TV and film cultural communication between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan should not be hindered
Published: Jul 22, 2020 11:03 PM Updated: Jul 22, 2020 12:03 PM

Promotional material for Story of Yanxi Palace Photo: IC

The communication commission of the island of Taiwan has published a draft law aimed at blocking major Chinese mainland video platforms such as iQIYI to stop local residents from having access to the culture conveyed in these TV shows on these platforms. 

This is a narrow-minded move as politics should not hinder cultural communication between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

The draft plans to block these video platforms through means such as penalizing telecom operators that provide services, according to a report from the China News Service on Tuesday.

The report said that the commission had already asked the island's five major cable TV operators to terminate their cooperation with video platforms such as iQIYI and Tencent.

Four years ago, iQIYI expanded its platform to the Taiwan market. In 2019, the number of visits to the platform exceeded 1.7 billion. Meanwhile, three of the top five dramas on Google's 2019 drama search list were available on the platform. 

Many film and television works from the Chinese mainland have gone viral in Taiwan. Even some officials, including regional “leader” Tsai Ing-wen, mentioned their interest in these TV dramas. Tsai has said she likes watching palace dramas such as Story of Yanxi Palace before going to bed.

High-quality film and television works are a good channel for Taiwan residents to understand what is popular in the Chinese mainland while being entertained at the same time.

These works act as a bridge for communication between the two places’ residents, but they have been painted with political colors and considered as a kind of political tool by some politicians in Taiwan.

Many high-quality TV dramas produced by Taiwan teams have been introduced to the Chinese mainland, which is supported and encouraged to promote cultural communication.

In February 2018, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council lifted the restrictions on Taiwan films entering the Chinese mainland and announced there would be no restriction for Taiwan residents who participate in the production of TV shows in the Chinese mainland, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

Hit TV series like Someday or One Day and The World Between Us from the island of Taiwan swept social media in the mainland and got rave reviews from audiences and critics.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic as well as a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, praised Someday or One Day for its high quality and told the Global Times that it was a TV work wrapped by love, reasoning and other elements that can really reflect social issues, as is The World Between Us.

“I have watched many classic TV dramas produced in Taiwan since childhood and have come to learn about the daily lives of Taiwan residents through these dramas,” a fan of Taiwan TV shows in the mainland surnamed Wan told the Global Times. 
“I hope Taiwan residents also have chance to know our life.”

The popularity of films and TV shows from the Chinese mainland in Taiwan demonstrates that local audiences are interested in related content and are attracted by these entertainment works, which should not been hindered for political purposes or else it will be opposed by the public.

Ye Qingyuan, a lawyer from Taiwan, is one such opponent. Ye has criticized the draft ban, saying it is an action that will see no reward.