In Beijing, the magic of the Universal park operates despite tensions with the United States

By Frédéric Lemaître

Posted today at 00:35, updated at 10:36

Universal. In Xi Jinping’s China, this single term slams like a provocation, even an insult. If the country published a dictionary of received ideas, it would read: “Universal: notion created by the imperialists to justify their desire to dominate the world. Ex: universal values. Preferably use “western” or add “so-called”. “

However, since September 20, tens of thousands of Chinese have not hesitated to get up early in the morning or even spend a sleepless night to be at 9 a.m. sharp at the entrance to the amusement park that the Hollywood studio comes to. to open southeast of Beijing, just twenty kilometers from the walls of the Forbidden City.

Despite a high price (count at least 50 euros), entrance tickets are snapped up in a few minutes as soon as they are put online and on site, visitors flock to the souvenir shops. Average expenditure per family: around 3,000 yuan (400 euros). Almost as much as the average salary of a park employee (3,500 yuan per month).

Harry potter superstar

Without leaving the capital, Chinese who can afford it can take a selfie on a replica of Hollywood Boulevard, compete with the robots of Transformers, feign fear in front of the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, get splashed during the show at Waterworld and be moved by the creatures of Minion Land.

But the real hero of the park is neither a robot nor a bizarre creature, nor even Kung Fu Panda, the only concession to the local culture: the one towards which the young people are rushing is none other than a young British binocular, the sympathetic Harry Potter.

In this country where many teenagers cram from morning to night, seven days a week to get the best possible mark on the graduation exam, young adults do not hesitate to take a day off to reconnect with the pleasures of a childhood of which they were deprived.

Young Chinese particularly appreciate the world of Harry Potter.  In Beijing, September 20, 2021.

It doesn’t matter that the magic wand approaches 50 euros (349 yuan), that the invisibility cloak is worth more than double: when you regress, you don’t count. There are thousands of them, around their thirties, who love playing sorcerer’s apprentices, marveling that a pumpkin opens up inside a display case as soon as they point their plastic wand made in China at it, and to stand in line to order a butter beer without respecting any social distancing.

Everything that Chinese power hates

At the sight of this runaway, we pinch ourselves. This spectacle, almost under Xi Jinping’s windows, is it politically correct? No, of course.

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