Friday, September 15, 2006
International Protectionism: A Trojan Of A Different Color

We've all heard the ruckus emerging from the arguments over protected industries. Economists say that governments that block fair competition cause international catfights in the WTO - fights which subsequently spill over into other arenas like politics or human rights issues. Additionally, protection of industries throws the international economic equilibrium into disarray. To talk about these ideas is lofty indeed, but when do we really get to see concrete evidence of these economic concepts in motion?

I'll tell you when.
When we're watching Pokémon. That's when.

What does Pokémon have to do with the fight over fair trade, you may ask. Well, I was reading some Beijing newspapers this morning and came across a rather interesting article. According to the Beijing City News,"(translation) China has banished foreign cartoons such as The Simpsons, Pokémon and Mickey Mouse from primetime television in an attempt to protect China's struggling animation studios." After finding the article to be fascinating and dedicating my morning to researching similar stories, I decided it was either a decidedly poignant issue or so trivial that I should vow to find new hobbies. Hoping that my life is not that sad, I chose to believe the former over the latter.

I spent a lot of time during my college years learning why protectionism is bad. Now I can actually see the reason. Why should the Chinese people suffer under these protectionist policies? Why should they be restricted in this way? They're losing so much. Forget freedom of speech. Forget human rights. They're losing Mickey Mouse. And if you've never been to China, you have no idea how much the Chinese people love that darn cartoon mouse. We have to stand up against censorship. They can take our liberty, but they can't take our Mickey Mouse. Wait, that's not right...

The coup de grace of the whole article, however, is this statement: "(translation) Chinese animators produce hundreds of hours of programming a year but are not known for flair or originality." Wow. That's like a slap in the face. I hope these Chinese animators all gather tomorrow to lynch the news journalists who wrote these articles.

And then there would finally be interesting news to write about.
posted by Rachel @ 8:48 PM  
THE WILD WILD EAST: Everything you never knew you didn't know about life on the other side.
In China, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The Chinese, who call this land "home," and the expats who migrate here. My name is Rachel. I am an expat. These are my stories.
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