Hopes raised of 'Disney diplomacy'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 September, 2005, 12:00am

Could Mickey Mouse prove to be the goodwill ambassador needed to break the political impasse between the mainland and Taiwan? To Taiwan opposition leader James Soong Chu-yu, at least, the opening of China's first Disney theme park was an encouraging sign of the mainland's reform and marked a good time to try to improve relations.

'As we all saw recently, [Vice-President] Zeng Qinghong went to Hong Kong to host the opening of the Disney park. It looked like a small matter, but actually it was a big thing,' Mr Soong said.

The acceptance of foreign culture beyond traditional figures like the Monkey King, the hero of the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West, put a more friendly face on the mainland government, he said.

'Chinese have confidence in accepting Snow White and Mickey Mouse. This confidence doesn't come from seeing an emperor open a summer palace, but from seeing [a government] wanting everyone to experience joy,' Mr Soong said.