Monday, August 19, 2013

Cirque du Soleil Shocks Beijing Audience

A Cirque du Soleil performance in Beijing shocked the audience of about 15,000 when a banned image of the iconic Tiananmen "tank man" protester was displayed on giant screens.

The image of a sole, unarmed protester blocking a line of tanks during a 1989 government crackdown in Tiananmen Square was displayed for about four seconds as part of a montage of protest imagery during a performance of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us".

The image (and any mention of the massacre itself) is banned in China, raising questions of how it made it into the show past the attention of government censors.

Cirque du Soleil's publicist said that "the image was removed immediately and is no longer shown" in the show. The Canadian performance troupe had submitted the full show for prior approval by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, as visiting performers are required. The rest of the scheduled performances will go on as planned.

The incident occurred during the first night of a three-night run of the troupe's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. Subsequent performances proceeded without the "tank man" image. 

 The incident made one user of the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service take offence at the image's inclusion. "Why can't you separate politics and art?" read the comment. "What would the Americans think if you put a photo of the collapsing World Trade Center in the show? Keep it out of the performance, stupid French Canadians!"

Live Long and Prosper...

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