High Profile C-drama The Empress of China Gets Pulled Mid-airing to Scrub Excessive Cleavage Shots

The heavy hand of China’s SARFT strikes again in what is being called the equivalent of Cleavage-gate in the C-interwebs. It was an entertaining week of media speculation when the currently airing popular star-studded period C-drama The Empress of China (武媚娘傳奇 The Legend of Seductress Wu) abruptly got yanked off the air mid-airing. The weak explanation was that the network had run out of its period drama episode allocation for the year, but the real reason that had everyone buzzing was the copious amounts of non-historically accurate cleavage on display in the drama from the female-heavy cast.

The drama is set in the Tang dynasty chronicling the life of Chinese Empress Wu Ze Tian, but the ladies led by female lead Fan Bing Bing have been sporting one luxuriously embroidered low cut outfit after another, incurring the ire of SARFT censors because apparently busty female cleavage must be stopped. Or something like that. After a week off air, the drama returned to the airwaves on January 1st and everyone went batshit because suddenly all the female leads are shown onscreen only from the neck up. I’m not joking, half body to full body shots have become giant head only shots in supremely awkward ways. I just can’t, why so much hullabaloo for some mammaries SARFT? Check out the drama pics and decide if this is too racy for TV.


High Profile C-drama The Empress of China Gets Pulled Mid-airing to Scrub Excessive Cleavage Shots — 43 Comments

  1. Let’s hope the Chinese censors are not against bare male chests as well. Otherwise, a lot of kdrama fans may be in for a world of disappointment in the coming years!

    • i think blurry is better than only shoot their neck, in my country they’ll use blurry. esp for hollywood movie which showing many sexy lady

  2. LOL. I don’t suppose they can keep the full or half length shots and just blur out the cleavages can they? 🙂

    Which begs the question about how historically accurate these costumes are. Were the women who wore them centuries ago really that top heavy? If so, to hell with it and show those cleavages, at least they’re historically accurate! LOL.

    • The fashions I would believe are accurate as Tang dynasty gowns from other shows I watched are more low cut and show the decolletage.

      But the cleavage….let’s just say that this is the first Tang dynasty period show I saw that makes use of the fact that ladies’ dressing are more low cut then.

  3. The question is, why the producers did that if they knew the censors will stop/alter the drama? It not necessary to ruin their beautiful work over some cleavages?

    • the problem isnt with the production team. They already got approval from SARFT to air this drama, which means that SARFT already watched it before the drama got on the air. So the real question is why didnt SARFT have problem with the cleavages when they first watch it, why now?

      • That’s very easy answer: some high ranked party leader, presumably of some age, caught a glimpse of the show. Morality has to win over the depraved western ways….

  4. So women have cleavage. I don’t think there’s any problem with showing that fact. If they were totally bared, then I’ll see the problem but personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the full shots above. I understand that China is more conservative but unless they put the women in potato sacks, they can’t really hide the female curves.

  5. While I don’t think there is anything indecent about those costumes per se, if *every single shot* of a woman that isn’t a close-up of a face had to be altered due to showing cleavage… that does suggest the production was going overboard with the female objectification. Especially if the costumes are not historically accurate and they changed them to make them more sexy. That being said, forcing them to crop the shots like that is ridiculous and doesn’t achieve anything.

    • I think I agree with you. I have yet to see an American show with women showing their cleavage in a forceful manner (the use of the wonder bra). Anyhow, the show should be of substance (acting/script). Showing cleavage feels like a cheap way of getting the high ratings

  6. As much as those costumes are definitely aiming to titillate this does seem a bit of an overreaction. I also can’t believe they didn’t modify the outfits, but instead decided on those type of close up shots?

    • Ditto. Gong Li was sporting the same outfits and everything in COTGF.
      But the crop screen captures are too funny. Really China? It’s not like
      we are going to see more cleavage, several episodes have aired already.
      Just tell the costume designer to alter the dresses and that solution would have been much better.

  7. Well, it’s China….I am surprised they got this far…there will be probably other consequences for the crew involved…as well as for the censors that let it “slip” in the first place….TV ratings and party’s rules don’t always walk on the same road..

  8. Well, I suppose this female lead’s character will not compare to “The Virtuous Queen of Han”. The outfits (are beautiful) seem more from England’s Victorian era…..

  9. There is a lot of cleavage for a Chinese production and it looks deliberate. If the producers made it deliberate in conservative China then I will have really little sympathy. I am Asian and even I think wow, they had such low cut gowns previously? I can understand it if it was undergarments but these are not undergarments.


  10. I think is funny considering the shit that happens in that country. Very hipocritical on their part! Ugh
    I find that people that are morals advocates tend to be caught in some serious nasty shit!

