7 Swoon-Free Chinese Dramas Without Romance To Check Out

My very first Chinese drama was a romantic xianxia piece – specifically, Ashes of Love – and, in my opinion, the dramas that go viral are usually romantic Chinese dramas.

And, while I do love a good and super fluffy romantic C-Drama, sometimes they become a little cliché and cringey to watch, and that’s when a drama without romance comes in.

In many of these dramas, romance is either totally absent or is more like a very minimal and insignificant plotline, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there’s an audience for everything out there.

So, if you’ve been on the hunt for Chinese drama recommendations without romance to sink into this weekend, these are the very best options that will keep you hooked from start to finish. 

1. Mining Town

This drama follows villagers from Ningxia who migrate to build Mining Town from scratch. Despite harsh desert conditions, Ma Defu convinces them to stay and build. 

And then in 1996, a government initiative promotes cooperation between East and West, which helps in tampering the effects of poverty in Ningxia. 

Over time, Mining Town thrives, thanks to their perseverance and outside assistance and even though this Chinese drama doesn’t have romance, it’s inspiring and sends all the right messages. 

2. Gold Panning

In 1986, 20-year-old Chen Bao Jin searches the Altai region for his missing brother amidst the gold rush. 

But he is thrown into several dangerous situations and has to survive the intrigue of it all while discovering clues that lead to the mysterious and treacherous Sister Sea.

After a particularly harrowing journey, he discovers Well No. 7 and finally pieces together the truth about his brother’s disappearance. Through his trials, he learns that bravery and kindness are humanity’s greatest treasures.

3. The Disguiser

Ming Tai is a man from a wealthy family who is trained as a spy and then joins the Communist Party during the Sino-Japanese War. 

Together with his brother, who is also a double agent, they must keep their heads attached to their necks as they infiltrate the ranks to get success for their cause. 

More political than anything you’ve ever watched, this drama melds the dynamics of betrayal, romance, friendship, and familial ties into one and you’ll absolutely enjoy it if you’ve been looking for a drama without romance to watch. 

4. White Deer Plain

White Deer Plain, set in White Deer Village of Shaanxi Province, follows the conflict between the Bai and Lu families over land ownership even while a larger historical turmoil is underway. 

The story mirrors the fate of the Chinese people, from warlords to Japanese invaders to civil war and Maoist victory. Director Liu Jin uses this narrative as a metaphor for China’s turbulent history.

5. Like A Flowing River

This Chinese drama without romance follows three men during China’s economic reform period from 1978 to 1992. 

Song Yunhui, discriminated against due to his background wants to become a technician, but his ambition is his biggest roadblock. Meanwhile, Lei Dongbao, who comes from a poor rural family, becomes a respected village leader but his lack of education means he’s only halfway there. And there’s Yang Xun who’s trying to make a name for himself as an entrepreneur in the ever-changing economy. 

Like A Flowing River is easily one of the best slice-of-life dramas I’ve watched in a hot while and I just know anyone who gives it a chance will appreciate it, even though it doesn’t have any romance. 

6. Skynet Action

Zhao Yi Yang is the chief of the accident section in Pingyuan City Traffic Police Detachment, and he’s investigating a traffic accident that is connected to another case years earlier.

When a van accident results in the death of a family, Zhao discovers two other vehicles involved in a chase, but the case connects to an old one of Zhao’s, which could potentially jeopardise his career. 

Undeterred, he pursues new clues to solve the old case and apprehend the suspect. This is yet another must-watch Chinese drama recommendation with absolutely no romance you should totally give it a chance. 

7. The Longest Day In Chang’An

In 744 A.D. Chang’an, the Tang Empire faces threats from a vanquished Central Asian kingdom planning an attack during the Lantern Festival. 

Court infighting intensifies as the ageing Emperor prepares to announce the regency of the Right Chancellor. Intelligence chief Li Bi, an ally of the reformist Crown Prince, has 24 hours to prevent both the attack and the regency. 

He then enlists death row prisoner Zhang Xiao Jing, a war veteran and former police chief, to assist in thwarting the impending danger. This drama is adapted from the novel The Longest Day in Chang’an and it’s just as pulse-pounding as it sounds.

These are all some pretty good Chinese dramas with no romance that still deliver everything they’re supposed to deliver and I trust you’re going to enjoy each of them.

You can also watch some legal Chinese dramas if they’re your jam and I’ve created another fantastic list with the best time travel Chinese dramas that are totally worth watching.

Leave a comment below if you have any other recommendations you’d like to share and make sure you check out other posts on the blog to get more recs. 

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