After a heated public debate, a Chinese hit movie titled “Return to Dust” was withdrawn from Internet broadcasting on September 26. 

According to RFA, this endeavor did not cost much, only about 2 million yuan, nearly $280,000. However, the effect was great and the reviews show people loved and appreciated the movie. Tencent’s special page has a star rating of 9.5 points for this film. Besides, the box office also got an amazing record-breaking 100 million yuan, almost $14 million.

But why did the regime care about it?

The content of the movie revolves around the life of the two main characters, Ma Laosi , and Cao Guiying , in the northwestern countryside, Gansu. They have supported each other to overcome life’s storms and society’s injustices together. They are people with good qualities and honest lives, but their story has a rather sad ending.

The script of “Return to Dust” seems very straightforward, but the authorities objected. 

On September 9, Zheng Yanshi , a senior researcher at Kunlun Policy Research Institute, a Chinese think tank, released an 8 point analysis. He denounced that the movie had an ulterior motive ahead of the party’s national congress. He even said it was a bad movie that passed the censorship just by chance.

Wang Ruiqin , a former member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Qinghai province, also explained to RFA why Chinese officials reacted strongly to this film.
She pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party currently dominates ideology and does not accept real social reflections. They only allow the government to be praised. The content of this film deals with various social problems, such as being unmarried, physical disability, food debt, demolition of old houses, among others. It honestly reflects the living conditions of peasants in China’s impoverished regions, which upset many officials.

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