Tong Hua Fed Up with Yu Zheng’s Plagiarism

Producer-screenwriter Yu Zheng (于正) is lambasted again for plagiarism, and this time, it is by one of China’s most popular contemporary novelists, Tong Hua (桐华). Tong Hua did not directly point Yu Zheng out by name, but in her series of Weibo posts uploaded this week, it is easy to see that her accusations were directed at the Palace <宫> producer.

On June 2, Tong Hua revealed that she was working on her third television project titled Destined to Like You <偏偏喜欢你>, a hot-blooded youth drama that takes place in a military academy during the early Republic era of China. Changing her normal routine of keeping her upcoming projects hush-hush, Tong Hua revealed a long synopsis of the series as well as a lengthy description of the main characters. She also shared the concept art of two manga characters wearing military outfits.

The following day, Yu Zheng updated his Weibo with a similar image of a manga character wearing a military uniform, and wrote, “Yu Zheng Studios, Sunshine, Chen Xiao (陈晓) and hot-blooded military academy in the Republic era. Interested?”

A few minutes later, Tong Hua immediately took to her Weibo to rant about the producer. She clarified that her reasons for revealing her new series so soon in development was because she heard that “a producer who’s good with packaging” was planning to make a similar military academy series. She said that this producer went as far as discarding the current series he had been working in order to get his new military academy series ready for filming by September 2014.

This scenario is very similar to what happened in 2010, when Tong Hua’s debut novel Bu Bu Jing Xin <步步惊心> was announced to be in development. Soon afterwards, Yu Zheng went to produce a similar time-traveling Qing dynasty drama Palace <宮>. The drama aired a few months before the official premiere for the television adaptation of Bu Bu Jing Xin in late 2011.

After Tong Hua’s accusation, Yu Zheng Studio’s new screenwriter, known as “Sunshine” on Weibo, immediately posted a response, writing that she has been working on the new Yu Zheng project for a long time and that there is no need for her to prove anything. She then seemingly made the claim that it was Tong Hua who was plagiarizing, writing, “Originally [we] planned on releasing information when principal photography begins, but I have no choice but to speak about it today. Sometimes cutting first in line just makes it look like you just want to keep it for yourself. I’m a rookie, but I’m not good to bully.”

The post infuriated Tong Hua. In a war of words, Tong Hua went on a rampage in her Weibo soon after Sunshine made her post, ranting that suing the other party for copyright infringement is useless because they only copy 30 percent of the original work, which is not enough to legally bring charges. She added that she has always been aware of the plagiarism of her work in the past, but she chose to ignore it because she did not want to make enemies in the industry.

Truthfully, no one is surprised at Tong Hua’s tirade. After all, Yu Zheng does have a track record of plagiarism. In 2010, the plot and characters of Yu Zheng’s game-changing series Schemes of a Beauty <美人心计> were found to be similar to the novel Turbulence in the Empress’ Chamber <未央沉浮>, though Yu Zheng did end up paying the original author afterwards. Some viewers also found that certain scenes of Schemes of a Beauty were copied from TVB’s Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄> and Beyond the Realm of Conscience <宮心計>, both which aired in 2009.

In 2012, Yu Zheng’s Beauty Without Tears <美人无泪> was accused for copying The Legend of Zhen Huan <后宫甄嬛传>, which aired in 2011. In April of this year, Princess Pearl <還珠格格> creator Chiung Yao (瓊瑤) published an open letter to the State Administration of Press, Publication Radio, Film and Television (SARFTon her Weibo, in which she claimed the storyline of Yu Zheng’s Palace 3: The Lost Daughter <宫锁连城> was almost an exact copy of her 1993 television drama series, Plum Blossom Scar <梅花烙>. Chiung wrote that she was working on a television remake for Plum Blossom Scar, set to be aired in 2015, but she had to halt production due to its similarities with Palace 3, which has already ended its original broadcast on Hunan TV last month.

Many industry insiders replied to Tong Hua’s original post, expressing their support. In her latest rant, Tong Hua said that if the other party continues to accuse her of copying then she will take the matter to court.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Yu Zheng and his crew should go to hell. I’m certainly 100% supporting Tong Hua, my favorite writer of all times.

  2. don’t watch chinese dramas that often. but 宫 1 definately copied meteor shower. how the guy is madly in love w/ the girl, waiting for her in the rain and got sick and spend the night together alone in a locked room etc.

    1. I’m sorry, but If your “meteor shower” meant “meteor garden”, then I strongly disagree with you. The scenes you claimed above have been used over and over again through out the decade. Gong 1 wasn’t the only series to reuse those ideas. Furthermore, I didn’t really noticed any similarities between those two series even though I’m a huge fan of Meteor Garden myself.

      1. don’t know if it been used in other series. i’ve only seen it in gong and meteor garden. the similarity is appalling, it was pretty straight copy from meteor to gong.

      1. I thought the Chinese gov’t don’t allow time traveling drama like the palace?

  3. Wow, that’s pretty thick skin for someone working in the creative industry.

  4. Surely if he keeps copy 30% of every of her novels/work, it should be good enough case to be sue >_> also, if he copy 30% from A, 20% from B, 30% from C, he still should be charged with copyright infringement, because that’s how plagiarism determined in the university/academic wise. I say they should team up, or the Chinese gov needs to change the law as this is getting a bit ridiculous.

    1. I agree. They should gang up and sue him. 30+20+30= 80

  5. This guy should be fired and banned from producing dramas ever again. I really dislike his pompous attitude that rests on others’ laurel. He hasnt done anything credible except copying drama plots word for Word. What a despicable person.

  6. I agree with Tong Hua to give Yu Zhang a lemon. His plagiarism has became his style in all recent works. Although I think Gong 3 is not bad but it has too many similarities to other series or novels, not only the Plum novel of Qiong Yao.

    “Yu Zheng Studios, Sunshine, Chen Xiao (陈晓) and hot-blooded military academy in the Republic era. Interested?”
    Sorry Yu Zheng, no. Your Chen Xjao as hot-blooded boy is out of my list.

  7. I hope he will get in big trouble for copying other people’s work. He looks wicked in that picture.

  8. this guy is disgusting. i cant believe he is sitll in producing crap. other writers need to gather and do something about this piece of ****. cant believe he is still lying

  9. He’ll get away with it as usual. I just wonder if it will affect Yun Zhong Ge.

  10. Can copycat Yu Zheng cast another lead instead of Chen Xiao again and again? China has a lot of young fresh actor to be picked, why Chen Xiao all the time?

  11. Dear SARFT,
    Can you please ban this copycat

    1. I don’t normal attack people on their looks but this time, I have to agree. That is a bad picture/ pose. Or is this how he really looks like?

    2. What does this have to do with looks? Honestly, I hate it that he copies and all since I am sure that he is able to create his own works and stuff. But just because he copies, does that give others the right to criticize his looks? I was really wondering, what if he was handsome and good looking? Would people be more lenient on his plagiarism charges? It is sad that what a shallow world we all live in.

      1. HeTieShou:

        For me even if he super handsome it won’t make a different because what he’s doing is WRONG. I said he looks wicked not because he is not handsome, but because his stare made me feel that he is not a nice person.

      2. This was a bad pose. I’m a pretty hardcore fan of Tong Hua and Chiung Yao. Even if yu zheng was the most handsome man on earth, what he did was wrong. Yes it is a shallow world that we live in.

  12. It is sad how a script writer and all who should be capable of creating and writing his own work has to copy others all the time. He is clearly degrading himself or us just plain lazy.

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