Chinese production company of cartoon ‘Super Wings’ apologizes for incorrect maps and Mid-Autumn Festival controversy
Published: Mar 16, 2021 05:53 PM
Screenshot of the cartoon <em>Super Wings</em> Photo: screenshot of video posted on Sina Weibo

Screenshot of the cartoon Super Wings Photo: screenshot of video posted on Sina Weibo

After the cartoon Super Wings, originally produced in South Korea, was suspended from all video platforms in the Chinese mainland, its present production company, China's Alpha Group, apologized on Monday, noting a controversial episode that caused confusion about the Mid-Autumn Festival has been junked and a new version to introduce Chinese stories about the traditional festival is being produced.

The statement was published on Monday by the company, which purchased the original makers of the cartoon, the South Korean Funnyflux Entertainment, in 2017. 

The Chinese company apologized to viewers and noted that they realized they made a mistake using the wrong maps of China and hurt viewers' feelings because of the "serious ambiguity" that was caused during an episode about the Korean Chuseok (lit: autumn eve) festival that caused young viewers to conflate it with China's traditional Mid-Autumn Festival.

The statement responded to the two major problems. Concerning the incorrect maps, the company said it invited experts to check all the maps in the cartoon following the suspension from video platforms.

As to the controversial episode that caused viewers to mix up the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok, a major Korean holiday that is celebrated on the same day as the Chinese festival, it has been shelved. The company is producing a new one to comprehensively introduce stories about the Chinese festival. "The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese festival," the statement noted.

"We will launch a series about traditional Chinese culture such as Spring Festival and Dragon Boat Festival in the cartoon to spread our national culture to the world and build Chinese cultural confidence," the statement said.

The controversies went viral in early March on Chinese social media, sparking concern among netizens, especially those who are parents.

Some Chinese netizens were up in arms about the cartoon, after they noticed that it misled children about the origin of China's Mid-Autumn Festival and used incorrect maps of China.

After watching an episode about Chuseok, in which the Korean holiday was translated in Chinese to Mid-Autumn Festival, some children began to think that the Chinese festival was a Korean holiday and thought people should eat a type of traditional Korean cake on that day instead of China's traditional mooncake.

The Chinese version of one episode of the cartoon was also found to have a map that was missing the southern part of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, while another version of that same episode airing on YouTube separated the island of Taiwan from Chinese territory.

These mistakes shocked netizens, leading to a call to boycott the cartoon. By March 8, all episodes of the show had been removed from video platforms in China. 

"Other production companies of cartoons should take this as a lesson. As children are too young to tell right from wrong; if producers make such mistakes, it will affect many children," Ren, a mother of a 3-year-old, told the Global Times.

Ren added that she will be more cautious about Super Wings and other cartoons. "I had believed in these popular works and recommendations too much."