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China Cites Cartoons, Film Development in Defending Human Rights Record

china-movies-wsj-jackit-chan Josh Chin writes: China offered an almost exclusively positive portrait of its human rights situation in a white paper released Monday that cited progress in a wide range of areas. Near the top of the list: development of the country’s film and cartoon industries.

“The white paper has departed so much from reality that its claims that the government has made ‘great achievements’ on human rights are absurd. The government could have counted the number of pandas as a sign of rights progress."

-- Ms. Wang

The annual white paper, which weighed in at 21,000 characters this year, is China’s response to frequent foreign criticisms of its human rights record. In contrast to its critics, who tend to emphasize the rights of the individual, China advocates a broader definition of human rights that puts greater weight on social goods, such as economic and cultural development. And, evidently, entertainment. In the report’s first section, titled “Right to Development,” this year’s white paper backed up Beijing’s claim to have better protected the Chinese people’s cultural rights by pointing to, among other things, China’s burgeoning television, cartoon and film production.

”The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavors fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions.”

In 2014, the paper noted, China produced 429 TV series, accounting for 15,983 episodes, and cartoon programs amounting to 138,496 minutes. The report also flagged growth on the silver screen, saying the country produced a total of 618 feature films — 36 of which earned more than 100 million yuan each — and racked up total box office revenues of 26.9 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) last year.

[Read the full text here at China Real Time Report - WSJ]

The latter figure represented a 36% increase over 2013, the white paper said. It wasn’t clear from the report how that growth related to human rights. The State Council Information Office, which produced the report, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the section on entertainment appeared early on in the white paper, a section on China’s international human rights efforts — including an increasingly marginal series of on-again, off-again human rights dialogues with Western countries — appeared at the very end.

As in years past, the white paper maintained an upbeat tone throughout. ”The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavors fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions,” it said….(read more)

China Real Time Report – WSJ

–Josh Chin. Follow him on Twitter @joshchin.

 

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