China Censors Beijing’s Giant Inflatable Toad Sculpture

Beijing's giant inflatable toad sculpture.
Via Twitter.

A 72-foot-tall giant inflatable sculpture of a golden toad that was unveiled last month floating on a lake in Beijing’s Yuyuantan Park has become the target of Chinese censors, it seems, after it was likened on social media to former president and Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, the BBC reports. Zemin was frequently referred to as “The Toad” during his presidency.

The inflatable toad, an attempt to replicate the hysteria over Florentijn Hofman‘s giant Rubber Duck sculpture and court good luck—Jin Chan, the Money Toad, is a popular symbol of good fortune and prosperity in China—has disappeared from the Chinese media.

Instead, the Qianjiang Evening News published an article, excerpted in China Daily, calling the inflatable toad an imitation that not only has little artistic merit, but that also symbolizes the worst traits of the Chinese populace:

The toad, like many other products in China, is just a poor attempt to replicate the success of an original work. Smartphones using the designs of Apple iPhones but selling at much lower prices are another example. What people who make these imitations don’t realize is that they are violating intellectual property rights and killing the potential of true innovation in the country in their quest to make quick money. It is, therefore, necessary for the government to take strict measures to stop such people from ruining China’s image in the international community.

The Qianjiang Evening News explains that the success of the Rubber Duck—a version of which was recently swept away by flooding in southern China—has spawned many imitators. “Since copies and imitations that start flooding the markets don’t have that freshness or charm, they can only invite public ridicule and scorn,” the article states. “And that is what the giant yellow toad is expected to do.”

Hofman’s Rubber Duck was the target of a similar Chinese social media censorship campaign last year after an image of the playful sculpture photoshopped into the iconic “Tank Man” photo went viral on the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

It’s unclear if Yuyuantan Park’s giant toad is still standing, or if its luck has run out.

[h/t ArtFCity]

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