From the Chinese press
Updated: 2014-07-10 07:26
Chinese elements misused
The terrible use of Chinese elements in some Hollywood blockbusters has been greeted with skepticism in China, because it ridicules Chinese culture and disrespects the Chinese audience's appreciation of film as an art form, says an article in Beijing Times. Excerpts :
In stark contrast to its box office returns of $222.7 million after the second weekend of its release in China, Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: The age of Extinction is being widely criticized for its bizarre representation of Chinese elements. To begin with, all Chinese actors have just a symbolic (and thus insignificant) role in the film and the use of Chinese brands is outrageous.
Besides, the Chinese elements have little to do with the story of the film, forcing people to assume that the producers have used them to earn as much profit as possible from the Chinese market.
The filmmakers have gone to ridiculous lengths to make money and, in the process, have made a mockery of the film as an art form. Since the Chinese audience can now objectively evaluate Hollywood films, excessive use of Chinese elements for commercial purposes will only harm a film's narrative, production values, and social and cultural impact.
The producers and director of another Hollywood film, The Kungfu Panda, however, have set a good example of how to use Chinese elements. They conducted thorough research into past and present China, which helped them to present Chinese elements in an accurate and unbiased manner.
Other Hollywood filmmakers can learn a lot from The Kungfu Panda and other well-researched films about how to use and showcase the cultural and social elements of China and other countries in movies. This would make them gain the audiences' appreciation and earn maximum profits as well.
Deal with food safety delicately
The ambiguous and contradictory statements of local governments on potential food safety issues seem more threatening than the perceived (and at times real) threat itself, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:
Some sparrows were found dead after eating rice strewn at a river port in Yichang, Hubei province, at the end of June. The rice had fallen out of sacks from a consignment that was scheduled to be shipped to Chongqing via the Yangtze River.
At first, the Yichang government issued a statement saying the sparrows died because they had eaten too much rice, but later it announced that the sparrows' death was caused by a pesticide called carbofuran.
The statement of the local food and drug administration that followed said that the rice had been "immediately seized and sealed and forbidden for sale". But a day later the same department said that 230 kilograms of the "sealed" rice had found its way to the local market, of which 55 kg could not be recalled.
Such contradictory statements will only spread panic among the public and increase people's concern over food safety. Like some earlier cases, it is possible that the rice was contaminated by some residual chemicals or pesticides in the containers. But local governments should be careful before releasing statements on food safety. They should look into all possibilities before reaching a conclusion and refrain from issuing contradictory statements to avoid confusing the public and spreading fears over food safety.
In short, local governments have to change their approach to food safety issues if they want to win back public trust.
The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
(China Daily 07/10/2014 page9)