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:
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:
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.