Qing dynasty drama, The Story of Yanxi Palace, shows how soft power can help China at home and abroad
I am writing in response to the article (“Taiwanese, mainland Chinese are ‘one family’, and television drama show proves it, official says”, September 27) which sheds light on the popularity of the period drama The Story of Yanxi Palace, co-produced by iQiyi and Huanyu Film. The series, which has gained popularity not just in mainland China but also in Taiwan and Hong Kong, garnered over 15 billion views by its finale on August 27.
Set in the 18th century, The Story of Yanxi Palace details the schemes of the concubines of the Qianlong Emperor. Focusing on the lives of the women in the Forbidden City and featuring fabulous costumes, the series was particularly attractive to a female audience. It provoked online and offline discussions and prompted many viewers in the region to research the history of the Qing dynasty.
The popularity of the series highlights the importance of soft power. Popular entertainment such as television dramas, music and novels give people an opportunity to encounter the nation in an interesting way. It may prompt people from other places to want to know more about Chinese history and culture.
The Story of Yanxi Palace shows that soft power could be an effective way for China to build positive relations with other countries in addition to strengthening ties within the nation.
Maggie Chan, Kwai Chung