Kung Fu Panda 'humiliating'

By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-16 09:54
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Animated comedy Kung Fu Panda is humiliating for China because it successfully sold Chinese culture to the world but was created by Hollywood, an animation forum has been told.

Ouyang Yibing, vice-chief of China Animation Association, said Kung Fu Panda, which was a global hit with audiences, was the perfect example of how successful a Chinese animated figure could be.

The Zhongguancun Forum of Animation and Comic Industry between Beijing and Taipei was told that China lacks a cartoon figure that has global appeal, like Mickey Mouse in America or Hello Kitty in Japan.

"Unfortunately, it is our US counterparts, and not us, who made this terrific presentation and showed their deep understanding of Chinese culture. It is a humiliation," he said.

Fennie Chen, secretary-general of the Taipei Animation and Comic Alliance, said the mainland and Taiwan were collaborating on the creation of a Chinese animated character.

Fennie said 10 companies in Taiwan were involved in the project and would open offices in Zhongguancun, China's "Silicon valley", next year.

"One of their missions is to collaborate with Beijing counterparts to make a successful cartoon figure," she said.

"These companies and more from Taiwan will start their own creation, and we will select the best from them," she said.

The cultural and creative industry has become one of the pillar industries in Beijing, contributing 11.4 percent of the city's GDP in 2008.

Gou Zhongwen, vice-mayor of Beijing municipal government, said the animation and comic industry is one of the city's most vibrant strengths.

"With the sufficient talent pool and exceptional business environment from Beijing and the first-class innovative ideas from Taiwan, the deepening collaboration from the two sides will help boost the creation of animation or comic Chinese characters in the future," he said.

In order to achieve that, the two sides should create a character with Chinese characteristics, experts said.

Max Huang, head of Taiwan-based Asia Manga Cultural Association, said that there is no need to create new cartoon characters, as there are three images that have already achieved global recognition, like the Monkey King, the panda, and Bruce Lee, the late Jeet Kune Do master.

"We should fully use these identity cards of Chinese culture and develop them into global icons," he said.

But in order to catch up with the US counterparts regarding what they have achieved, it could take at least 20 or 30 years, he said.