TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Images of tickets to the Chinese Sci-fi disaster film "The Wandering Earth" have surfaced on Chinese social media showing tickets to the film indicating that only China's Communist Party can save the planet.
Days after the film's release on Feb. 5, images started to surface on the Chinese social media site Weibo showing tickets with the words "only the Communist Party can save Earth" (只有共产党可以救地球) printed at the bottom. Seeming to confirm speculation that the film is yet another in a series of movies designed to stoke Chinese nationalism.
Though many Chinese netizens themselves were suspicious that the tickets were fake, Hong Kong's Apple Daily reports that the original poster of the images swears by their authenticity. However, some Chinese netizens speculate that the extra text at the bottom may not be automatically printed by the system itself, but the ticket purchaser may be a "black diamond member."
Such special members pay for a subscription which allows them to add extra text to their ticket.
The film is based on a book by the same name by Liu Cixin and takes its name from a decision by citizens of Earth to move it away from the solar system as the Sun is turning into a red giant and threatening the planet's destruction. The film covers efforts by Chinese protagonists to save the Earth, and they try to navigate it through the solar system on its way to a new home near Alpha Centauri.
Chinese state-run mouthpieces such as the People's Daily and Global Times have trumpeted the film with headlines such as "Sure enough, only Chinese can save the Earth in this way." They also praise the approach of taking the Earth with them, rather than escaping on ships, as showing how Chinese do not forget their origins and "take their ancestral home with them as they leave."
Outside the bubble of China's state-run media, the reaction has been mixed to the film thus far. Though some Chinese praised it as a milestone for China's science fiction genre, some viewers found that the visual effects overpowered the storyline, and criticized it for copying the formula behind Hollywood's disaster films.
Some netizens described it as a copy of the "Only Americans can save the world," template and simply changing it to "Only Chinese can save the world." Film critics say that the story is very similar to other doomsday films in which only humans are able to save the Earth.
Other netizens worry that the film might actually kill China's budding science fiction genre before it gets off the ground by becoming a space version of propaganda pics "Wolf Warrior," "Operation Red Sea," or "Amazing China."
Chinese reads "Only Communist Party can save Earth." (Weibo image)