Just don't do it: China bans Nike's basketball advert

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The Independent Online

A Nike television advert showing US basketball star LeBron James in battle with a cartoon kung fu master has been banned in China.

A Nike television advert showing US basketball star LeBron James in battle with a cartoon kung fu master has been banned in China.

The commercial, titled "Chamber of Fear", was shown on the national sports channel and local and state television before it was pulled last month amid authority claims that it was an insult to national dignity.

It shows James in a video game-style setting defeating the kung fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons, considered a sacred symbol in Chinese culture.

The advert "violates regulations that mandate that all advertisements in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland's culture", the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said in a statement posted on its website.

"The ad has received an indignant response from Chinese viewers," it added. Westerners' use of Chinese cultural symbols is a sensitive issue and officials may have been angered that the foreigner won the fight.

Maurice Zhou, a spokesman in Shanghai for Nike, said the company had no response except that it "respected the government's decision".

The commercial is part of fast-growing foreign efforts to cash in on the rising popularity of basketball in China. LeBron James is one of the NBA's best players.

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