Q Park in Qingdao, Shandong province was meant to be a flashy new shot-in-the-arm industrial hub for the animation industry in China. But today the front page of the Qingdao Daily laments the sorry state of Q Park with a reference to a line from an ancient poem entitled Yellow Crane Tower (黄鹤楼) by the eighth century Tang Dynasty poet Cui Hao (崔颢). The poem reads “The people of former days have all mounted yellow cranes and gone away, now all that’s left in this place is the empty Yellow Crane Tower”. With a sense of infinite sadness, the line denotes that the past will never return, the good days are gone forever.
Where hundreds of animators used to throng about using the latest technology, this Yellow Crane Tower of Q Park now stands as a stark microcosm of China’s faltering animation industry that is still searching desperately to wean itself off government subsidies as it struggles to give expression to its own unique style.