Longqiao District of Suzhou is known as the town of circus. More than 300 circus troupes, 20,000 employees and 400 million yuan output value support most of the national circus market.
The inheritance of history has made this special entertainment project a bit heavier, and the national non-heritage project is its identity characteristic. In glorious times, a circus in Longqiao District earned 400,000 yuan in one year with a ticket of 5 cents, and Longqiao circus frequently appeared on the screen. Decentralized flow makes Longqiao circus people everywhere.
In a grand occasion, crises often accompany the arrival of a cold winter. In recent years, with the tightening supervision of circus market, the impact of diversified forms of entertainment, the appeal of animal protection organizations to ban performances, the lack of innovation in circus itself, and the loss of circus professionals, the practitioners of circus town have to face the reality of higher cost and lower income. Dont think about the way ahead.
The first problem is the raising of tigers and other beasts. In order to reduce costs, many local circuses carry out planned reproduction of beasts, and natural segregation during estrus is an effective means.
Anxiety is accompanied by the desire for a way out. How to deal with the balance between the appeal for banning performance and the impact of diversified forms of entertainment, breaking through their own shortcomings and achieving innovative development under the background of stricter supervision. Town of circus seeks to break through.
How long will the cold winter last? Its unknown whether it will weaken the dispersal or strengthen the envelope.
Tigers in the Town of Circus? All the pictures in this paper are news materials of surging.
Town of circus
Li Li, a native of Suzhou, Anhui Province, was born in the circus house and is the fourth generation successor. But unlike his family, Li Li Li did not become a trainer but a rescue animal veterinarian.
Talking about the reasons, he said that in the 1980s, there were few so-called veterinarians for circus animals on their side. Li Lis father is the inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of the circus. There are thirty or forty people in the family engaged in this industry, but there is no veterinarian. In this way, Li Li Li obeyed his parentswishes and read animal medicine.
There are many circus families like Li Li.
According to the catalogue information of representative projects of national intangible cultural heritage, the Longqiao circus art originated from the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty, took shape in the 1920s and 1930s, restored to the 1950s, grew stronger than in the period of reform and opening up, and experienced a period from horseback martial arts, horseback juggling to animal exhibition and animal domestication. Then to the circus performance, circus art development process.
In the 1990s, the Longqiao Circus frequently appeared on the screen. Animal stars in films and TV dramas such as Monkey Detective Case and Animal Kingdom Qi Case mainly included animals of the Longqiao Circus. Data show that the collective nature of the Mass Animal Performance Troupe established by the peoples government of Suxian (todays Suzhou) has created a performance myth, with a ticket of 5 cents and a business income of 400,000 yuan in one year.
Zhang Hongwei, Vice-Chairman of Anhui Acrobatists Association and Acting Secretary-General of the Circus Association of Longqiao District, introduced to Pengfeng News that the golden period of circus development was from 1990s to early 2000.
The booming industry has also brought welfare to animals.
In Li Lis impression, when he was a child, his family was poor and sometimes he couldnt even eat food, but he had to ensure that the animals in his family ate it. At that time, Li Li Li had two tigers and a young black bear, which his father wanted from the zoo. Black bears come to drink milk powder. We havent seen milk powder. It smells very fragrant. They will drink it secretly. Later, they are found and beaten.
In 2007, Longqiao District was officially awarded the title of Town of Chinese Circus by the Chinese Acrobatists Association, becoming the first and only county in China to receive this honor. In 2008, the circus (Longqiao circus) was listed in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage protection projects with the approval of the State Council.
According to an article published by Anhui Daily in 2013, nearly one third of the farmers in Haogou and Taogou townships of Longqiao District eat circus rice, and many of them have annual net income of more than 100,000 yuan, of which nearly 30 go out of the circus have annual net income of more than 10 million yuan. According to the data of 2018, there are more than 300 circuses, 20,000 employees and 400 million yuan in output value. Circus performances occupy half of the country.
The Bear of The Land of Circus
Multi-factor superposition induces cold winter of circus
Crises often lurk and wait for opportunities.
