Protectionism is No Joke for Foreign Cartoons

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While the US mulls over plans to further restrict high-tech exports to China, reports (h/t Diligence China) indicate that China’s latest protectionist move is the banning of foreign cartoons on prime-time Chinese TV. I am not sure whether to laugh or cry on either count! The Houston Chronicle reports that

    “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.”

Quite apart from the worrying idea that China’s leaders might actually spend any of their time watching cartoons, it seems that this could be an own goal. The creative industries in China may need help, but to offer it in the form of protection – rather than to promote home-grown innovation – may extend the pain, while achieving very little gain (other, perhaps, than some control of foreign cultural influences). A familiar story.

In any event, as the Chronicle points out, consumers will simply go to the end of the street and buy pirated DVDs, as they already have to do in order to see restricted western movies. Both foreign and local firms end up on the losing side. Only the cartoon pirates will be laughing.

See news source:

    China bans foreign-made cartoons
    Houston Chronicle – United States
    By JOE MCDONALD. BEIJING – D’oh! China has banished Homer Simpson, Pokémon and Mickey Mouse from prime time. Beginning Sept. 1, regulators …

Updated 16/o8/06

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