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Caricature of a mayor promoting tourism

[ 2009-05-08 10:56]     字号 [] [] []  
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His caricature sings, plays the guitar and dances to the tune of Take me home, country roads in the company of some foreign friends.

This is Zhangjiajie’s Mayor - Zhao Xiaoming's way of promoting the city's International Country Music Festival.

Says Zhao in the one-minute animation: "It is a good time to recall John Denver's music with guitar and drum, it is a dialogue between Nashville and (Zhangjiajie) the world natural heritage site while enjoying the peaceful spring at Zhangjiajie International Country Music Festival."

The video clip ends with the character saying in English: "Friends from all over the world, welcome to Zhangjiajie."

Caricature of a mayor promoting tourism

If you think there's nothing odd about all this, think again because this is the first time a leader's caricature has been used to promote an event in the country.

Since last month, the clip for the May 14-18 music festival in Hunan province has been played on all flights taking off from the provincial capital of Changsha to the amusement of passengers.

"It was my idea to use the caricature of the mayor in the commercial," Ye Wenzhi, chief organizer of the event, said yesterday.

Zhangjiajie is a city with stunning natural beauty, which prompted the UNESCO to declare its Wulingyuan Scenic Area a World Heritage Site in 1992.

"Zhangjiajie is an open city, so I thought its mayor should be an open figure too," he said. "Zhao agreed to my idea without hesitation." True to the spirit, the mayor said he did not mind being caricatured as long as it helped promote the event.

The 54-year-old mayor assumed office at the end of 2007. Since then he has been trying his best to promote the local tourism industry and turn the city into a world famous travel destination.

But the blizzards and sleet early last year and the reduction in May Day holidays from seven to three days caused a big drop in the number of visitors to the city.

Zhao realized the need for better promotion, and hosted a group of 130 tourists from Hong Kong during Spring Festival this year.

The country music festival is another of his attempts to help the tourism industry. The festival will see 24 bands from 18 countries join eight ethnic minority troupes from China to perform against the backdrop of the breathtakingly beautiful Wulingyuan mountains.

But not surprisingly the animation has sparked a heated debate among Chinese netizens, with most of them giving Zhao the thumbs up for his creativity. Some of them have even called him "the most handsome mayor in China". Others say the video clip has taken the mayor closer to the common people.

"Many Chinese officials look serious and maintain a distance from the common people," Liu Guifang, a retired official in Chongqing, said. That's why "I like his cartoon figure, other officials should learn from him".


1. In which province did the Mayor appear in an animated promotion?

2. Why was the commercial so unusual?

3. What was the response from most netizens?


1. Hunan.

2. It was the first time in China for an official to appear like this in a caricature form.

3. Positive overall

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Caricature of a mayor promoting tourism

Caricature of a mayor promoting tourismBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.