(Kotaku, Jul 06, 2013) Chinese television is pretty bad, being mostly propaganda mixed with some weird socially obnoxious reality shows, revisionist historical dramas and terribly butchered movies. But what seems to have drawn the ire of the Chinese State media this time around is the state of animation in China.
Recently, China Central Television, CCTV, began running commentary on the faults of China’s TV animation. In their commentary, CCTV said that about two-thirds of the animated shows on Chinese television were unsuited for broadcast and were teaching children the wrong things — whatever those wrong things may be. The only major animated series that (kind of) avoided scorn was Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, which gets a free pass due to it being a popular Chinese-made cartoon series.
In one instance, CTTV’s channel 2 (there are 15 CCTV channels) news anchor goes on a long tirade about how bad cartoons are for children and how the animators should be ashamed of themselves. She then posits her parenting theories onto her audience saying that children might emulate what they see on TV.
China has long been on a quest to create its own animation industry. Japanese animation and Western animation (mostly from the US) have been the mainstay of Chinese television. Many young Chinese people grew up watching Doraemon, Slam Dunk, Ninja Turtles, Smurfs and the like. When KungFu Panda was released in China it sparked criticism against the Chinese animation industry. Many people were upset that China couldn’t create a good cartoon about China (not that KungFu Panda was about China per se).
So what is it that has the State media so riled up? According to CCTV, there are seven major “crimes” that animation is acting upon society. The following is the seven “crimes” and the corresponding animated series that CCTV used to depict the issue.
Teaching violent behaviour
According to CCTV, cartoons are too violent and have led to more children injuring themselves emulating what they saw on TV. As an example, CCTV brings up Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (even though it was mentioned as one of the good examples of TV cartoons), where titular character Big Big Wolf is usually being beaten on the head with a frying pan whenever he fails to catch Pleasant Goat.
Over simplifying bodily harm
CCTV says that cartoons provide children with an unrealistic view on pain. Using Tom and Jerry as an example, they argue that children will risk hurting themselves because there are no consequences in the cartoon world.
Improper use of fire
Cartoons don’t impart any form of fire safety. It’s very interesting that CCTV would use Tom and Jerry instead of Pleasant Sheep and Big Big Wolf considering that two children almost burned to death from emulating that show.
Supposedly cartoons in China are teaching children to swear or talk like sailors.
Using the Chinese word for “smelly/stinky” as a derogatory term
The Chinese word for smelly/stinky, 臭, also means bad. In common vernacular people use it to say someone is bad or something is terrible. CCTV says that cartoons are teaching children to use the term in the wrong way.