China's CCTV to Serve Up Patriotic Fare for Children Over Lunar New Year

China Patriotic H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Kids can expect cartoons about patriotic leaders during the biggest Chinese holiday, part of a campaign to return to socialist values.

China's media regulator has ordered the country's primary free-to-air TV channels, including giant state broadcaster China Central TV (CCTV), to screen three patriotic cartoons during the forthcoming Lunar New Year holiday, part of a campaign to return to socialist values.

A spokesman for the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said the requirement would cover all major TV platforms and was aimed at giving "full play to the role of socialist core values of broadcasting and TV, to strengthen patriotism and to ensure that all these excellent works exert a long-lasting impact on children."

Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 19 this year, and schools have a lengthy six-week vacation for the event, which is the most important Chinese holiday.

Late last year, President Xi Jinping outlined his Communist manifesto for culture when he said art and artists must serve socialism and the people, and must not bear "the stench of money" nor be "slaves to the market." He also said: "Socialist culture and art is, in essence, the culture and art of the people."

Chinese cartoons have struggled in the face of competition from Japanese anime and Spongebob Squarepants and other U.S. imports, but there have been some successes in the past year or two, including the Pleasant Goat franchise and Boonie Bears: To the Rescue.

One of the three animated programs that will be shown during the Lunar New Year holiday is Qi Jiguang, a tale of a Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) general who fought Japanese pirates in China's coastal regions.

Another one is Hero Feng Zicai, about a general and hero of the Sino-French war fought between August 1884 and April 1885, who is famous for telling his troops: "You should die rather than bear to see a French army invading Chinese soil!"

The third show is called Fankai Zhe Yiye, which translates as Turn to This Page, and is a compendium of 26 classical revolutionary stories presented in animated form.