China’s TV regulators claim the Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜羊羊与灰太狼) is not being so pleasant of late. What can be so unpleasant about cheerful goats frolicking through the meadows of Goatville and a clumsy wolf who wants to eat them? Well, don’t let the cartoon’s apparently harmless storyline fool you.
Pleasant Goat had become a “veritable fight club,” according to The Telegraph:
“Big Big Wolf had been physically assaulted with a frying pan on at least 9,544 occasions, the government news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.
Meanwhile, Pleasant Goat had been boiled alive in water 839 times and received no fewer than 1,755 electric shocks.”
Pleasant Goat was criticized for “excessive violence and vulgar language” by China Central Television (CCTV)’s 7 pm Network News program on October 13, reports Danwei. And China’s media outlets are not the only ones losing their appetites for Pleasant Goat. Bill Bishop “skewered” Pleasant Goat in today’s Sinocism newsletter:
“I am not normally a fan of official criticism of TV shows, but the skewering of the animated series “喜羊羊” (Xi Yangyang, officially translated as “Pleasant Goat”) is welcome news. The show will undergo “rectification” for its violent and vulgar content. Our kids have watched far more of Xi Yangyang than I care to admit. The only silver lining from the show, at least in this household, is that watching it made us all hungrier for lamb.”
One wonders what he think’s about Tom and Jerry?
Writing on Danwei suggests the “Tom and Jerry style” cartoon had fallen victim to an ongoing “culture-cleansing campaign” shepherded in by CCTV. According to The Wall Street Journal, regulators plan to outline new content standards for TV animation to address inappropriate content:
“China’s regulator said in its statement that Creative Power is one of 20 top animation companies banding together to reform content and promote social values.
State Broadcaster China Central Television reported that the production company is “revising comprehensively” the show, an undertaking that local media reported could cost millions of yuan.
According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, under the proposal, cartoons should “promote good and lash out at evil,” “advocate social morality and family virtues, and resist “egoism, money worship, hedonism, superstition, pseudoscience and contents containing harmful thoughts and bad habits.” It also said cartoons should avoid violent scenes, including depictions of attacks that children could easily imitate, and should not use daily necessities for dangerous purposes.”
The country’s most popular animated series since its debut in 2005 is now on hiatus after numerous complaints that the show was too violent for its young audience. Pleasant Goat made headlines earlier this year in April when two boys got severely burned after reenacting a scene they saw in the cartoon in which a character is barbequed.
This is neither the first example of TV content imitation, nor the first TV show to be scrutinized.
According to The Wall Street Journal article:
“TV authorities last year strengthened a ban on shows involving time travel after two girls in east Fujian province committed suicide as part of an attempt to travel back in time. Authorities also imposed limits on TV adaptions of online videogames.”
Another popular cartoon Boonie Bears (熊出沒), which also broadcasted on CCTV, came under the same line of fire as Pleasant Goat. Instead of a goats against wolf scenario, it is a group of bears slugging it out against a woodcutter.The Boonie Bears offenses include airing 21 pieces of foul language in just 10 minutes, according to The Telegraph. The Telegraph article further reports that the cartoon led some children to develop a weird obsession with electric chainsaws.
Earlier this year, several Chinese publishing companies were asked to suspend operations as a result of releasing children’s books with pornographic content. The book Those Who Don’t Read It Upside-down Are Pigs, published by China Pictorial Publishing House, is full of vulgar content unsuitable for young audiences, reports Xinhua. The book contains explicit phrases and called ancient scholars “rogues.”
Furthermore, during recent investigations, Xinhua reporters found a number of children’s books tainted with violent or pornographic elements.
Courtesy of the Xinhua article, Exhibit A:
“Mum killed me before I was eaten up by Dad. My siblings collected my bones from the dinner table and buried them in a cold, stone tomb.”
“[She has] plump breasts and round hips, with hot figure.”
“I want to have a baby with my elder brother.”
Not classical children’s material, I think you will agree. Now I’m just left wondering, what the Chinese are going to do about some of the weirder stuff going down in the ever-popularJapanese anime?
Image courtesy of sznews.