Bugs Bunny was slated for his Chinese debut tomorrow, headlining
television programming for International Children's Day.
So, what's up, Doc?
Plenty. That wascally wabbit and his new Chinese language
cartoon show have been yanked from the schedule, victims of a
rising Chinese nationalism and trade tensions between China and the
US over copyright piracy.
"It's very obvious why American films and serials can't be shown
at this time," says Wei Ping, an official with China Central
Television, which was to have aired the cartoons. "It's easy to
understand given the political atmosphere."
Threatened with a multibillion-dollar, transpacific trade war
and playing to public anger over foreign economic presence, China
is on the offensive against American exports. In a highly charged
atmosphere of patriotism and national pride, American products,
name brands, and even garbage are under attack.
Facing a June 17 deadline to reach a copyright agreement,
Washington and Beijing pledge to hit each other where it hurts. The
US says it will slap punitive tariffs on $2 billion in textiles and
electronics, crucial Chinese exports. China says it will retaliate
by targeting, among other US exports, films, and TV shows.
Until the dispute is resolved, Bugs Bunny and other cartoon
cohorts from the Looney Tunes library, whose broadcasting rights
were sold to China by owners Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting
System, have been postponed. Other copyrighted and legally
purchased television shows could follow, Chinese television
Garbage is another US export China refuses. Since the trade
dispute erupted earlier this month, Beijing has been kicking up a
stink over proliferating piles of American garbage that are said to
contain dangerous waste and to have been imported illegally for
First, the Chinese press reported the discovery of unmistakably
American household wastepaper in suburban Pinggu County outside
Beijing. Residents of Xiyu village said they had been complaining
about the stench from the rubbish for some time although officials
only took action this month. The 640 tons of garbage was traced to
a Beijing pulp mill, which had imported and later discarded it last
Then, a 540-ton garbage mound, also exported from the United
States, was uncovered in Qingdao port in Shandong Province. Twenty
containers of hazardous solid waste from the US and Canada,
including used batteries and computers, were detected by Chinese
customs officials in Shanghai. …