Chinese Netizens Go Bananas Over CCTV Spring Festival Gala Mascot

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Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) users have long been famous for their sense of humor and creativity.  This has been proven yet again as they voiced their opinions over a graphic design for the Year of Monkey.  Yesterday, the official Weibo account of China Central Television (CCTV) released this year’s mascot design for its Spring Festival Gala, an annual variety show broadcast on the eve of Chinese New Year which has a yearly viewership of over 700 million, making it one of the premier television events of China.

Screenshot of CCTV's Weibo post

Screenshot of CCTV’s Weibo post

Conceived by Chinese artist Han Meilin (韓美林), who is known for designing the Beijing Olympics Fuwa mascots, this year’s mascot features an adorable monkey named Kangkang (康康) with colorful face, at least that was the intention, based on Han’s draft.


Han Meilin’s draft design, released by CCTV

However, the 3D rendering of Han’s design, which was released by CCTV at the same time, was widely ridiculed by Weibo users.

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The CCTV Weibo post was reposted over thirty five thousand times within hours, and over forty thousand comments and emojis have flooded the comments section.


Although Weibo is often a battlefield for debates over various social and ideological issues, this time, netizens nearly unanimously criticized the 3-D rendering for being too ugly and losing the spirit in the original design.  Of course, creative Weibo users soon began making fun of the failed rendering with their own designs.

There is this brilliant monkey traffic light:


and this much cuter depiction of the same simian made by Weibo user @小矛:


Other parodies quickly appeared overnight:








In response to the mockery, the 80-year old artist posted on Weibo: “…so far I have only designed a head image; I have not participated anything else, and I have never seen the 3D design.”  Accompanying his post were some of his other monkey designs, which are adored by Weibo users.



This is only the second year that CCTV has released a mascot for the Spring Festival Gala.  Last year’s Yangyang (阳阳) looks just fine compared to Kangkang.


So, how did the 3D mock-up look realized as an actual doll?  Weibo user @魏泽楷 lets the world know: “Uncle brought me a mascot toy from Beijing — ‘Attack on Titan monkey’.  I am so scared ???,” making a reference to the popular Japanese manga and film about grotesque giant humanoids.


All images are screenshots from Weibo.  If you have an account, you can search the tag #猴年春晚吉祥物# to see more posts about Kangkang.