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Child performers spark fierce debate among Chinese public

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    13:57, October 21, 2016

[File photo]

A recent remake of the classic drama "Lady White Snake" has not only become a headline in Chinese media, but has also sparked a fierce discussion among the Chinese public, mainly due to the fact that its actors are all aged between 6 and 12.

The legend of white snake, which tells the love story of snake-turned-woman Bai Suzhen and her human husband, Xu Xian, is one of China's most famous ancient tales. First adapted as a TV series in 1992, the show has been constantly revived and rebroadcast even until today.

The children’s version of the TV show was produced by a program called Xiao Xigu, featuring children in the roles of the classic characters from Chinese folklore and literature. The remake has been a hot topic ever since it debuted in October. Online discussions hashtagged “XiaoXiguLadyWhiteSnake” have garnered over 17 million views as of press time, with most posts focusing on the remarkable performances of the child actors.

Some Internet users offered support and affection for the small actors, with one Weibo user noting, “The children’s performances are remarkable, and they have offered us a new angle from which to interpret the classic story.” Others expressed a different view, criticizing the show for “tarnishing children’s minds with adult stories.”

The show has also generated considerable interest from Chinese media, with some outlets publishing articles that criticize the “over-consumption of children” and call for adults to “return innocence to the children." At the same time, others have shown great interest in this “new method of revitalizing traditional culture.”

Despite mixed reactions from the public, the show has a score of 8.6 out of 10 on Chinese media review site Douban.com, and has garnered 180 million views on QQlive, a Chinese streaming video site.

The show has also turned its child actors into overnight celebrities. Tao Yixi, the 10-year-old Lady White Snake, now boasts more than 160,000 followers on Sina Weibo.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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