CNN reports that foreign cartoons will banned from Chinese TV during the “golden hours” of 5-8 pm, effective September 1.
Foreign cartoons, especially from Japan, are hugely popular with Chinese children, and the country’s own animation studios have struggled to compete with a flood of imports.
The aim, then, is two-fold: Protect China’s
lame cartoon industry from foreign competitors and also make sure that they ‘re getting stuff that’s more Chinese, more wholesome, etc. Before you get up in arms, remember that this is not the first time this has happened:
Broadcasters were told to limit use of foreign cartoons in 2000 at a time when Japanese animation dominated the market. In 2004, the government stepped up controls, saying Chinese cartoons had to account for at least 60 percent of the total shown in prime time.
Remember that this is not a ban of foreign animation per se, the regulation only pertains to the 5-8 time slot. According to this Xinmin report (in Chinese), this is so that the overall ratio of Chinese to foreign films broadcast on Chinese TV remains around 7:3. Don’t ask — we don’t know why either. Socialism is supposed to be scientific.
At the end of the Xinmin article we found these comments:
匿名 IP：210.74.244.* 认为：
无聊发 又来这一套 中日合作第一部可以在国内上映的日本动画片<银发阿基德>应该6月在影院上映的 结果现在呢 如果不想让我们的小孩接受什么所谓的”反人类”思想的话 干脆别进片子了 [ 2006-08-13 20:00:22 ] (Rough translation: here we go with this again, there was a Japanese-Chinese co-production animation that was supposed to hit the theaters in June and now what? If they don’t want us to see this kind of material they might as well stop importing films altogether.)
很不错的建议,我宁可在家看本土的动画片,也不想看别人的…因为我国的比较有”味道” [ 2006-08-13 17:39:25 ](I think this is a pretty good suggestion, I would rather watch homegrown animation films, and not watch anyone else’s … because the ones from our country have more “taste/flavor.”)
匿名 IP：61.173.65.* 认为：
如果能够多一点象<<哪咤闹海>>和<<西游记>>这样的片子就好了! [ 2006-08-13 17:22:38 ] (It would be good if there were more films like “Ne Zha Nao Hai” or “Xi You Ji.”)
匿名 IP：219.133.176.* 认为：
不明其用意为何？？？？？ [ 2006-08-13 11:13:55 ](Not sure what the purpose of this measure is?)
匿名 IP：59.86.113.* 认为：
靠这种行政手段来扶植,对国产动画片来说与拔苗助长没有什么两样! [ 2006-08-13 08:21:32 ]*(Damn, why are they transplanting these administrative measures to films, for the local animation industry, this is like pulling up the seeds to make the plants grow!)
First off, we probably can and will find better stuff trawling blogs and BBSs but it’s 2:05 in the morning, so that’ll have to wait. Nonetheless, we find the second comment, from 灵の楓, suspicious — though some people happily toe the line, for all we know. Our own feelings tend more towards the bitter, like the last commenter, who feels that using such methods to promote homegrown animation is a bit absurd.
Well, we know that many Chinese can’t get enough of American TV shows, and it’s no different with animations, where countries like Japan produce weird shit that everyone goes gaga over. Granted, kids aren’t adults and therefore don’t have the full rights that adult consumers do — parents have to set certain limits — but again, how much questionable content is there out there is, uh, questionable. Shanghaiist doesn’t watch these shows so we don’t know, but we think some kids are going to be disappointed, and that kinda breaks our hearts.
Well no, it doesn’t, but even though we don’t sing karaoke, we are not pleased by the fact that the karaoke is going to be censored as well. We had mentioned in a post several weeks ago, but back then, most of the reports (largely in the Chinese press) suggested that this was a matter of royalties and copyright, of governments trying to milk the $5 billion karaoke industry. However, according to the above report, the emphasis has subtly changed:
Member businesses will be asked to select potentially offensive songs from their playlists. They will also look into songs that possibly violate intellectual property rights.
We often ask ourselves if these regulations, had they been introduced as “decency” type laws in countries where the media is generally more free, would annoy us as much. In the US, “decency” is basically a lost cause, and thank the lord for that, because as much as we wish the world would return to reading more books, we do appreciate having some risque and raunchy TV/media in our lives.
The historian and celeb intellectual Yi Zhongtian said in a recent lecture called “My View of History” (“我的历史观”) that one of the differences between the West and China is that the West relies on the rule of law to limit the excesses of human nature, whereas China has traditionally used morality, especially as pertains to the powers that be (the emperor): Emperor is to country as Confucian father is to family, i.e., a moral exemplar.
This in turn leads us to wonder why things always have to change in such miniscule increments. There’s been an awful amount of censorship news recently, but on the bright side, none of it is too drastic. That levee has already broken, and besides, the third season of Lost will be coming to a rude but reliable DVD vendor near us before we know it.