Chinese BL Dramas to Be Halted?

To put it simply, the 2019 Chinese television drama series The Untamed <陈情令> changed the landscape of the Chinese TV industry. Due to China’s strict stance against LGBT, television dramas with stories that even hint at a possible romance between two males would never make past the censors, but The Untamed—which is based on a BL novel—managed to come out on top despite the setbacks.

Obviously, to bypass censors, an explicit romantic relationship between the two leads was never shown on screen, but there was definitely enough sexual tension between the two to keep fans satisfied. The amount of queer baiting on the show has given the Chinese TV industry a new standard to achieve.

Because of The Untamed, a string of dramas based on BL novels is being produced, making 2021 “the year of Danmei.” Upcoming series include Immorality <皓衣行> starring Arthur Chen (陈飞宇) and Luo Yunxi (罗云熙), Chasing the Light <左肩有你> starring Fan Chengcheng (范丞丞) and Wang Anyu (王安宇), and A Tale of the Wanderers <天涯客> starring Zhang Zhehan (张哲瀚) and Gong Jun (龚俊). Some sources say many high profile actors are also interested in starring as BL dramas, as they usually guarantee success.

But according to an online rumor, filming for BL dramas were halted due to reasons not announced. Chinese netizens are divided over this rumor, with some actually supporting it.

“It’s sickening to see two straight guys pretending to be in love with each other anyways,” said one netizen, referring to the fan service that many male leads would also provide for their fans.

But there are an equal amount of netizens who have expressed their disappointment in the rumor, should it be true. One stated, “There’s nothing to be happy about. Not producing it is one thing. Not allowing it to be produced is an entire thing altogether. If we get unlucky the next thing could be that they won’t allow those novels at all.”


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Sigh..I saw this coming after China banned broadcasters from airing period dramas. Just hope China won’t ban people writing BL online.Tsk..I’m still hoping there would be a Winter Begonia part 2…

    1. @snoopy

      “Just hope China won’t ban people writing BL online.”
      Me too. Let writers have some freedom. Some BL really are very good in quality.

      1. @kidd Btw, the TV version of Winter Begonia and the novel version are quite different. I watched the drama first before I read the translated novel online (the translation was just passable). I was astonished on how they tweak and turned the explicit novel in order to pass the China censorship into a bittersweet bromance drama. I believe the TV version is so amazing mainly because the author was invited in the process of writing the script. Without the author’s input, I can’t help but think the characters would appeared one-dimensional. If China really ban BL writing, then its really unfortunate for the us (the viewers) and the whole TV industry.

      2. @snoopy

        Yes, for a good novel adaptation, the author’s input is a great plus.

        I heard ‘Legend of Fei’ is a disappointment to many people and one of the reason is the illogical script. Maybe if the author is involved it won’t turn out like this. I personally have not watched beyond episode 2. But, I’ve recorded it and plan to watch it soon. I hope I won’t be disappointed as well. The first 2 episodes are ok for me.

    2. @snoopy period dramas were not banned, but put on hold for 3 months. The majority of dramas in production and still being shown are period dramas.

      1. @msxie0714 My bad. It should be “palace drama involving rivalry between the queen and concubines” instead of period drama.
        Before that, time-traveling dramas are banned in China too.

  2. I hope it is not true. China broadcasting has made enough unreasonable banning already. If China keep doing that there would be no more variety Chinese production.

    I don’t like the forced inclusivity in hollywood productions nowadays (everything need to have some LGBT representation), but, China going the other extreme is also not right. There should not be only one type of love relationship.

    Even if China disallow BL (which really is more herosexual women fantasy than a true representation of gay relationship), I hope it can allow quality production that depict true LGBT relationship. Minorities are still human. They deserve to be seen and heard and have their story told, not push into the dark and be seen as deviant and something bad.

  3. Why is my first comment not shown? I’ve checked. I didn’t use any bad or controversial words. 🙁

    1. @kidd Your comment was in moderation because of the word “sexual” which raised a red flag in our system, but it is approved now.

  4. They would be stupid if they banned it. If China cares about “soft power” or w/e then BL is the way to go LOL. If anyone has lurked twitter you’ll see screaming fangirls how The Untamed / MDZS really boosted interest in Chinese culture worldwide.

    1. @karina Just found out that banning BL dramas is a proposal made by the washed-up screenwriter Wang Hailin who revived his fame by his daily bashing of Xiao Zhan and Untamed. What’s super hypocritical is his involvement in the 227 alliance cyberbully campaign against Xiao Zhan in the name of fighting for creative freedom!

      1. @msxie0714

        “Just found out that banning BL dramas is a proposal made by the washed-up screenwriter Wang Hailin who revived his fame by his daily bashing of Xiao Zhan and Untamed.”

        This kind of people are the worst. Kicking people when they are down for his own gain. Seems like this guy likes to take away people’s rice bowl to keep himself in the limelight. In other countries, we can view him as joke. But, in China, I really scared those censorship board people will take him seriously. This is not the first time that China Censorship department banned something because of one person’s opinion.

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