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Chinese rabbit cartoon blocked after skewering govt

A blood-soaked cartoon that marks the Year of the Rabbit has proven an online hit, with its thinly veiled stab at China's communist rulers was unavailable on websites today, apparently deleted by skittish government censors.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2011 14:43 IST

A blood-soaked cartoon that marks the Year of the Rabbit by portraying a bunny revolt against brutal tiger overlords has proven an online hit, with its thinly veiled stab at China's communist rulers.

The "South Park"-style video by animator Wang Bo, in which the persecuted rabbits overthrow the tigers, went viral on video-sharing sites in recent days thanks to its gruesome depiction of a number of recent scandals.

It was unavailable on websites on Thursday, apparently deleted by skittish government censors.

Bo's cartoon begins with baby rabbits who die horribly from drinking "Sanlu" milk. Sanlu is the now-defunct Chinese dairy giant that was at the centre of a huge scandal in 2008 over tainted milk.

The milk was blamed for killing six infants and sickening 300,000 others.

In the online video, rabbit parents are then savagely beaten by tiger thugs when they complain, or are cruelly run over by cars and killed.

The latter scenario is an obvious reference to two recent notorious cases.

In one, the son of a police official in northern China accused of striking and killing a pedestrian in October while driving drunk was tried this week. He reportedly tried to escape arrest at the scene by invoking his father's name.

In another, a village chief was crushed by a truck last month. Villagers allege he was killed by local officials to silence his complaints about his land being seized by authorities.

The bunnies in the video are a reference to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, which begins on February 3, while 2010 was the Year of the Tiger.

After an orgy of violence as the bunnies rise up en masse, the video ends with a character saying: "It will really be an interesting year."

China operates a huge system of online censorship that deletes content considered a threat to the primacy of the ruling Communist Party.

But the video remains available abroad on YouTube. See video


China's leaders are scrambling to contain public anger over a range of hot-button issues such as official abuses and the rising costs of food and housing.

This week, Premier Wen Jiabao paid an unprecedented visit to an office in Beijing where members of the public can petition the government over their grievances.

Wen pledged the government would go all-out to address public concerns, but Human Rights Watch dismissed his appearance as a political charade.