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Chinese Netizens See Symbolism in Viral Stage Collapse Video

Cartoonist Biantailajiao capture the collapse of China Dream with his drawing.

Cartoonist Biantailajiao captures the collapse of China Dream with his drawing.

Eight people were hurt, two of them badly, when a stage five meters off the ground collapsed while some 80 police officers were rehearing for a singing contest in China's Bijie city in Guizhou Province on May 8.

The accident was recorded and the video went viral on social media. Instead of showing sympathy, many people made fun of the incident with comments such as “The Chinese Dream is too heavy!” or “Showtime for the collapse of the Chinese Dream,” referring to President Xi Jinping's oft-cited phrase promoting national revitalization. Below is a YouTube backup of the video:

The theme of the singing contest was “The Chinese Dream and the Beauty of Labour”, which is part of national propaganda jointly organized by the All China Federation of Trade Unions, the Central Propaganda Department and the China Central Television Station (CCTV).

Twitter user @hnjhj mocked a CCTV news anchor’ tone of voice and commented:

To celebrate the Mother's Day for our mother country, the Bijie city theatre in Guizhou Province puts on a grand performance of “The Collapse of the Chinese Dream.”

Built in 2008, the theatre is a landmark in Bijie city; at the time, construction cost about RMB 90 million (approximately 14.5 million US dollars). The fragility of the stage reminded many of the “tofu-dreg” school buildings that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, killing thousands of students. The term tofu dregs, which are the bits leftover in the tofu-making process, is often used to refer to shoddy construction work.

The sarcastic remarks about the Chinese dream being too heavy offer a glimpse of Chinese people's discontent with authorities’ empty political slogans. Cartoonist Biantai Lajiao captured the sentiment with a drawing (see image on top) showing a ship full of police officers sinking slowly into the sea.

However, the story was taken down from web portals and negative comments on Chinese social media were scrubbed soon after. Boxun, an overseas dissident Chinese website, managed to collect a number of popular comments on the incident:


The Chinese Dream is too heavy
Tofu-dreg projects are everywhere.
The taxpayers’ money is not to hire you for a singing contest.
Standing and singing praise on a collapsing stage will lead you to a fall.
Obviously too heavy. The stage collapsed when the three latecomers stepped onto the stage.
Too sarcastic. The Chinese Dream is like this? Even the stage is a tofu-dreg project.
One second ago, it was a grand show of prosperity. One second later, everything collapsed. The last straw will eventually appear.

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