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Year of the Dragon Stamp Raises Debate

01-04 17:14 Caijing
Internet users have flooded the microblog with criticism using words such as “roaring”, “intimidating” and “ferocious” to describe the image of the dragon in the new set of stamps to be issued on Thursday.

A set of stamps to mark the Year of the Dragon, which will be on sale on Thursday, has aroused a wide public debate over the image of the dragon sitting in the center with its mouth wide open.

Internet users have flooded the microblog with criticism using words such as “roaring”, “intimidating” and “ferocious” to describe the image of the dragon.

“The moment I saw the design of the dragon stamp on newspaper, I was almost scared to death,” Zhang Yihe, a renowned Chinese writer said in her post on Weibo.com, China’s twitter-like microblog on Tuesday.

Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, and it is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. Chinese people usually call themselves the “Descendents of Dragons”.

Chen Shouhua, designer of the new stamp, upheld his work, saying that the dragon should not be too gentle in image, otherwise it does not fit the portraits of dragon in the minds of most Chinese.

“Dragon is the deity of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodia, and you can’t modernize the creature like cartoons,” Chen said in his blog, “From deity to its modern symbolic of China’s confidence, a tough and strong, dignified and confident image of the dragon should be a proper choice.”

Feng Shula, manager of the circulation department of China Post who is responsible for the issuance of the stamps, backed Chen, saying the image of the dragon is exactly what it should look like.

Such an idea is a reflection of “self-admiration” and “blindness and ignorance” for some Chinese, argued Chinese writer Zhang Yiyi.

“It failed to consider the necessity and urgency to export the Chinese culture regarding the dragon,” Zhang said in his microblog, referring to the positive symbol of the dragon, which in contrast to European dragons that are considered evil.

At Madian, a philatelic market in downtown Beijing, the new set of dragon stamps have been overbooked at prices much higher than its face value of 24 yuan ($3.8).

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