The world watches every move China makes. That is the burden of being an emerging superpower. So the surest way to guarantee that everyone takes notice is to censor an art work or jail a protester. This should be the first law of publicity for Beijing. Alas, pigheaded censors on the mainland never seem to learn.
And sure enough, someone high up decided to ban a popular 31/2-minute animation clip ostensibly released on the internet to mark the Lunar New Year, but which was really a satire on official corruption and brutality. No sooner had the censors deleted the clip on popular mainland websites than overseas media, from the Associated Press to The Guardian, picked up on it.
'Combining gruesome, South Park-style violence with swipes at several public scandals - from tainted baby milk to forced demolitions - it culminates with rabbits overrunning and savaging to death the tigers who have bullied them,' The Guardian reported. We wonder who the rabbits and tigers are supposed to represent. The clip contained baby bunnies that exploded after being fed tainted milk formula, an elderly bunny thrown under a truck, and an irate bunny who immolated himself before the tigers bulldozed his property to make way for redevelopment.
Sound familiar? Well, you have probably read about similar incidents in the newspapers. No wonder mainland authorities got a tad sensitive.
To add insult to injury, the tigers are supposed to live by the motto: 'Serve the rabbits. Build a harmonious forest.' Hmm, didn't President Hu Jintao make building 'a harmonious society' and 'serving the people' the responsibility of every official and community party member?
In the end the bunnies revolted and savaged the tigers to death. On second thought, maybe the censors were right.