Chinese artists are calling for less govenment control over culture—thanks to a cartoon bear. Americans can learn from this as well.

 Image from 'Kung Fu Panda'

The animated comedy hit Kung Fu Panda has inspired some serious soul-searching among Chinese artists, Reuters reports.

The film, which tells the story of a chubby panda who cannot reach his real potential until he realizes that he already has the ability in him, ironically has prompted some Chinese artists to take the message seriously and call for government reform and removal of strictures on the nation’s cultural providers:

"The film’s protagonist is China’s national treasure and all the elements are Chinese, but why didn’t we make such a film?" Wu Jiang, president of the China National Peking Opera Company, was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency on Saturday.

Lu Chuan, a young film director, applauded "Kung Fu Panda" as a fresh and rich take on Chinese culture, mixing references to martial arts films with classic legends.

"I cannot help wondering when China will be able to produce a movie of this caliber," he wrote in the China Daily on Saturday.

Lu argues that government interference is the problem, Reuters notes:

Lu said the government was stifling the creativity of China’s filmmakers, explaining how he had been asked to make an animated film for the Olympic Games, which will be hosted by Beijing in August, but decided to walk away from the project. "

"I kept receiving directions and orders on how the movie should be like," he said. "The fun and joy from doing something interesting left us, together with our imagination and creativity."

In addition, the story noted, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress—an advisory body to the Chinese parliament—debated why no film like Kung Fu Panda has been made in China. Their conclusion: the government should allow more creative freedom.

There’s a lesson here for Americans, too: loosening government’s grip on the economy would enable us to unleash vastly more human creativity and greatly increase the nation’s material prosperity.

Thus even whimsical films such as Kung Fu Panda can help in the grand work of recreating a culture of liberty in this nation.