Time to move over, Mickey

State Adminstration seeks noms for animated shorts

BEIJING — China’s TV regulator is looking for good, locally produced animated programs.

The State Administration of Radio, Film & Television announced Jan. 11 that it is seeking nominations from municipal and provincial broadcasters for the “Promotion of Outstanding Domestic Animation,” intending to showcase Chinese shorts or features.

A closer reading of the announcement, posted on SARFT’s Web site, indicates the regulator wants to create animated characters that become as familiar to Chinese children as Disney’s Mickey Mouse or Pixar’s Nemo are to American tykes.

The cartoon must “support Deng Xiaoping Theory and the ‘Three Represents,’ ” a vague policy promulgated under former president Jiang Zemin.

It places no limit on length or subject matter beyond that, except that works must be “of the highest ideological and artistic quality.”

Four works will be selected each year, one per quarter. Those chosen will be given priority slots on “all levels of children’s channels, animation channels and national broadcast channels,” the announcement said.

Developing a domestic animation industry has been given high priority by SARFT.

The regulator wants to reduce China’s dependence on foreign cartoons on local TV, especially as programming demands increase for new children’s channels launched in Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan province in 2004.