When something is too popular it’s bound to get backlash in still communist ideology controlled Mainland China, bucking up against tighter controls over social and policy restrictions. The biggest C-drama of 2018 was by far Story of Yanxi Palace, followed by another court drama Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace. The two were quite similar in central depictions of a cunning female lead plotting her calculated rise to power in Qing dynasty court. Yanxi topped all buzz rankings for months on end and both dramas continue to be replayed in Chinese television even after ending it summer 2018 airing, but not anymore.
All court dramas have been pulled immediately from airing on Chinese TV stations after a news article in the Communist party official paper sharply criticized Yanxi and Ruyi and the general spate of court dramas for promoting values of extravagance, glamour and pleasure seeking of past ruling classes (i.e the rich plotting to get more powerful) over frugality and hard work (i.e. physical labor of the common people). The article also called out the producers of such dramas for putting their own profits over creating content showing poor examples rather than provide a positive spiritual guidance to viewers. For the time being, court period dramas have been stamped DO NOT AIR like time-travel dramas from 5 years ago during the craze getting prohibited.