Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cultural and economic change leading to political change?

It wouldn't be the first time that the Disney characters have been harbingers of change. There's a famous cartoon from the early '80s that shows Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Pluto labeled as the "new gang of four."

A Big Wall Falls in China to Make Room for Mickey

"HARBIN, China — For decades, locals in this frigid outpost south of Siberia shaved and chipped and hacked away at big blocks of ice to create China’s most popular wintertime tourist attraction.

"Rising among the barren trees, the sculptures of the Harbin Ice Lantern Festival took the shapes of iconic Chinese monuments: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, sacred Buddhist mountains.

"They took those shapes, that is, until this winter, when in sauntered Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh.

"What is perhaps the world’s most famous ice festival has become another of the world’s Disney theme parks, with a Disney licensing company taking over operations from the local Communist government. It is the first time a private company has run the ice festival...

"Local officials gave permission for the licensing company... to take over the festival for a fee...

"People coming to see more Chinese-themed sculptures now have to go to one of the two festivals north of the city, both run by the government or a state-owned enterprise..."

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