China's rumble over royals

The country's disdain for Chinese period dramas may be rooted in the belief that these series draw unwarranted comparisons with today's political leaders

In a scene in Chinese drama Story Of Yanxi Palace, Emperor Qianlong chances upon an opera which depicts two women in love.

He rushes to the chambers of the Empress, who, some palace maids whisper, is uncommonly close to a concubine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'China's rumble over royals'. Print Edition | Subscribe