Chinese netizens call for boycott of cartoon over ‘adult’ content
Published: Jun 01, 2021 12:25 AM
3D cartoon series Yeloli Photo: Sina Weibo

3D cartoon series Yeloli Photo: Sina Weibo

Netizens have called for a boycott of a 3D cartoon series over "adult" elements, and have said China needs an animation rating system. 

The boycott campaign came after a blogger with 2.5 million followers posted an article titled The cartoon elementary school students watch that even adults would blush while watching. In the article, the author said the cartoon had too much unhealthy content including school bullying and young love.  

The cartoon named Yeloli, tells a story of some primary school students and fairies who fight against an evil queen to help save the earth.

Released in 2013, Yeloli has had eight seasons with 208 episodes in total, and its views have exceeded 17 billion. The cartoon ranked third in a survey of "favorite cartoons among children" carried out by Jiangsu Consumer Council in East China's Jiangsu Province, following Boonie Bears and Peppa Pig. 

Meanwhile, many cultural products based on the cartoon including comic books and games have also gained high popularity, making the company behind it one of the few profitable animation companies in China, The Paper reported. 

However, the high rating does not mean that the cartoon is not problematic, and its most serious problem is its strong "adult" color, netizens said.

The characters in the animation are well dressed, and their personalities are approaching adulthood, especially after the girls gained magic power from the fairies and transformed themselves in a mature way, with long waists and legs, small faces, high noses and sexy dresses.

The cartoon only has a low score of 4.4/10 on Douban, China's reviewing website. Many Chinese netizens took to social media, commenting that the cartoon is "poisoning" China's younger generations. 

"Yeloli fails to guide children in shaping healthy values, and attached everything in the adult world to children prematurely, allowing them to be 'adult' in advance," one netizen wrote on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Some netizens suggested implementing an animation rating system like the systems used in the US and Japan. 

Wu Xiaolin, a lawyer from Yingke Law Firm in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that the first step is to build an ethical review committee for checking the content of cartoons. 

"Preventing commercialization and adultization in programs for minors, and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of minors are important," said Wu, adding that further regulation is needed.

In March, the National Radio and Television Administration sought public opinions on film and television classification, including programs for children.