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Wuxia on the Web goes West as genre spreads

By ERIC JOU  (China Daily)

09:45, April 13, 2013

Chinese wuxia series are becoming increasingly popular in the West in a similar fashion to Western TV shows gaining audiences in China, thanks to devoted fans and the power of the Internet.

Wuxia, which translates as "martial hero", is a genre of Chinese fiction related to martial artists. It appears in various forms, from video games to movies - such as Ang Lee's highly acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

On an average weekday, 20-year-old Jonathan Breedveld, who lives in the Netherlands, grabs snacks from the fridge the minute he arrives home, carries them to his desk, turns on the computer and continues where he left off the day before - with the latest episode of the adventure series Guai Xia Yi Zhi Mei.

Breedveld, a self-professed wuxia fanatic, does not watch the show on TV. Instead, he watches it on the Internet through Web-streaming sites such as YouTube.

"I don't speak Chinese, and I absolutely cannot read Chinese, except for the words kung fu," he said. "I want to learn it. I think it's a beautiful language, but I don't mind reading subtitles. I can read very fast."

Breedveld said his first wuxia film was Jackie Chan's Forbidden Kingdom.

"While googling Liu Yifei (one of the actresses from Forbidden Kingdom) on the Internet, I discovered that she played in the series Return of the Condor Heroes," said Breedveld. "I watched one episode and was immediately hooked."

Having fallen in love with the genre, Breedveld then discovered Wuxia Edge, a website dedicated to sharing wuxia TV series on the Internet.

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