TV celebrity letters show suddenly ‘delayed’ without explanation

By Qu Qiuyan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/24 23:28:39

A popular Chinese TV show that invites celebrities to read old letters was recently removed online, triggering heated online speculation.

The second episode of Letters Alive 2, due for broadcast Tuesday on Heilongjiang TV and Tencent Video, was not released online and the first episode was also deleted, Culture Herald reported on Thursday.

Perhaps the problematic values projected in the letters caused the issue, the Beijing-based newspaper speculated.

Specific reasons for the delay were not given by the production company as of press time.

But the company replied that the program was "not suspended" but merely "delayed due to certain reasons," news portal reported on Wednesday. The first season can still be watched online.

One of the six letters in the first episode was written by a notorious rebel and traitor from Chinese history Wu Sangui: "I would not give you a second glance even if traitors dropped you in a vat of boiling oil" was the title according to a YouTube clip of the program.

The letter was written to bid farewell to his father in 1644, indicating Wu's determination to support the new Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor while his father remained loyal to the old Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor.

Online speculation was rife on Sunday.

Such a letter might exert a "negative social impact," suggested one Sina Weibo user, as it showed a positive and heroic image of a sensitive historical figure, a style that runs counter to mainstream Chinese values.

Wu's decisions and words dissed filial piety, another Sina Weibo user noted.

Others speculated the real problem might be the show's sponsors:, an intermediate platform that provides online loan information. Some Internet users said that informal lending practices broke the law.

It was important to strengthen supervision of such shows, Hu Xingdou, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology and an expert on Chinese issues, told the Global Times on Sunday.

While culture programs enjoy freedom of literary and artistic creation, the contents should not contradict mainstream societal values, according to Hu.

The first 12 episodes of Letters Alive had more than 360 million viewers, according to one of its broadcasting platform's website,, a provincial television station in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Posted in: SOCIETY,TV

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