Channel Your Inner Ne Zha, Says Party Paper Commentary

The summer blockbuster that broke box office records is now being touted as a model for cadres’ good behavior.

The eponymous protagonist of summer blockbuster “Ne Zha,” who happens to be one of Chinese mythology’s most beloved rebels, is now also been endorsed as a role model.

According to a commentary published Thursday on a Communist Party-affiliated news portal, cadres should adopt certain values from Ne Zha — a teenage iconoclast who defies his destiny to become a demon — and embody the rambunctious character’s spirit. The commentary also encourages party members to “consume the nutrients” offered by Ne Zha “to better serve development in the new era.”

Adapted from the literary classic “Fengshen Yanyi,” or “The Investiture of the Gods,” the animated movie has set a new domestic record for the highest box office opening for any animated film in China, raking in over 3.8 billion yuan ($540 million) as of Thursday. “Ne Zha” is set to release in Australia and New Zealand in late August, while plans for screenings in Canada and the United States are also underway.

Amid the movie’s roaring success in China, the Thursday’s commentary recommends that all party members channel Ne Zha in three particular ways.

Indomitable Spirit

In the original classic, set in the Shang dynasty (from around 1600–1046 BC), Ne Zha is born as the third son to garrison commander Li Jing, and is seen as a symbol of opposition to autocracy and the patriarchy. The teen hero sacrifices himself to save his people from the Dragon King’s rage and is later reborn a divine figure.

However, in the animated adaptation, Ne Zha is born to become a demon but refuses to accept that his fate is predetermined. “I control my own destiny … If fate is unfair, I will fight to the end,” he says in the movie. Continue to read the full article here.


This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.