China takes down ‘too ugly’ giant rabbit lantern after complaints from internet users

A rabbit decoration in Nanjing, China (AFP via Getty Images)
A rabbit decoration in Nanjing, China (AFP via Getty Images)

A giant rabbit lantern in the middle of a street in southwest China has been taken down after it drew widespread ridicule from internet users who called it “ugly”, “hideous” and “monster-like”.

The life-size rabbit lantern with red eyes and human hands with human-like expressions was erected in Sanxia Square in Chongqing, ahead of the celebrations for the upcoming Chinese New Year on 22 January.

The Sangxia Square Commercial District Management Committee ordered the dismantling of the figure after complaints that the rabbit lantern was embarrassing.

“Internet users say that the rabbit lantern at the square is too embarrassing. After the complaint, we got someone to demolish it,” the committee told local media outlet Hongxin News.

Huge rabbit decorations have popped up all over China. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.

While a rabbit is considered an adorable and gentle animal in Chinese culture the lantern was not well received by people on social media.

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“The rabbit has thick eyebrows and looks like a man with a serious expression. Is this a festive rabbit?” a Chinese user said of messaging app WeChat.

Pictures and videos on Chinese news outlets showed workers’ climbing atop huge lantern and tearing down the rabbit.

It prompted several to argue against its removal and said creativity should be given a chance.

“I don’t think it’s ugly,” one user on Weibo said. “But it’s certainly not pretty.”

Similar special stamps featuring a rabbit for the Year of the Rabbit by China Post received criticism earlier this month.

The mascot showed a blue rabbit with red eyes holding a pen and a piece of paper. The stamp was designed by renowned painter Huang Yongyu.

However, several on social media compared it to a rat and called it “evil” and “horrible”.