Boycotting Ultraman and SARFT's regulations taking effect

Last week, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT)'s latest regulations demanded that “all movies, T.V soap opera, animation, video documentary could not be uploaded to the Internet without permission”. According to chinaz.com's webmaster report, one of the most famous animation website kaicn.com had recently been shut down on the same day (March 30) when SARFT released the notice. Kai.com had been well known for its rich Japanese animation contents.

Coincidentally, a few days later (early April), Premier Wen Jiaobo visited an animation production lab in Wubei province and made a comment that “my grandson loves animation, but his selection is usually Ultraman (Japanese animation), he should watch more of Chinese animation production.”

According to Chinese news agency report, Wen's comment quickly echoed by netizens over the country, many supported banning and boycotting of Japanese animation Ultraman. (However i failed to find original posts about calls to boycott dated before the news release via baidu search and fanfou's search, please correct me if you find the sources of netizens’ call between the news release on April 4 and Wen's visit).

In fanfou, Icyheart said that he had written a blog post “One sentence from Wen Jiaobo, netizens boycott Ultraman” around noon time of April 4 and the content shared a lot of similarity with the official news release. In the blog post, the blogger commented on the negative impact of Ultraman:

中国童现在广泛流传着这样一句顺口溜:“幸福是什么?幸福就是猫吃鱼,狗吃肉,奥特曼打小怪兽。”不少家长担心,孩子看多了《奥特曼》这种充斥着暴力情节的动画片,很容易形成暴力倾向。

有朋友说:“每当我儿子暴力到敢在陌生人面前一脚踢过去,称自己是‘奥特曼’时,我就想把电视机砸了!”

Now there is a popular saying among Chinese children: “what is happiness? Happiness is Cat eating fish, dog eating meat and Ultraman beating up small monster”. Many parents are worried that their children will develop violent tendency with Ultraman's violent story plot.

A friend said: “Whenever my son reacts violently by kicking stranger and claims that he is “Ultraman”, I want to break the T.V set.”

However, in the discussion thread of the another blogpost Kaito's blog (posted on 5 of April), a netizen pointed out that locally made animations, such as Lotus Lamp (寶蓮燈)and Brothers Hulu (葫蘆兄弟) are also full of violence, why then singled out Ultraman?

Another reason for the ban and boycott is related with the development of local animation industry, as Wen Wei Bao (a pro-China newspapers in Hong Kong) stressed:

今年春节档期上映的中国原创贺岁动画片《喜羊羊与灰太狼》曾创下高达17.3%收视率,票房表现亮眼,超越同档期的《马达加斯加2》与《雷霆战狗》。

During the Spring festival, China's animation “Happy lambs and ugly wolf” has 17.3% viewing rate, more than “Madagascar 2″ and “Bolt”.

The economic motivation of shutting down online video website and boycotting Ultraman is probably beyond the development of local animation / creative industry, Rebecca Mackinnon (via twitter), also noticed that:

The timing of china's new online video regulations is starting to make more and more sense as i see this kind of news:

In an interesting move, Chinese Internet portal Sohu has partnered with the appliance brand Haier to launch a high-definition online TV channel with a selection of 40,000 movie titles.

According to news on Brand Republic, the channel will follow the April launch of Haier’s new line of television sets that directly connect to the Internet.

Actually, the call for boycotting Ultraman has been popping up in the Internet from time to time (such as this one at mop.com), long before Wen's comment. However, this time it catches people's attention as the news about Ultraman boycott was released through official news agency and quoted by locals newspapers, internet news and Hong Kong newspapers.

It is quite obvious that with Wen's comment, a specific economic interest, and the backup of nationalistic sentiment, the banning and boycotting of Ultraman will probably gain popular support, which will in return help to legitimize SARFT's control over online multimedia content.

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