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Catapharact
26-05-06, 15:43
Curse of the Bureaucrats

Voodoo dolls are all the rage in China—especially now that the government has banned them.

Web Exclusive

By Quindlen Krovatin

May 24, 2006 - Not content with jailing subversive reporters and restricting access to prodemocracy Web sites, the Chinese government has turned its attentions to a new destabilizing influence: voodoo dolls. Central government authorities are so bothered by the political implications of the dolls that they banned them entirely from Beijing's retail stores in April.

The dolls have become increasingly popular among the Middle Kingdom's misanthropes and trend-conscious teens. Customers purchase a doll (pin included), attach a piece of paper bearing the name of their enemy to the doll and then stab away. Voodoo Dolls Online offers a wide range of dolls in assorted colors. "Do you want to make your enemy feel as if someone is always stalking him behind his back?" reads the caption next to a doll clad in black. " 'The Magic Shadow Killer' will thoroughly destroy his spirit." Another popular item is the "Little Angel," which purportedly brings good luck and helps its owner find true love.

Authorities at Beijing's Industrial and Commercial Management Department claim the dolls encourage superstition and "promote feudalism and feudal beliefs." When officials first cracked down on the import of dolls from Thailand two months ago, Chinese entrepreneurs filled the growing demand by making the toys themselves, wrapping colorful yarn around wire skeletons and adorning each with a crude felt heart. The toys were a marvel of marketing: told that one doll could not be used to harm multiple enemies, the youths who bought them kept coming back for new ones as their hit lists grew in length. Moreover, some stores offered protective dolls that could ward off attacks from other would-be witch doctors.

But now even these homegrown innovators are under attack. In April, after receiving complaints from concerned parents, the Beijing Industrial and Commercial Management Department confiscated all dolls still on sale in the city and issued strict warnings to toy vendors. "We have been told we will be fined and even imprisoned if we continue to sell voodoo dolls," says Huang Xiaoli, a saleswoman in a toy store in the Xidan Mingzhu Market. "The police are serious," she adds. "This is not like pirated DVDs, where the authorities say 'Do not sell these,' and then look the other way while people sell them. Policemen have visited me twice since the ban took effect in April. They really believe voodoo dolls can hurt children." Five separate toy merchants from various parts of Beijing confirmed the ban. A Ministry of Commerce official would not elaborate on its policy toward the dolls—a common practice when authorities are asked about politically sensitive decisions—but by way of explanation he directed a reporter to a law prohibiting the sale of items that foster what the government sees as feudal thought.

Voodoo dolls can still be purchased in cities outside of Beijing, such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou, where central-government policy can be slower to take hold, but already citizens across the country are calling for the Communist Party to enforce a nationwide ban. The Guangdong Provincial Communist Youth League Committee issued a public statement on May 4, the anniversary of China's liberation from imperial rule, calling for a boycott of voodoo dolls and labeling those who buy them "a disgrace to socialism for believing in feudal superstitions."

However, as is the case with all outlawed vices, the sale of voodoo dolls continues to flourish on the Internet. Web sites hawking the dolls have proliferated, customers can bid on dolls on auction Web sites such as eBay and China's Alibaba, and the phenomenon continues unabated in Korea and Japan, where their sale has never been restricted. Some critics feel that the government, by expending so much energy on the dolls, is only lending credence to the traditional Chinese belief in the power of curses and black magic. "Until a month ago, I was selling 10, maybe 11 voodoo dolls a day," says Chen, the owner of a toy store in southwestern Beijing who declined to give his full name when speaking ill of the government for fear of reprisal. "I think most of the kids bought them because they were popular, not because they wanted to hurt each other. The government looks foolish when it acts scared of some silly toys. These things only have power if you believe in them."

Since the initial crackdown, there have been no voodoo-doll-related arrests, although vendors who continue to sell the dolls run the risk of incurring a hefty fine per voodoo doll in their possession. Whether a nationwide ban will be instituted remains to be seen. Regardless, the Chinese government is once more confronting the problems that arise when a market economy and socialist ideology collide.

scion05
26-05-06, 15:43
i want one :D

MiCkiZ88
26-05-06, 15:44
I want one aswell.. :D

LegenDarY
26-05-06, 15:51
funny how you always post an enormous text and don't add your comment on it..

but as for the dolls.. i thinks it's stupid.. something like that is just a popular thing that won't last for long.. it's popular for a while.. and it will be forgotten as soon as the next-popular-thing comes flying by :p

xMiSsCrOfTx
26-05-06, 15:59
Erm, that's strange... Remind me not to go to China. :eek:

Rivendell
26-05-06, 15:59
How fitting! I watched this last night:

http://www.jokaroo.com/extremevideos/criss_angel_voodoo_magic.html

MiCkiZ88
26-05-06, 16:01
:D

Catapharact
26-05-06, 16:09
funny how you always post an enormous text and don't add your comment on it..