In September 2019, Li Yin, the head of a circus in Suzhou, had not been performing for more than a year, which meant that he had no income. There are only a few tigers now, Li Yin said. Coincidentally, Pan Zhicheng, the director of Yihippocampus Theater in Longqiao District, has had a hard time, and has planned not to let tigers continue to breed.
The dramatic change of circumstances made Li Yin and Pan Zhicheng feel anxious. Rigorous regulation of circus market, diversified impact of entertainment forms, appeal ban of animal protection organizations, cumbersome and difficult procedures for animal commercial performance, lack of innovation in circus self-mobility and decentralization, and loss of circus talents are all factors that make the circus town encounter a cold winter.
In October 2010, the Ministry of Housing and Construction issued Opinions on Further Strengthening the Management of Zoos, requiring local zoos and other parks to immediately clean up and rectify all kinds of animal performance projects, and to stop all animal performance projects within three months; in July 2013, the Ministry of Housing and Construction issued the National Zoo Development Outline, requiring that Eliminate all kinds of animal performance.
Subsequently, in 2017, the Ministry of Housing promulgated and implemented the industry standard Zoo Management Standards, which clearly stipulated that zoos should not use wildlife for performances and wildlife should not be used as props for commercial activities. In response, on September 1, the Guangzhou Zoo announced that the 24-year-old circus performances in the park were closed.
On the other hand, animal protection advocates called for the ban to become a catalyst for this cold winter.
Hu Chunmei is an animal protection volunteer graduated from China Agricultural University majoring in animal medicine. He is the sponsor of the project Saving Performing Animals. Video shows Hu Chunmei and other animal protection workers wearing animal clothes and holding billboards near circus performances to urge people to prohibit watching animal performances. At the same time, it will show passers-by the damage caused by animal training and feeding environment.
According to Hu Chunmei, since the establishment of the Save Performing Animals Project in 2013, she and volunteers have repeatedly reported these circuses to relevant departments on the grounds of illegal performances and animal abuse. Sometimes they also sent leaflets and pulled banners outside the circus venues to publicize that they should not go to the circus.
In addition, in 2016, the Asian Organisation for the Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a research report entitled The Status of Suzhou Circus Industry. The exhibition records the current situation of Suzhou circus industry as seen by PETA personnel. Animals, including bears, monkeys, tigers, lions and so on, live in dirty environment, and even suffer from varying degrees of violence and abuse. According to the survey, bears are one of the most abused animals in the industry.
In 2015, PETA sent people to Suzhou, Anhui Province, to investigate and shoot the current situation of the local circus industry, visited circus and training institutions, a total of ten, Qinchuan, a spokesman for the organization told Peng Mei News, and then released a related research report.
According to the surging news, besides the above two factors, the cumbersome formalities of animal performance have also become a cause. According to the current laws and regulations of our country, animal performance groups need to have licenses for domestication and breeding of wildlife issued by the forestry department, and to use wildlife for performance profit, they also need licenses for wildlife management and utilization. After obtaining the formalities, administrative permission of the relevant departments for the current performance activities is also required. When it comes to trans-provincial transportation, other relevant formalities need to be handled.
For example, in the case of the tiger escaping from the death of the circus in Yuanyang County, Henan Province, the involved circus has obtained permission from the local cultural and broadcasting departments to perform, but it has not been filed before the performance. Xinxiang Forestry Bureau also said that circuses were illegal.
Under many external reasons, the town of circus itself is also referred to as a problem.
Anhui Daily has made an analysis of the previous articles, saying that except for a few teams with a certain scale, most of the Longqiao Circus are small, scattered and weak, with backward props, simple programs, extensive performances and depending on harvest operation. These factors affect the progress of the circus art and restrict the development of the circus industry. In addition, in August 2013, the official website of the Suzhou CPPCC pointed out in the article The Historical Inheritance and Industrial Development of the Longqiao Circus, that there are five major problems in the development of the Longqiao Circus industry: weak decentralized management, imperfect market system, undesirable development environment, weak artistic innovation ability and lack of reserve talents.
