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Lawmakers Show Concern over Cultural Security

A Chinese professor of arts has alerted the nation to the danger of losing its own culture in the face of economic globalization.  

Shen Qipeng, a deputy to the National People's Congress, said that he was painful to see that a university students cartoon exhibition in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, was full of cartoon figures from the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan and even the prizes were foreign cartoon toys.


Reminiscent of San Mao, Nuo Zha and Monkey King -- traditional cartoon figures in China, Prof. Shen said that the economic globalization has brought about unparalleled conveniences and development space for cultural exchanges among different nations. However, he noted, by their economic strength, the western culture has taken the opportunity to launch an unprecedented big expansion drive to sell its political system, concept of values, ideology and ways of living.


The Western culture has not only occupied the cultural market of developing countries, Prof. Shen said, but also cultivated worshippers of Western culture. The spread of individualism, money worship, consumerism and sex liberation in China is closely associated with the spread of the Western cultural products.


What is even more grave, he noted, is that ancient structures have been damaged; a large amount of cultural relics have been smuggled out of the country; such traditional new year paintings, donkey skin shadow shows, paper cuts and other traditional arts are fading away; in contrast, foreign style buildings are shooting up from the debris of stylish ancient structures and films and animated cartoons full of violence and porn are influencing the taste of appeal.


In addition, the cartoon film Mulan created on the basis of Chinese legendary story enabled Walt Disney Inc. to rake in US$300 million of profits. But raped by the Western approach to cater to Western aesthetic taste, the original Mulan spirit has been unbearably violated.


It was reported that China has promised to gradually open its film market, importing 50 foreign films every year and allowing foreign investors to hold 49 percent of stake in projects of transforming cinemas and in the sales of audio-video products. That will bring tremendous pressure to bear upon China's cultural industry.


President Wang Fang from the Suzhou Kunju Theater appealed to use legal means to protect China's traditional culture, saying that "protecting traditional culture is the right and obligation of every nation."


(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2004)

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