Later this month the world will enter 4710: the year of the dragon, the most ferocious of Chinese zodiac years. Turns out, so is the stamp that ChinaPost created to commemorate it.
Xinhua reports that the new stamp, which features a design based on an 1878 stamp from the Qing dynasty, is causing an uproar on China's microblogging site, Webo. Some comments expressed fear, while others suggested the frightening pose could be seen as an unofficial mascot of the Chinese Foreign Ministry:
"The moment I saw the design of the dragon stamp on newspaper, I was almost scared to death," Zhang Yihe, a noted writer said in her post on weibo.com, China's Twitter-like social networking service and microblogging service provider, on Tuesday.
"The dragon on the stamp looks too ferocious," echoed one post on the Web.
"It is roaring and intimidating," read another.
"This shocking creature on the stamp could well be the emblem of the Foreign Ministry," one blogger wrote. A Peking University student agreed, saying "I suggest we use this dragon stamp as the Foreign Ministry's mascot," according to the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper reported that dragons "were used as totems by Chinese emperors to signal their imperial power." As NPR reported, 2011's year of the rabbit stamp featured a cuddly bunny that could be mistaken for a Marshmallow Peep, so it's no wonder people are suddenly alarmed.