China's Cat-and-Mouse Game

After bashing each other with frying pans for decades, cat-and-mouse cartoon combo Tom and Jerry are fighting a new battle--against Chinese nationalism. Beijing's censors banned the pair from the airwaves in October because Chinese producers had given them voices in local dialects instead of Mandarin, the national language. The ban reflected the government's effort to unify China's disparate regions by stressing national over regional interests. Yet these days, China's profit-driven media are pulling in the opposite direction by marketing to provincial pride. A hot-selling series of new books, for instance, celebrates local mores. I Am a Northeastern Man champions the grace...

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