13 Best Republican Era Chinese Dramas To Watch This Weekend

The answers will be varied if you try to poll opinions on the Chinese Republican era, but what stands true no matter who you speak to is that it was a time of great ideological propagation.

For those who aren’t familiar, the Chinese Republican era (1912 – 1949) marked the end of the Qing Dynasty and was largely characterised by foreign invasion, political fragmentation, underdevelopment, and great economic instability.

But even then, there were great intellectual and literary strides with lots of campaigns popping up here and there, all in a bid to project a unified China to the rest of the world.

Of course, the China we know today is worlds away from the fledgling new nation that strove to determine its own future, and the many Republican-era dramas on this list showcase the stories of individuals who lived and thrived in this period.

And just as it is with anyone living in any time, the characters in these dramas have lives that are intrinsically tied to their time period, and it’s just as enlightening as it is overwhelming.

I promise all these dramas are worth a watch, so even if the summary I have provided sounds a little off, be patient and give it a chance, and I know you’re going to enjoy it. 

1. Arsenal Military Academy

In early 20th century China, during the conflict with Japan, Xie Xiang disguises herself as a man to join the Chinese army. 

At an elite military academy, she befriends two recruits, Gu Yan Zheng and Shen Jun San, while trying to figure out her feelings for them. 

As they train and fight together, they face the challenges of love and war and emerge to know each other all the better. 

2. Killer and Healer

This Republican-era Chinese drama follows Jiang Yue Lou, a tough cop with bipolar disorder, and Yu Zhi, a compassionate doctor. 

Even though they have different professions and values, they become close friends while dealing with personal struggles.

And when they start investigating an opium case together, the secrets from their past emerge to test their bond.

Also See: 20 Must-See Chinese Dramas On Viki You Can’t Miss This Year

3. Tientsin Mystic

In the Republican era, policeman Guo De You inherits the ability to detect guilt from his master, the Old River God. 

When accused of murdering a prominent chairman, he teams up with Ding Mao, the chairman’s son, to reveal the truth. And alongside unlikely allies, they decide to investigate a twenty-year-old incident to solve the mystery haunting the river.

4. Couple of Mirrors

You Yi, a young and admired socialite and author, is betrayed by her closest friends which destroys everything she knew to be true about her life. 

Alone and desperate, she finds solace in the friendship of Yan Wei, a photographer with a hidden, dangerous identity. But as their bond deepens, she realises that she might be in way over her head.

5. Battle of Changsha

Battle of Changsha follows the Hu family, especially 16-year-old Hu Xiang Xiang and her twin brother, Hu Xiao Man, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. 

Gu Qing Ming, a Nationalist Army Intelligence Officer, crosses paths with Xiang Xiang, and this leads to unexpected interactions even as the chaos of war unfurls all around them. 

Related: 17 Brand New Historical Chinese Dramas You Shouldn’t Miss This Year

6. The Justice

Qi Heng, vice president of the Qizhou Intermediate People’s Court, investigates the fishing boat murder case after taking office and he finds discrepancies in the survivors’ testimonies. 

Meanwhile, Luo Huai Gong’s Jiang Yun Chemical Group causes illness in nearby villagers and eventually, these seemingly unrelated cases intertwine unexpectedly.

This is yet another lovely Republican period drama you totally won’t regret watching because it’s easily one of the best ones. 

7. Arrows on the Bowstring

Set in 1940s China during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Xu Yi Hang and her siblings, skilled archers from a military family, want to take revenge on Chang De after tragedy strikes. 

Rong Shi, who is from a surrendered influential family, is labelled a traitor, and, together, they become embroiled in the resistance against Japanese control in Chang De.

8. Love In Flames of War

In the early 20th century, while the Republic of China struggled against Imperial Japan, hot-headed teen Xiao Bei Chen matures and falls in love with Lin Hang Jin. 

And even though he promised to marry her after Military College, he returned to find her promised to another. 

Determined to win her back, he faces challenges as the Second Sino-Japanese War erupts, and this forces all three to make difficult choices with far-reaching consequences in this romantic Republican-era Chinese drama. 

9. Mr & Mrs Chen

In the 1940s, former lovers Zuo Shuang Tao and Chen Jia Ping reunite while acting as spies. 

As they pursue their common goals, their love is reignited even as they try to survive the many dangers of their jobs. 

You May Also Like: Top 14 Underrated Chinese Dramas of 2023 That Need More Love

10. Unshakable Faith

Police officer Pang Hong Mei rescues patriotic scientist Ji Danyang from enemy spies and accompanies him to Lumen City for the Water Drop Project. 

Enemy special forces attempt to sabotage the project with Operation Rock, but Pang Hong Mei and Ji Dan Yang engage in a life-and-death battle to protect the project and achieve success. 

Through their trials, they realize their dreams and ideals and I’ll always recommend this Republican era Chinese drama to anyone who’s on the lookout for a Chinese drama without romance to get sucked into. 

11. Love At Second Sight

Si Ning finds herself trapped in her own script, which is set in the Republican Era, after wanting to make final edits, including removing the romantic plot due to her lack of experience with love. 

She then meets the characters who reflect her real-life acquaintances, including Xiao Mo Ya, who becomes the focus of her affection in the rewritten version of her script.

12. Autumn Cicada

In 1941, while the turmoil of war in East Asia was underway, Ye Chong, a dedicated communist and patriot, agreed to become a double agent, known as the Autumn Cicada, to infiltrate Japanese collaborators in Hong Kong. 

His perilous mission involves relaying crucial information to his communist comrades while evading capture by Japanese intelligence. 

With danger lurking at every turn, Ye Chong relies on the support of sympathetic freedom fighters, including the beautiful He Ying, to complete his mission and resist Japanese oppression.

Related: 20 Romantic Chinese Dramas With Strong Female Leads To Watch Now

13. Blossom In Heart

While searching for her missing father, Gu Hai-Ting clashes with Yue Xuan in Kunyang. She ends up working at the Lang Family’s rouge factory and is manipulated into a fake marriage with Yue Ming. 

To secure divorce papers, she promises to cure Yue Ming’s facial condition. Yue Xuan realizes his love for her, but Yue Ming’s jealousy and rivalry threaten their relationship. 

Meanwhile, the truth about Hai Tang’s father’s disappearance resurfaces, and this only adds to the challenges they already face.

These are only some of the best Republican-era Chinese dramas that I have personally watched and enjoyed, but I think anyone would also appreciate them. However, I love recommendations, so let me know in the comments section which ones I have missed.

If you’d like some more recommendations, here are some historical Chinese dramas based on real events and some more epic ones that will keep you seated all the way through.

And the related posts have even more amazing drama recommendations, so make sure you check them out before you go.

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