‘Simpsons,’ Foreign Cartoons Banned From Chinese Prime Time
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
BEIJING — China has banished Homer Simpson, Pokemon, and Mickey Mouse from prime time.
Beginning September 1, regulators have barred foreign cartoons from TV from 5 to 8 p.m. in an effort to protect China’s struggling animation studios, news reports said yesterday. The move allows the Monkey King and his Chinese pals to get the top TV viewing hours to themselves.
Foreign cartoons, especially from Japan, are hugely popular with China’s 250 million children and the country’s own animation studios have struggled to compete. Communist leaders are said to be frustrated that so many cartoons are foreign-made, especially after efforts to build up Chinese animation studios.
The ban hasn’t been formally announced, but newspapers already were criticizing it yesterday as the wrong way to improve programming.
“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 cartoon campaign comes amid efforts by President Hu’s government to tighten control over other pop culture, ranging from movies to magazines and Web sites.