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China’s ban on time travel stories oppressive

“Lost,” a television drama that aired on ABC for six seasons from 2004-2010, has been considered by television critics to be one of the most important shows to ever air on the medium, according to a May 2010 article on USA Today.

What started out as a story of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 and its passengers as they tried to survive on an island turned into one focused on science-fiction and philosophy.

The crux of the show became time travel and whether we as human beings can change the past and our subsequent future. Even after airing its final episode in May 2010, the show is still fondly remembered by its fans.

“It tapped into the imagination of a culture, in terms of people watching it, talking about it, going beyond a strict television experience,” ABC Entertainment Group president Stephen McPherson said in the USA Today article.

Sadly, residents of China might not ever get to view the program. According to a article, the country began a crackdown on what types of programs can air on television and in films. The article stated new guidelines issued in March by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television in China said programs containing elements of “fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking” should not air on Chinese television.

Aside from the obvious oppression of freedom of speech and ability to express oneself for the citizens of China, the decision by the Chinese government is disappointing on a cultural level.

The country, while still under a communist regime, has made inroads in economic freedom with its trend toward capitalism and has become the second-largest economy in the world, according to a blog post on the Harvard Business Review. It’s not like China is completely closed to traditional Western ideals. So what’s the point of stifling creativity? By limiting what writers can use for plot material, the country is potentially hindering its economic future in the entertainment market.

Movies like “Back to the Future,” the first two “Terminator” movies, “Donnie Darko” and “12 Monkeys” showcase the best of what cinema can offer to the public.

I mean, is watching Arnold Schwarzenegger slowly melt away in a pool of lava as he gives John Connor a thumbs-up in sign in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” really going to be the spark that causes revolt against the Chinese government? It’s highly doubtful.

Come on, China. Let your people enjoy the freedom to watch movies about time travel. It’s not going to result in the country losing its authoritarian hold on the people. If anything, its China’s further repressing the their own citizens’ freedoms that will be the catalyst for true freedom.

Patrick Burns is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Plano.

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