a history (both past and current) of imperialism just like the Brit
    • by Tom (822)

      It seems to me that their real fear is people latching on to the idea that things could ever have worked out differently. If people explore alternative histories and conjecture what would have happened if the ruling regime didn't come to power, how things might have been changed... perhaps for the better.

      Because that is how history changes always work out - in Hollywood.

      So, if you want to play a serious round of "what if", you have to think about the other, less attractive, alternatives as well.

      China could have missed the trip into the future and entered the modern world with an agricultural economy and exploding population numbers. Because population control requires strict government control as much as the Big Firewall. So in your "alternate history", don't forget to account for a few hundred million star

      • Well, those aren't my convictions. These are the postulated convictions of writers in China - and arguably, Hollywood plots are rather what we're talking about. Now, I very much doubt that the Chinese powers-that-be would take offense at a writer whose works boil down to "Everything is as good as it could possibly be! If it weren't for the glorious communist party, we would be living in a capitalist hellhole!". The fact that they -are- taking offense to people's writings, suggests to me that they don't
        • by Tom (822)

          Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes, the stated reason really is the real reason.

          Ok, we're talking about politicians, forget everything I said. If I look at the slimeballs we have, and imagine that plus near absolute power... brrr...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think I smell the birth of a new meme.

  • Just "most" of us only travel forward in time.
  • A favorite SF story of mine is Walter Jon Williams's "Foreign Devils," which was part of an anthology of stories taking place in the setting of HG Wells's War of the Worlds, but taking place in other parts of the world. WJW's contribution depicted the reaction of China's royalty to the tripods etc. Not time travel per se but definitely cast the Chinese court in a less than favorable light.

    That's as close as I can get to a story which might draw ire from the PRC; any others? According to TFA they're down

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:05PM (#35813634)

    June 4, 1989

  • by Rollgunner (630808) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:07PM (#35813642)
    Is here [youtube.com]
  • A government that does not tolerate free speech, including art that for example ridicules certain aspects of culture or history, is simply telegraphing the weakness of its power over its people, and the tenuousness of its legitimacy.

    True power comes from the willing consent of the people.

    Power that comes from applying the heels of jackboots is oh so shallow and fragile.

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:15PM (#35813690)

    in soviet Russia We remove people from time!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If your going to do this, you need to have the title "In Soviet Russia .."

      then in the body you have "we remove people from time!"

      Now please go back and correct this.
      thx

    • You just had to spoil last season's Doctor Who for everyone, didn't you...

    • by Trepidity (597)

      And they did it pretty well [wikipedia.org] considering they didn't even have photoshop!

  • Since it's an old story, it must have time travelled to now.
  • Yep, he stole Marty McFlys time machine and conquered China long long ago. (or at least he will SOON?!!)
  • Bullshit. Just because someone tweets something doesn't make it news.
    • by cosm (1072588)
      Hah! In this day and age I have completely given up on expecting any sort of journalistic integrity. We have been overridden by Twitterphilia, Facebookitis, and the social internet. The signal to noise ratio shinks every day, with good content on the internet slowly being diluted by every socialite's pingbacksand retweet. Oh Web 2.0, how I long for the Geocities days of yore. At least then you had to manually choose to visit crap like MySpace and the ilk; now it is forced upon us at every corner of the inte
      • Thank goodness slashdot is different.
        We have diligent human editors, working hard to make sure none of the twitter/facebook garbage, and digg-style democratically elected non-news, makes it to the hallowed front page.

  • by pookemon (909195) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:28PM (#35813748) Homepage
    Dr woooooo-oo hey! Dr woo.
    Dr woooooo-oo hey! Dr woo.
  • What would have happened in China if Bill S. Preston Esq. and 'Ted' Theodore Logan never returned Genghis Khan to the past?

    Anarchy, that's what.

  • or did Ground Hog Day and April Fools get combined now and I'm experiencing April 1 again and again.
    Since they have essentially removed most reference of Mao Zedong from their history books now they are going after people attempt to change history. Even though I'm Chinese, but the communist Chinese always make me laugh with with their strange and bewildering policies with their people but their enforcement of certain laws against their are not funny.

    • by Stargoat (658863) *

      If only it was more like Silvio Berlusconi. Now there is a political entity you can laugh at AND feel good about yourself.

  • "The Chinese Science Directorate has concluded that time travel is impossible"
  • by drb226 (1938360) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @10:56PM (#35814658)
    Time magazine...I see what's going on here.
  • I saw it explained on another website like this, and as I have no access to Chinese television I can't confirm this. Apparently there had been this trend of making programs in which a character would, for one reason or another, travel back in time to Imperial China. There, they would discover that pre-Revolutionary China was...well...pretty nice. This obviously presents a problem for the government since, although they're fairly Western in the business world, their government is still officially "Communi

  • Maybe China is concerned about filmmakers using time travel to sneak non-state-approved ideas about China's history past the censors. It has nothing to do with cultural 'insults.' It has to do with China wanting to control their peoples' perception of their own history. I watched an East German Propaganda movie once about a condemned village in Bavaria being saved by the workers and farmers standing up to the evil gangster Yankees and the puppet-West German government and Catholic Church. The Americans want
  • No doubt the Chinese government will be employing the Restoration Team to replace John Bennett with a Chinese actor on future versions of the Talons of Weng-Chiang DVD. Come to think of it, they've probably done it already on the grounds that it was the original production team's intention. And turned everyone bright orange with their Gumby restoration techniques.
  • He didn't chop down the tree, he chewed it down. And he was a Chinese beaver.

  • Since no one ever bothers to read the source, the original statement actually says TV dramas should not have plots that are pure fantasy, such as time traveling drama; made-up mythologies; or encourage superstitions, such as believing in fate or reincarnations. There's nothing in the statement about censorship or banning.

    Chinese TV have always been quite dry for me, since a lot of it are historical drama that talk about revolutionary heroes, but my Chinese friends love them, maybe growing up in China helps.

  • What's really interesting for me, is the Communists' ever tightening grip over their own people and their growing paranoia. They have massive problems and massive internal contradictions, and rather than doing what the rest of the (non-dysfunctional) world does, and let people air their grievances and have their say, they're bottling up the rage and discontent.

    I would liken it to a broken pressure cooker left on a stove. Democracy, and freedom of speech and assembly are like the pressure-release valve. I

  • So, will they have Time Cops [imdb.com]?
  • The Pertwee Doctor was proudly spoke Chinese in a couple of episodes.

  • I wonder if this includes storing logs. With logs you can go back in time and figure out when events happened.

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