The wildly popular historical drama, The Empress of China, returned to TV on  New Year's Day in China, but it was obvious that something was amiss. We previously reported that the show was banned in China for being too sexy. The "ban" was officially announced as a "temporary pause due to technical difficulties."

After a flurry of speculation when the show was paused, fans of the show sighed with relief to find The Empress of China resume on New Year's Day, but it was soon discovered that all the scenes that would have shown cleavage became close-up head shots. The beautiful court ladies became "talking heads." 

The cleavage cut didn't just affect the new episodes, it extended to all the previous 17 episodes. Chinese viewers aren't just disappointed; they are angry. Some are posting satirical comments online; some are pointing to history being altered by the present prudish standard.

Leading actress and show producer, Fan Bingbing, posted on her weibo account with this comment, "Don't lower your head! The crown will drop! Don't cry! Bad people will laugh!"

It's obviously now that during the four days where people should have been celebrating for the coming new year, some hard-working technicians worked to edit the show to suit the authorities' new standard for Tang Dynasty's female clothing. Tang Dynasty was one of the greatest dynasties in ancient China. The Silk Road linked the East and the West during Tang. Women were known to have strong rights and freedom in a society praised as open-minded and liberal as compared to other ancient times. Women did not have bound feet, which arrived in a later dynasty. And, of course, ladies were known to wear revealing attire. The central figure portrayed in The Empress Of China, Wu Zetian, was actually the only female Emperor ever to rule in China after establishing her own dynasty.

It will be interesting to see if there will be a backlash against the forced editing cuts. Will Chinese citizens start stockpiling previously uncut episodes? Will there be a punishment or penalty for doing so? 

Stay tuned.

~ NancyZdramaland