The right holder chose to give his permission to adapt the cartoon in a movie. In this case he insisted that it is going to be a real life actors film and that it would be a co-production with a Chinese production company. (Article 10 (14) Copyright Law: the right of adaptation, that is, the right to change a work to create a new work of originality);
The right holder authorised the filmmakers to make some changes, not too much, because the character of Sanmao may not be damaged. (Article 10 (3) Copyright Law: The right of alteration, that is, the right to alter or authorize others to alter one's work);
The right holder protects the Chinese character Sanmao, based on his right of integrity. (Article 10 (4) Copyright Law: the right of integrity, that is, the right to protect one's work against distortion and mutilation).
Read the Danwei interview here.