Chaoyang district occupies a big chunk of the properous east side of Beijing city containing the new CCTV building and the “Central Business District” or CBD, the heart of which is a multi-lane spaghetti junction connecting Jianguomenwai Boulevard and the Third Ring Road. In June 10, 2010, the Chaoyang district government published the following announcement on their website:
Recently, a cartoon girl with black hair and big eyes comes into the life of Chaoyang residents. The little girl, named Luo Baobei, is the Cartoon Image Ambassador for Chaoyang District to bid for National Civilized Urban Area. When you drive near the new China Central Television Headquarters, situated at the core area of Beijing CBD, you will see an advertisement panel walls characterized by a cartoon girl as tall as eight meters. The cute and lovely girl is black-haired and features a tidy fringe…
…The little angel Luo Baobei not only appears in advertisements and LED with her big eyes flashing, but dances and poses for pictures with visitors, and recommends the activities and slogan of Chaoyang District for creating a National Civilized Urban Area to the passers-by. Her cute and lovely image as well as her loving words makes her a favorite of the passers-by and the Chaoyang residents.
According to Baidu’s Baike user generated encyclopedia, Luo Baobei is the creation of an animation studio. She was discovered at a “recent” animation festival in Hangzhou, has starred in nearly 1,500 TV programs, and is used in public service advertising (what they used to call propaganda) in Beijing and Hangzhou. Luo Baobei seems to be the end result when ‘soft power’ government subsidies for Chinese animation meet city government propaganda budgets.
Two places have adopted Luo Baobei as a mascot for “civilized behavior”: Chaoyang district in Beijing, and the city of Hangzhou. In Beijing, you can find Luo Baobei on the hoardings outside the still unoccupied CCTV building, and on old residential buildings in Chaoyang district that are slated for demolition. The photos below show how Luo Baobei is slowly taking over Hangzhou (all images by Christopher Cherry).
Click on an image to view at a larger size.
All photos above by Christopher Cherry.
Links and sources
Luo Baobei’s website (unknown who owns it, domain registered to a Mr Liu)
Beijing Chaoyang district government website: Cartoon Girl Luo Baobei Becoming Image Ambassador for Civilization of Chaoyang District, Beijing, 大头洛宝贝 创文明朝阳
Baidu Baike: 洛宝贝 (lengthy but vague history of Luo Baobei)
Seeing Hong: Luo Baobei’s burden
You’re not from around here: Getting tired of being Civilised – Chaoyang, Beijing