Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 11:26 AM
Lei Feng, in a new cartoon to be released June 1
March 5 is Lei Feng Day, a day set aside to celebrate the life of the PLA soldier who became a model for selflessness and obedience after his untimely death in 1962.
Even with stories about the NPC and CPPCC sessions filling up newspaper pages this week, the media has still found time to report on "living Lei Fengs" doing good works in various communities, and to complain that people no longer celebrate Lei Feng Day like they used to.
To make sure that Lei Feng stays alive in the hearts of the Chinese people, CPPCC member Liu Jianglong, has submitted a proposal suggesting that the government apply for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status for the "Lei Feng Spirit." From today's Chongqing Morning Post:
Liu contrasts the sad state of the Lei Feng Spirit in China with its supposed popularity overseas by bringing up a couple of dubious examples of Lei Feng's international stature:
Are UNESCO's heritage lists really that influential with kids today? They're probably more concerned with cartoons and games.
With that in mind, an animation studio in Shenyang is hard at work on a thirty-episode series, The Story of Lei Feng, which will air on CCTV starting on June 1, International Children's Day.
The 20-million-yuan program will use a combination of 2D and 3D animation, with characters brought to life through motion capture techniques.
Pang Baochun, chairman of Shenyang Chunqiu Animation, which is producing the series, explained the difficulties the company faces in bringing an icon to the screen:
Pang is counting on success. Come June, the marketplace will be filled with Lei Feng-branded tie-in book bags, school supplied, books, and DVDs. And Lei Feng's three treasured possessions, the "scrap box," "keepsake chest," and "sewing kit," will be turned into a line of toys so that today's youth can cultivate their own sense of conservation and altruism.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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From the Vault
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.