The makers of a popular cartoon have been fined almost RMB 40,000 by a Jiangsu court after two children suffered severe burns imitating the show’s characters.
The pair, brothers aged 5 and 8, were badly injured when a third child imitating a character from Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜羊羊与灰太狼) tied them to a tree and started a fire with dry leaves.
Flames spread uncontrollably before the brothers were rescued by locals in a village in Jiangsu Province’s Lianyungang. The incident, which took place in April this year, left both victims disfigured, with the younger brother suffering burns to 80 percent of his body.
The production group behind the cartoon, Creative Power Entertaining Company, was found legally responsible for the injuries. The court concluded that the company had been negligent in its duty to warn viewers of the potential risks of copying the animated violence featured in the show.
The official verdict, delivered on Wednesday, said that it was the responsibility of producers to “rigorously review” their content and, in the case of violent scenes or plots, warn young viewers against attempts to imitate.
Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, a children’s show that airs daily on Chinese television, features the usual array of cartoon violence, with characters regularly hit with frying pans and dropped into boiling water. The incident that injured the young brothers is purported to be a direct imitation of a scene where the Big Big Wolf ties the goat character to a tree and contemplates eating her like a kebab.
The RMB 39,000 fine will act as compensation for the boys’ families, though it allegedly covers just 15 percent of their medical expenses. The guardians of the 8-year-old child who started the blaze are expected to pay a further 60 percent for his actions, while the victim’s parents are expected to cover the remaining 25 percent.
Image: Weilai Wang