7th century cleavage: Too controversial for Chinese TV

A historical drama was pulled from Chinese TV because the female characters showed too much cleavage, state media has suggested.

The Empress of China, thought to be the most expensive Chinese TV show ever, disappeared from commercial channel Hunan TV in December apparently due to "technical reasons".

But when the show returned in the new year, only the actresses' heads were visible in close-up shots, and not their bodies.

"Many viewers speculated the suspension was a punishment given by the country's television regulators for the much-discussed revealing costumes of female characters on the show," Xinhua said, according to Reuters.

Fans of the show, which stars Fan Bingbing in the eponymous role of Wu Zetian, ridiculed the apparent censorship on Weibo, China's equivalent to tWitter.

"Can revealing cleavage really be considered pornographic?" wrote one person. "Isn't this feudalism?"

Another Weibo user, according to the New York Times, wrote: "I really had no idea that 21st-century people could be this conservative. They're not even as open-minded as people from the Tang dynasty one millennium ago."

Recently China's broadcasting regulator has cracked down on a range of topics, including not just adultery but also wordplay and time travel, the latter because it apparently lacks positive thoughts and meaning.

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