Earlier this week the Chinese government clamped down on the Internet, as they do every June 4th, to quell any traffic glorifying the Tiananmen Square protests. Someone promptly released the Photoshopped image you see above, where the tanks are replaced by ducks. But while gigantic rubber duckies may be getting the Communist Party's goat, it's not the gigantic rubber duckies from the image above.
This is a little convoluted, but bear with us: In 2007, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman created an enormous, floating, inflatable rubber duck, some 26 meters long, 20 meters wide and a whopping 32 meters tall.
He set it afloat in St. Nazaire, on France's west coast, and it became so popular that Hofman's continued releasing newer (usually smaller) iterations of the duck in various world cities: São Paulo, Auckland, Sydney, Osaka, and others. This year a 14×15×16.5 meter version popped up in Hong Kong Harbor, causing a heavily-shared ripple through Facebook.
Shortly thereafter, knockoff giant rubber ducks not sanctioned nor created by Hofman then began appearing in the Chinese cities of Xi'an, Wuhan and Dongguan. According to New Legal Review, a publication that covers legal strategy and IP issues, it rankled the Commies:
The fakes have been greeted with a dismayed editorial in newspaper the People's Daily, which is generally held to be the press wing of the Chinese Communist Party. According to the column, the fake ducks provide the wider world with a poor impression of China's efforts to create its own, original works.
'The more yellow ducks are there, the further we are from Hofman's anti-commercialisation spirit, and the more obvious is our weak creativity,' the paper said. 'It's good that the rubber duck is popular, but it's sad to see the innovation of our country go down. We often talk about awareness and confidence in our own culture, but where do they come from? Definitely not from following new trends.' Fakery on this scale 'will ruin our creativity and our future and lead to the loss of imagination', it added.
Of all the things that might spur the Chinese government into clamping down on design piracy, who'd have thought a mammoth rubber duck would do the trick?