Let Us Hope This Cartoon Protectionism Doesn't Trigger a Great Cartoon Depression


China intends to expand protectionism to its inferior domestic cartoons, banning the foreign variety from Chinese TV in its 5-8 pm primetime.

Like most protectionist measures, it feeds on past protectionist measures that also didn't work:

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% of the total shown in prime time.

Positive sign: A Chinese newspaper is already criticizing the policy:

"This is a worrying, shortsighted policy and will not solve the fundamental problems in China's cartoon industry," the Southern Metropolis News said. "The viewing masses, whether adults or children, will have no choice but to passively support Chinese products."

The Chicom have even

set up 15 animation centers to nurture the industry, invoking communist guerrilla vocabulary by dubbing them "production bases."

But intervention against the will of the people leads not to success for the interventionist policy, but merely to more intervention; there is no sustainable third way between cartoon autarky and cartoon anarchy.

Globalism irony: Many Chinese animators have jobs making those very Western cartoons now restricted on Chinese TV.

NEXT: Save the Yuppies!

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  1. I doubt it’s the western cartoons that the Chinese are worried about so much as Japanese animation. Japan is becoming a dominant cultural force in east Asia.

  2. China intends to expand protectionism to its inferior domestic cartoons, banning the foreign variety from chinese TV in its 5-8 pm primetime.

    You know where I’m surprised “cartoon protectionism” hasn’t reared it’s ugly head? Here. Give the prevalence and popularity of Japanese animation in U.S. markets, the graphic depictions of sex and violence in some series, and the Right’s current hatred for all things “foreign,” I wouldn’t put it past the moralistic scolds and nationalists to try to make it more expensive to import “Cowboy Bebop” or “Dragonball Z” into the U.S..

  3. While deplorable, this only affects ‘prime-time’ shows, and will do nothing to halt the Video Pirates. argh

    JinJing and ChaCha can go back to consuming the chinese equivalent of coffee and donuts.

  4. ?by dubbing them “production bases.”

    Gives new meaning to a tired old worn-out phrase like “All your base are belong to us”

  5. Akira-
    Maybe Japan gets off easy because they are tough on China and N. Korea. Of course that’s assuming the neocons can rein in the theocons.

  6. well, actually

    I think most conservatives think cartoons are just for kids.

    For my fill of sex and violence, I just watch the Venture Brothers.

  7. As an animator, I find myself strangely attracted to this idea.

    Interestingly enough, there has been a trend recently towards more local content world-wide, as the entertainment industries in other countries start to catch up to the U.S. in quality and people in those countries find more offerings that they can relate to culturally. State support of the animation industry in the Soviet Union produced a lot of fantastic and popular (and often subversive) films, in part because the censors didn’t care enough about animation to be as hard-assed about it as they were about other forms of media. The only western cartoon I remember seeing regularly on Russian TV in 1975 was “Mighty Mouse”. However, even if there had been no embargo on foreign animation, the domestic product was quite competitive, won international awards and is still watchable.

    Which leads me to ask, how do we know that Chinese animation is inferior? Has Brian Doherty actually watched any Chinese cartoons, or is he applying the libertarian rule-of-thumb that anything sponsored by a government must be inferior?

  8. I’d say that anime is taking over the U.S., too! Take that, round-eyed demons!

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