BEIJING - Chinese period drama Who Rules The World has been hit with allegations of plagiarism and animal abuse, with netizens calling for it to be cancelled.
The 40-episode series, which is currently in the Top 10 chart in Singapore on Netflix, has been a hit since it started airing on April 18.
However, netizens in China have pointed out that there are plot similarities between Who Rules The World and another period drama, Royal Nirvana (2019).
Both series feature a prince caught up in palace politics who is not favoured by his father. There is also a plot involving fraud during an examination in both shows, as well as similar lines of dialogue.
Who Rules The World stars Yang Yang and Zhao Lusi, while Royal Nirvana's lead actors are Luo Jin and Li Yitong.
Both series are based on novels but it is the scriptwriter, not the author, of Who Rules The World, who is accused of plagiarism.
On Monday (May 2), the author of Who Rules The World, Qing Lingyue, posted on Weibo, writing: "I did not participate in the production of the drama series and have yet to watch it. I do not know the truth of the matter but I can guarantee that the novel was not plagiarised."
Qing also said that the novel was written in 2004 and in the 18 years since then, no one had mentioned it was a plagiarised work.
In addition, the show's producers have also been accused of animal abuse.
In one of the recent episodes, a galloping horse is seen plunging headfirst to the ground and breaking its fall by twisting its neck at an unnatural angle.
However, stunt horse trainers of the show have refuted the accusations by trotting out the horse, named Ferrari, and showing that it was alive and well in a video clip.
Even though they claimed there was a thick layer of sand to protect the horse during the fall and it had undergone months of special training, netizens remained sceptical that the horse was unharmed during filming.