Beijing: Two schoolgirls in an eastern China province drowned themselves in a pool hoping to travel back to the medieval times of the Qin dynasty, apparently influenced by a TV show on time travel.

The two girls -- Xiao Mei and Xiao Hua – were fifth-graders at a primary school in Fujian province, and left notes saying they were committing suicide to travel back to ancient times.

The incident that happened last Thursday is being seen as an indication of the popular time-travel series' impact on young and gullible children.

Xiao Hua wrote in her note that her older sister must take care of their parents after she leaves.

Xiao Mei wrote that Xiao Hua was killing herself because she was afraid of being scolded for losing the remote control and that they decided to die together because they were the best friends.

Xiao Mei also wrote about two of her dreams in her letter. She planned to travel back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to make a film of an emperor; and she wanted to visit outer space.

"Schoolchildren are rich in curiosity but poor in judgement, so this kind of tragedy happens in every era," state-run China Daily quoted Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of China Youth and Children Research Centre as saying.

"I have heard of children jumping from high buildings after watching an actor flying in a magic show. This kind of imitative behaviour is in the nature of young children, but it's very dangerous. So we should give some sort of warning for children on TV programmes," Sun said.

The time-travel series has become very popular in recent years on TV. Typically, the stories are about modern people accidentally travelling to the past and falling in love with a royal family member.

According to a media report in February, a 19-year-old Liaoning province woman, Xiao Dan told police she had paid 1,800 yuan (USD 285) to an Internet friend who claimed she could help her travel to the ancient past but disappeared after receiving the money.

Because of several stories along these lines emerging, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television banned prime time 7 to 9 pm broadcasts of this kind of TV series at the beginning of this year.

(Agencies)