>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
December 8, 2004

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

China Bans Nike Television Commercial

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China has banned a Nike television commercial showing U.S. basketball star LeBron James in a battle with an animated cartoon kung fu master, saying the ad insults Chinese national dignity.

It's tough to insult 1 billion people in one fell swoop, and for that, I applaud LeBron James as well as Nike.

The commercial, titled “Chamber of Fear,” was broadcast on local Chinese stations and on state television's national sports channel before being pulled last month. It shows James in a video game-style setting defeating the kung fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons, considered a sacred symbol in traditional Chinese culture.

“Only Yao Ming may defeat a pair of dragons!!!”

The advertisement “violates regulations that mandate that all advertisements in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland's culture,” the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said on a statement posted Monday on its Web site.

It still sounds a little a fishy every time you refer to your home country as “the motherland.” That term has a very…Third-Reichy esque feel to it.

“It also goes against rules that require ads not to contain content that blasphemes national practices and cultures.”

Ohhh okay, so this IS Nazi Germany. Great. Ummm pass the cole slaw. *Runs out the door quickly*

It did not say why the advertisement was considered offensive. But Communist officials are sensitive about the use of Chinese cultural symbols by Westerners, and might have been especially angered that the Nike advertisement showed the foreigner winning the fight.

“We would have much rather preferred a commercial that shows LeBron James getting killed in a game of horse by two dragons and an animated kung fu master. We would like it if LeBron James get H-O-R-S-E before two dragons get H-O-R. But that's just us.”

Maurice Zhou, a spokesman in Shanghai for Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike Inc. said the company had no response except to say that it “respected the government's decision.”

Interesting story about Maurice Zhou: Some people actually call him the gangster of love.

The Chinese television regulator tightened controls over programming in May by prohibiting the use of English words and imported programs that promote “Western ideology and politics.”

Because in Communist nations, even a hint of the Western life may send people rushing away. “Hey did you see that Charles in Charge where Buddy Lembeck was able to openly voice his opinion? God that looked sweet. Pack your bags.”

Earlier this year, the government banned a Norwegian-made computer game involving a spy chasing military secrets on similar grounds that it hurt China's image, national dignity and interests.

China's got some serious PR. Nobody is hurting ITS street cred. They better squash that Paris Hilton/China sex tape before it hits the streets.

LeBron James is a forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers and one of the NBA's best all-around players. He ranks third in the league in scoring and last week was named the Eastern Conference player of the month.

So you could see how he could defeat dragons. That's all I'm sayin'.

In an unrelated case, a Chinese cartoonist is suing Nike, claiming that a stick figure in one of its worldwide advertising campaigns was copied from his work.

First the government, now a cartoonist?! The FLOOD GATES. ARE. OPEN.

Zhu Zhiqiang filed suit in July, asking for 2 million yuan (US$240,000; euro177,000) in compensation and a public apology, according to state media. Nike rejected Zhu's claims, saying its figure was completely different from his.

Yes, but how many Euros is that? Oh I see, you actually did put that information in. 177,000 eh? That's kind of a lot. *Burps* Seriously though, pass the cole slaw.