Chinese drama criticized over gender discrimination and women's rights

By Chen Xi Published: 2020/4/21 4:39:25

Photo: Screenshot of Chinese drama If There Is no Tomorrow

A Chinese drama has become the center of heated discussions on social media for gender discrimination and disrespecting women's rights.

If There Is no Tomorrow, tells the funny and absurd story of a cowish man who accidentally becomes a national hero after he is misdiagnosed with cancer. 

The first 10 episodes have earned an 8.5/10 on China's review site for its interesting story and plot. However, it fell to 7.24 when the final episode involved an actress who is kidnapped and later pleads with her abductors, "Please let me go. I am a woman from a vulnerable group." 

One of the kidnappers holds a gun and says, "Come on, gender is equality. You guys call for feminism every day, and now I give you the right."

The dialogue stirred controversy among Chinese netizens, with many females criticizing the dialogue for discriminating against women. The hashtag #Ifthereisnotomorrow'sline has earned 220 million views on Weibo on Monday.

"This drama stigmatizes feminist rights and confused the concept with gender equality. How does the drama explain to those women who really need feminist rights? It seems the director stands at the commanding heights of the men and does not understand the difficulty Chinese women experience," said a Chinese netizen on Weibo.

Some netizens think boycott behavior by giving it a "1" on is an overreaction, and should not place the topic on such a high moral level. 

"Character lines should be analyzed in the specific context of film and television dramas, and criticizing the lines alone without combining the plot is disrespect for artistic creation," Shi Wenxue, a film critic in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

Shi said recent news reports on the Nth Room chatroom sex abuse case in South Korea, a scandal in which a 48-year-old senior executive of a listed company was accused of raping his teenage "adopted daughter,", and the death of a Peking University student who suffered psychological abuse from her boyfriend, has stoked feminist rights and protection discussions among Chinese netizens.

Shi suggested the producers should think twice about the dialogue that touches on sensitive issues. If it does not establish a point of view, it would be better to use metaphors, which would provide audiences with more room to think.  

"Such abrupt use of words will inevitably lead to criticism," he said.

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