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Chinese concubine TV dramas spark real-life political intrigue

Baidu's 'Story of Yanxi Palace' yanked off air but remains on streaming service

"Story of Yanxi Palace," a TV series set in 18th century Beijing, has managed to spark a modern-day political intrigue. (Screen grab from iQiyi)

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities have pressured TV stations to stop airing at least two wildly popular period dramas that were produced by Baidu's and Tencent Holdings' streaming services. But the effort has observers scratching their heads. Is government censorship increasing? And why pull the shows off the air when they remain on the streaming platforms?

The hubbub over "Story of Yanxi Palace" and "Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace" began after the Beijing Daily, an official mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party, in late January used its Weibo account to criticize the dramas. Weibo is China's Twitter.

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