Just a month after the draft version of China’s first animal protection law was completed, animal activists in China are pushing the movement forward, attempting to end animal abuse in the Chinese film industry.
Recently, the shooting of the new version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (adapted from one of the four major classical novels of Chinese literature) hit the nerve of China’s animal activists. In a July interview with Beijing News, director Gao Xixi, spoke of efforts to impress the audience with “splendor”. “I have absolute confidence in the battle scenes that feature the TV series…We specially import horses from New Zealand. Horses bred in China look like donkeys, not strong enough. Six horses died and eight went crazy during the shooting. You can imagine the scene!”
Mang Ping, associate professor of the Central Institute of Socialism and a pioneer of China’s animal protection movement, first voiced her concern in an op-ed published in the August 2 issue of the Beijing News. “Our film production is not lacking in luxurious scenes but the basic ethical principles.” She says, concerned that such “ill” tastes might produce negative impact on the audience, especially children.
Professor Mang’s comment was echoed by Don’t Eat Friends (the most active and influential animal protection group in China headed by Giant Beanstalk, a rock band made up of vegan members). “It’s not art, but a stain on art.” says Xie Zheng, leader of the group and head of the musical band who obviously has a different view of artistic creation.
Nonhuman animals who are sentient beings just like humankind deserve respect and compassion. While the random use of animals to revive a historical scene is unnecessary (it can be fulfilled with computer graphics), it implies men’s intrinsic sense of superiority over animals. For every country striving for humaneness, such events carry hope because awareness induces change. Hopefully, it will lead China towards closer media censorship that incorporates non-animal cruelty.
Photo Courtesy of Beijing News