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 (SARFT) on 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 JayneStars.com.
How do you feel about this article?
Tong Hua Fed Up with Yu Zheng’s Plagiarism