Zhao calls DreamWorks' depiction 'insulting'

Chinese performance artist Zhao Bandi, best known for using panda images in his art, including clothes designs for panda prostitutes and panda concubines, is suing DreamWorks in a Beijing court, demanding an apology from the Hollywood studio for “Kung Fu Panda’s” depiction of China’s national symbol.

The amusing tale about an overweight panda-turned-noodle chef called Po who aspires to be a kung fu master has done boffo B.O. in China since it was first screened June 20. The Chinese are hugely proud of kung fu, and they also love their national symbol, the giant panda, and DreamWorks Animation has been widely praised for addressing these two big issues sensitively in “Kung Fu Panda.”

Zhao, who likes to carry a stuffed panda around with him and whose art is all based on pandas, says the fact that Po’s father in the film is a duck is an insult to all Chinese and also the panda’s eyes are green, which is an evil color.

“Designing the panda with green eyes is a conspiracy. A panda with green eyes has the feeling of evil. I have studied oil painting, and we would never use green eyes to describe a kind-hearted figure. So I ask them to open their creative meeting records of this film and explain why the green eyes?

“Next, why is the panda’s father is a duck? Many foreigners think the giant panda is not just China’s symbol, but also the Chinese people’s symbol. Drawing the father of the giant panda as a duck is an insult to the Chinese people. In a few years time, I’m worried some young Chinese people will think their ancestor is Donald Duck,” Zhao said.

Zhao’s earlier calls for a boycott of the film because it would upset victims of the Sichuan earthquake prompted the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the state body that tightly controls the entertainment business, to delay the film’s release in the Sichuan earthquake zone, but there was an immediate response online calling for the film to be released.

Zhao said he’s not seeking any money; he just wants an apology from the filmmakers. He said Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court had formally accepted his lawsuit, and he wrote on his blog that the decision by the court to proceed with his case showed that he was about more than just mere publicity stunts.

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