In an article published by Xinhua in the same year, Yang Hengjun, head of the Yongle Circus in Suzhou, Anhui Province, introduced that the Longqiao Circus had first-class acting skills, but no first-class costume props, not to mention modern acousto-optic lighting control equipment. Many programs belonged to the original ecology of the vocal music industry, and the tradition was beyond the times.
This article introduces that at present, more than 80% of the practitioners of Longqiao circus have not graduated from junior middle school, and some are even illiterate. The low threshold of Chinas circus industry and uneven practitioners have led to rough circus shows. The Longqiao circus is also in the primary stage of emphasizing practice and neglecting theory. The circus is a cultural heritage, which depends on Inheritance and development.
Zhang Hongwei believes that the development of circuses in Longqiao District is declining. On the one hand, it is influenced by relevant policies issued by the state, on the other hand, some animal protection organizations oppose circus performances. Facing the difficulties of circus development, they wanted to set up a circus rescue fund, but because the circus Association of Longqiao District has no source of funds, this idea has never been realized.
Because of the superposition of internal and external factors, a cold winter came quietly and swept through the town of circus.
Tiger in cage
Tiger birth control in cold winter
Zhu Yuting, a local veterinarian in Suzhou, was deeply impressed by the arrival of this cold winter. She is responsible for feeding and caring for young tigers. In recent years, more and more circus tigers have been rescued free of charge.
She told Peng Mei News that there are about sixty or seventy tigers handfed so far. Because of their experience and mature technology, some local circuses send their cubs to veterinary hospitals for feeding. Seventy-eight percent of the cubs they handle come from circuses. Now the environment is not good, circus performances are few, but animals still need to eat every day, they sometimes give the circus free rescue of young tigers, these two years, this situation is particularly high, the number of young tigers fed here basically reduced by 60%.
Zhu Yuting made a calculation for Peng Mei News. The baby tiger was born with milk powder. Some of them were fed with imported milk powder and nutrients. After feeding for two months, a baby tiger needed more than 5,000 yuan for nutrition and food, which was only less than 20 kg, and later spent more. According to its introduction, animals are not as sick as people can be reimbursed, inspection and medication are a huge expense, like a tiger is not easy to get sick, a year of care costs of 120,000 yuan.
Pan Zhicheng is also in debt because of the decline in his income. At present, he is lending money to the old-age tigers. At the same time, Xia Hongwei, the head of the magnificent circus in the eastern new town of Suzhou City, was also lending money. He told Peng Mei News that he has been working since he was 16 years old. He has not made any money in the past eight years. He has borrowed more than 300,000 yuan. Now there are three tigers in the troupe performing in Ningdu, Jiangxi Province. No one (circus) will make money.
Wherever you used to go, you didnt have to find a car to publicize, so there were more people. Now the network is developed, and some people watch circus performances directly on their mobile phones, which is not rare. Circus actor Cui Qingtao complained to the surging news.
Zhang Hongwei told Pengfeng News that according to incomplete statistics, at present, there are one or two hundred families in Longqiao District still engaged in circus industry. There are about 1000 tigers and hundreds of lions, bears and monkeys. However, according to Zhang Yongheng, deputy secretary-general of the circus Association of Longqiao District in Suzhou, according to the results of the census in Suzhou, there were 534 tigers, 504 lions, 580 bears and 1571 monkeys as of July this year.
Since the second half of 2018, when the state issued documents to strengthen the control of tigers and their products, the number of performances of circuses in Longqiao District began to decrease. Before that, circus performances were relatively good. The circus can continue to perform if the relevant formalities are handled in advance. It mainly affects circuses that need cross-provincial performances, commercial performances and mobile performances. It has relatively small impact on circuses that cooperate with local scenic spots or zoos.
The people engaged in circus industry in Longqiao District basically rely on circus performances for their income, but they cant perform now and have no income. In order to raise animals, a small number of people will take risks and perform without going through relevant formalities. Because of the poor prospects of circus development, there are many people ready to change careers. Zhang Hongwei said.
When asked about switching careers, how should the animals be reared? Zhang Hongwei said that at present there is no relevant policy and relevant departments to deal with the above situation. He expressed helplessness.