  11. Well I understand their view but the way they are dealing with it is silly. I don’t think showing this much cleavage should be an issue, but I do get it when people get pissed off at it from a historical point of view. My view is, if you’re not going to be historically accurate, make it present day or make it a fantasy. Although at this point that opinion doesn’t matter because nowadays the number of accurate historical dramas (as accurate as they can be that is) is very few compared to the ones that are closer to fantasy while still trying to represent historical figures. I guess my point has really nothing to do with whether the show cleavage or not, its more my view on historical dramas overall worldwide 😛

  12. I think some of the shots were a little ridiculous- boobs shouldn’t be aimed at necks, when you push them that high up it looks silly and can be painful. However the censors are clearly overreacting.

  13. Remember Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth? There was boobs and cleavage galore and it was historical but at least it was accurate.

  14. I miss TVB series in the era of Yi thian tu long ji with Kitty Lai and Tony Leung, ROCH with Andy Lau and Idy Chan. HSDS with Kitty Lai and Tony Leung is my favorite series all the time and the costumes were so classic.

  15. To be honest the boob-attack looks almost as ridiculous as the edited shots. I am not a prude, there was a lot of boob-showing throughout European history and I am totally fine with seing cleavage in period dramas/movies from that geographic region. But in ancient China? Looks like some chinese-inspired porn to be honest.

  16. I’m an open-minded person but i agree with the chinese censorship this time. The outfits are beautiful with embroidery and colors. However the low cut doesn’t seem fit the status of an empress. It’s very adultery look and it an insults to the female at that century. Creativity are welcome but at least pay some respects to the 1000 years historical figures. Looking at the neighbouring historical outfit, the kimono or hanbook doesn’t have revealing or low cut outfits for female. I’m sure this low cut chest outfits is a creation.

  17. It may not be historically correct but to do this is just ridiculous. The dresses are beautiful and the cleavage is really minimal. They should just change the costumes going forward, not cut all the bodies out of the shots. Have they even looked at what these same women wear to awards ceremonies?

  18. Is this a chinese drama or a Jane Austin novel based drama starring chinese actresses? Those outfits belong in sense and sensibility.

  19. I just… can’t… with boobgate.. SMH!! This is really ridiculous. I was interested in watching this drama but this just kills it for me. I wouldn’t have even noticed the abundance of boobage. Guess I am an not that affected by a mere showing of a boob. We see a lot more in American television and movies.

  20. Personally, I won’t think too much about those boobs if this is a modern drama, but for a chinese historical one… yeah,they are pushing it to the limit.
    And SARFT have always been strict, shouldn’t the production team know it to not take this type of risk?

  21. Actually I happened to watch other dramas about Wu Ze Tian in the past, and I was surprised because the clothes were pretty low cut there too, and I was told that it was the fashion of the time to sport the empire waist and more revealing gowns.

  22. Watched half a dozen eps from before the reverse-beheading and honestly it didn’t have much going for it save for the aforementioned Curse of the Golden Cleavage. Decent cinematography and Zhang Fengyi at least half assing aside.

    Buuuuuuut if you really must watch, it’ll air on Korean TV sometime later this year and rips will pop up on webhards, so that’s that.

  23. A thing called SARFT to be existing in the first place is ridiculous. Censure and art don’t mix. I hope Chinese people get rid of this government of a dictatorship that’s been running the country for years. Let the people breath!

  24. I’ve been watching this show daily and I miss the boobs. The current episodes are weak as key scenes are edited and it just seems choppy. It’s been awkward to see just the close up shots and the long angle shots. Lame. Bring back the boobs!

  25. Non historically accurate? The Tang Dynasty was a time where style and fashion challenged the norms. Furthermore, the higher the status, the lower the necklines. If you do a quick google search, you will realise that the costumes worn in the drama were actually quite accurate.

  26. The outfits in this show are incredibly historically accurate. In the Tang Dynasty, China’s international contact and reputation grew exponentially. Tang fashion was influenced by and influenced countries around the world. The low necklines in the show are very representative of this time, as the Tang Dynasty showed a release from traditional Confucian regulated fashion with necklines dipping lower and lower; especially for the upper classes. The higher your rank, the lower your neckline was allowed to be. Considering this show is set in the palace, with the highest ranking females in the country and very few men to see them, there is no doubt that their necklines would have been very daring.
    The only slight point I would point out is in the first episode where the new girls bare their shoulder completely. This would have been unacceptable then; however, as it is merely their introduction into the palace, and they are being sized up and measured and pretty much subjected to being examined like cattle, this could be plausible.

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