Sex and the (Forbidden) City: How “Yanxi Palace” Becomes Smash Hit in the #MeToo Era

A Still from The Story of Yanxi Palace

The Yanxi Palace was originally constructed in the year of 1420 in the Forbidden City, during the Ming Dynasty. From the Ming to the end of the Qing Dynasty, many forgotten concubines lived and died there. Shortly thereafter, a Chinese plane dropped a bomb on the Palace, dooming the residence to oblivion.

Yet now Yanxi Palace is on the lips of millions of Chinese across the country and the site where it once stood has become the most popular area to visit in the Forbidden City. It’s all because of The Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略), a 70 hour-long episodic drama set during Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1711-1799). The final episode was released this past weekend on iQIYI, the so-called “Netflix of China”, and the show has broken a world record for garnering more than 500 million views in a single day (on August 12).

In total, it’s topped 10 billion views and iQIYI has inked deals to sell the drama to 70 countries worldwide. Read the full story on RADII.

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