My comment? Crazes are for dummies. Does anyone recall the little "pet rock" craze? I see this little event on a similar level.

xMiSsCrOfTx
26-05-06, 16:12
Does anyone recall the little "pet rock" craze?

Omg, those were so stupid :vlol:

LegenDarY
26-05-06, 16:15
My comment? Crazes are for dummies.
Is a craze something that's popular for a while untill something new popular comes along? like those tamagotchi's?

cause that's what i meant.. i just don't know the right for it.. unly the dutch word :p

this is a tamagotchi btw.. was very popular for a while in the Netherlands :p
http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B0009WPKXQ.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

xMiSsCrOfTx
26-05-06, 16:18
Wow, I remember Tomagotchis too!!! They were really popular in the US a longggg time ago. Haha, I had like, seven. :D

tha_mattster
26-05-06, 16:26
I liked tamagotchi's they were funny, but I couldnt keep mine alive! I managed to keep a real dog alive for over ten years so far though :D

Voodoo dolls are stupid, if you want to hurt someone dont stick needles in a doll, stick it in the person's eyes! x.x

LegenDarY
26-05-06, 16:34
Voodoo dolls are stupid, if you want to hurt someone dont stick needles in a doll, stick it in the person's eyes! x.x
ahhaahh lmao, good example you're setting there :vlol:

Angel666
26-05-06, 17:56
I loved my Tomigotchi!!! But it died. :( Remember Furbies?

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c85/psycochick65/furby.jpg

Those things were the embodiement of evil. :yik: *shudder*

Catapharact
26-05-06, 18:01
Furby! Devil's Work! Lol!

I used to hate them with a passion, until someone sent me a copy of a prankcall someone made to customer service as to how his furby had murderous intents and wanted to kill the entire family.

Angel666
26-05-06, 18:03
:vlol:

ILG49ers
26-05-06, 18:14
I loved my Tomigotchi!!! But it died. :( Remember Furbies?

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c85/psycochick65/furby.jpg

Those things were the embodiement of evil. :yik: *shudder*

:yik: For some reason, those things always frightened me when I was younger.

Jake Croft
26-05-06, 18:14
Screenie of a voodoo doll please
-Has never seen one-
Edit: Forgot my manners :)

Geck-o-Lizard
26-05-06, 19:12
My god. I hated Furbies so much and I never even had one. I heard stories from the kid next door who got one for Christmas... Eventually she tired of it. She couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so she locked it in a cupboard. Sometimes at night it would start cackling to itself and chattering away in the dark. o_O

I don't remember a pet rock craze though?

But what about pogs; anyone remember them? Those little plastic discs of awsomeness that would have a picture on the top, and you could do battles for the shinies your mates had by flipping them. :D

errevet
26-05-06, 19:16
Ever seen The blair wich project?

When i first discovered that it wasn't fiction, i don't like voodoo ;)

Angel666
26-05-06, 19:26
I remember pogs! I had like 200 of those things. :D Remember the slap bracelets? I still have mine. :jmp:

Greenkey2
26-05-06, 19:32
My god. I hated Furbies so much and I never even had one. I heard stories from the kid next door who got one for Christmas... Eventually she tired of it. She couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so she locked it in a cupboard. Sometimes at night it would start cackling to itself and chattering away in the dark. o_O

:vlol: :eek: WooooOOOooooooo......

I don't remember a pet rock craze though?

I do....:( :hea: Pointless......

But what about pogs; anyone remember them? Those little plastic discs of awsomeness that would have a picture on the top, and you could do battles for the shinies your mates had by flipping them. :D

OMG I thought everyone had forgotten them! :eek: :jmp: I never had any but I remember them in the playground when I was at primary school. That was before the teachers decided to confiscate them. You never know; one of the little brats might have choked on one (kids, not teachers :pi:)...:rolleyes:

GeckoKid
26-05-06, 19:44
now i want one :D