The Chinese military is deeply worried about some cartoon animals.
That, at least, is the impression one gets from a Wednesday column in the People’s Liberation Army Daily, which calls the kids’ movie Zootopia “invisible propaganda.”
“How can a sheep be turned into a ‘crazy’ scapegoat?” demands Wang Chuanbao, as translated by the Wall Street Journal. Wang is a professor at a military-backed university who apparently had time to watch the Disney movie.
“Hollywood has always been an effective American propaganda tool,” he warns. “If we are at the mercy of Zootopia and other films, how can our cultural territory not become eroded?”
To understand (sort of) Wang’s complaint, one must first know that Zootopia’s story involves a sheep who—spoiler alert—turns out to be the villain. But that, Wang says, is very, very wrong.
“In the brutal real world, it is always wolves eating sheep instead of sheep eating wolves,” Wang carefully explains. “Such a principle, which even children understand, can be so easily turned on its head by Hollywood and even draws in so many viewers.”
So there you have it. If the United States ever goes to war with China, our secret weapon may be our ability to confuse Chinese children—and their addled grandparents in the military—into thinking sheep eat wolves.