BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- A set of stamps to mark the Year of Dragon, slated for sales beginning Thursday, has aroused heated debate on the image of the legendary creature after China Post unveiled the design of the stamp.
"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.
Few mythological beasts could better arouse a national debate in China than the dragon, because Chinese believe they are descendants of the legendary creature.
The stamp for the Year of Dragon, the third set of its kind issued by China Post since 1949, used a make-up that was close to China's first stamp in 1878 during the Qing Dynasty when emperors still reigned the country.
For thousands of years, the Chinese have named each year after an animal in a 12-year cycle. The dragon ranks fifth in the cycle, after the mouse, ox, tiger and rabbit, but before snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. 2012 is the Year of Dragon.