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Dragon 对龙的误解 Loong
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Exit the dragon …
China is considering slaying the dragon as its national emblem, because it fears the mythical beast suggests an aggressive nation.
Dragons are a symbol of wealth and power among the Chinese
The government is being urged to drop all use of the serpent-like, multi-clawed creature, which has for thousands of years been a potent symbol of China's power. Instead, academics and Communist Party officials argue, the country should adopt a new symbol — and they have suggested a cross between a dragon and a phoenix, which symbolises hope and revival. "The dragon is seen in the West as an aggressive monster poised to attack," said Wu Youfu, Communist Party secretary at Shanghai International Studies University.
"The Chinese see themselves as the descendants of the dragon, but this meaning might not be shared by the West. It might be twisted by someone with intentions to hurt the Chinese."
Dragons remain a powerful symbol of wealth and power among the superstitious Chinese and more babies are born in the year of the dragon, under the Chinese 12 animal zodiac system, than any other. The opening of a new business includes a dance by a man-sized puppet dragon, and dragon boat racing is a popular annual tradition.
The Ministry of Culture declined to comment on plans to tame, or drop, the dragon. But despite an attempt by state media to play down the idea, the call to replace the national emblem has sparked fiery public debate. In a culture where every word and relationship is scrutinised for hidden meaning, the possibility of slaying the dragon is being seen as part of Beijing's attempt to airbrush China's image and appease Western sensitivities ahead of the the 2008 Olympic Games.
In a poll of more than 90,000 visitors to one Chinese website, 93 per cent said they wanted to keep the dragon. "We Chinese are the descendents of the dragons. How can we dump our ancestral roots just to please the West?" argued an English language student, Hu Meiyan, 22.
The country's rulers prefer the cuddlier giant panda as an unofficial symbol, but have continued protecting the dragon – at one point banning a Nike television advertisement showing an American basketball player battling a cartoon kung fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons. It said the commercial was disrespectful to the dragon, and so insulted the nation's dignity.
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