NANJING, Dec. 18 -- A Chinese court on Wednesday decided the producer of a popular animation was partly to blame for injuries to two children when another child imitated an episode of the TV series.
The two brothers, Ran Ran, 7, and Hao Hao, 4, from Donghai County in east China's Jiangsu Province, were badly burnt on April 6, when they were tied to a tree and set alight by their friend Shun Shun, 10, who confessed he was imitating a scene from the cartoon "Xi Yangyang & Hui Tailang (Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf)".
Hao Hao suffered 80 percent burns. Ran Ran was less seriously injured with burns to 40 percent of his body.
Shun Shun's legal guardians and the cartoon producer -- Guangzhou's Creative Power Entertaining Co., Ltd. -- are jointly responsible for the two brothers' injuries, according to the verdict of the court.
The cartoon is aimed at children, so producers are obliged to scrutinize violence carefully, said the court, adding that inappropriate scenes should be cut and warnings given.
The cartoon has previously shown several scenes of violence, generating negative effects and resulting in serious consequences, the court said.
According to the ruling, Shun Shun's guardians will pay 60 percent of the injured brothers' compensation and the cartoon producer will shoulder 15 percent.
Shi Tou, father of a three-year-old boy in Beijing, said he limits his son's viewing of such cartoons since children enjoy imitating cartoon characters.
Parents are obliged to educate and correct their children when they are found to unconsciously mimic some improper actions, according to Shi.
Most parents in big cities are busy with their work so they are unlikely to always keep an eye on their children. The government should adopt more careful screening process to protect children from violence, Shi said.
A mother of a primary school boy, surnamed Fang, said she would never allow her son to watch "Xi Yangyang" even though it is extremely popular among Chinese children.
She believes the animation which uses exaggerated pranks to attract children tends to be a bit vulgar and boring though it has a good theme of encouraging children to unite and overcome difficulties.
Fang attributed the tragedy to lack of parental supervision and correction.
Fan Hesheng, a professor at School of Sociology and Political Science at Anhui University, echoed Fang's views, adding that parents should be responsible for educating their children to cherish life.
However, Fan believes the producer should get a harsher punishment as a warning to others.
Driven by profit, some animation companies ignore the negative effects of violence and porn to boost viewing figures, Fan said while calling for the establishment and enforcement of a grading system for animations, movies and TV programs for children.