January 25, 2012 – China Embraces 2012 Apocalypse: A still taken from Roland Emmerich’s “2012″ shows one of the arks China builds to save the world’s elite from a global cataclysm.
While many Chinese are determined to have baby in the Year of the Dragon, others have yet a different reason to procreate in 2012: They fear it may be their last chance.
All across China citizens are expressing the belief that in this year, the world may come to an end.
“Husband, the end of the world is drawing near, why don’t we have a baby. We have 10 months left,” said one user of the popular Twitter-like micro blogging service Sina Weibo. Her comment was only one of many in a thread that’s been started about the end of humanity.
What’s behind this belief? Look no further than “2012,” director Roland Emmerich’s 2009 film about a global disaster that brought the end of the world.
While the movie received a luke-warm reception in the U.S., Chinese audiences latched onto it. With $466 million in Chinese box office revenues, “2012″ ranks as one of Hollywood’s top-grossing films of all time in China, according to film industry research company EntGroup.
Viewers were taken by the doomsday storyline of the impending apocalypse and the big Hollywood special effects, but seemed particularly drawn to the portrayal of Chinese as the good guys. The ark that helps save humanity is made in China.
Though nearly three years have passed since the film debuted in the world’s most populous country, Chinese are still obsessed with the idea that this Hollywood blockbuster could be prophetic.
“Have you bought your tickets for the boat?” has become a common question across the nation and was used frequently on the web in reaction to the deaths of world leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Many Chinese speculated Kim and Gadhafi had faked their deaths do disguise their plans to board the ark.
Some Chinese are seizing on the opportunity of the 2012 fright. On Taobao.com, China’s largest e-commerce site by sales, some merchants are selling boarding passes for the Zhuo Ming Gu Ark. VIP tickets are available for five yuan each.
And while much of the end-times hysteria may tongue-in-cheek, some are taking it rather seriously. One man in China’s Henan province attempted to build his own ark out of a refurbished oil tank that he said were waterproof, could fit 20 people, included a food storage section and provided adequate air circulation, the state-run Global Times reported, citing Henan media outlet Dahe Daily.
In a country where couples are rushing to have babies out a belief that offspring born in this year of the zodiac cycle will be powerful and mystical, it is perhaps not surprising that the 2012 hype has built to such a crescendo.
To be sure, not every Chinese citizen subscribes to the movie’s predictions for 2012. Some are fairly aware of the likely outcome that all this dragon baby and apocalypse fury will have.
“It’s dragon year and if the end of the world doesn’t really come, 2013 will be a major baby boom for the world,” another Weibo user wrote.
The Master of Disaster