No longer dare tigers continue to breed if they cant afford it. As a circus town, the current animal fertility situation is called reproduction within a planned period, that is, reproduction in the case of need.
Li Li introduced that in terms of the current situation and trend of the circus, it is a blow, for the circus, animals are a burden, they can not afford to raise. Therefore, the planned reproduction of animals is very common. As far as he knows, the small and difficult circuses are basically no longer allowing animals to reproduce.
Estrus segregates animals and becomes an effective means.
Li Yin told Peng Mei News that in the past, when there were more performances and fewer tigers, the circus would try to breed as many tigers as possible. Now there is no excessive revenue from performances, and more reproduction means higher costs, so we have to adopt birth control measures, such as natural isolation of tigers every year when they are in estrus. Xu Zhenfei, a full-time keeper of another circus, said, Now the boss is losing money and cant win. Neither of them intends to let the tigers continue to breed. If the animals have estrus, they can only be isolated.
Breakthrough under Anxiety
Anxiety is accompanied by the desire for a way out. How to deal with the balance between the appeal for prohibition and the impact of diversified forms of entertainment, breaking through the bottleneck and realizing innovation under the background of stricter supervision. Town of circus seeks to break through.
The appeal of the movers and insurers made the circus directors who had run the dismal circus jointly save themselves.
In March 2018, a condemnation letter jointly accused and questioned by several circuses of the Save the Performing Animals Project claimed that the project suppressed animal domestication under the banner of charity, making it difficult for circuses to survive. Yang Zhiyuan, president of Suzhou Longqiao Circus Association, said in an interview with the media that the contradiction and conflict between the two sides had existed for a long time. We all operate legally. Animals are performed under animal breeding licenses issued by the State Forestry Administration. The performance licenses are approved by the State Ministry of Culture, and all the procedures are in accordance with the national laws. Now the protection organizations are cracking down on us, blocking cars on the highway and not allowing performances. We cant do anything about it, so we can only speak our voices together.
Faced with the opposition of animal protection organizations, Zhang Hongwei explained that the current circus domestication technology has improved, and the domesticators awareness of animal protection has also improved. In addition, the local forestry department has clearly stipulated the standard of animal living environment. Animals used to live in a small cage, but now the animals kept at home have cages, both indoor and outdoor. Secondly, they need to have ventilation, sunshine and other conditions. Zhang Hongwei said.
Some experts also expressed their views on this issue.
Wen Shixian, an associate professor at the School of Tourism Management, South China Normal University, believes that the development of circus industry should keep pace with the current concept of animal ethics, that is, while providing entertainment performances for the public, more attention should be paid to the popularization of animal knowledge and animal ethics education for the public. Circus artists should find their own balance between circus performance and animal ethics. Only by doing this, circus industry can be continued and developed in the progress of moral ethics.
He Hairen, a researcher at the Law Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that commercial circuses make a living from animals. These people hold their own views on the direction of circuses, which are understandable. For animal protection organizations, circuses hurt or abuse animals in animal performances. Violation of animal protection principles. The conflict between them is inevitable, but there is a possibility of convergence and reconciliation between them, which needs a process. He believes that we should find a way to reconcile and solve the social interests, personal interests, immediate interests and long-term interests. The understanding of this issue is gradually unfolding, and ultimately to reach a consensus. In addition, attention should also be paid to the problem of inconsistency in law enforcement caused by the current multi-pronged law enforcement, which requires coordination.
As a city card, the local government has been trying to keep Suzhou circus culture alive in the current environment.
According to Peoples Daily in 2010, it is far from enough for the local government to rely on the strength of private circuses. Since 2006, the relevant departments in Suzhou and Longqiao District have been doing their work. The most important work is to lead the establishment of the first national circus association, China Longqiao Circus Association, whose members come from all private circus groups in Longqiao District. The conference has drawn up regulations to strengthen industry self-discipline and competitiveness.
In addition, in 2013, the Anhui Provincial Culture Department issued the Four Ten Project Implementation Plan for the Development of Private Art Academies and Troupes. The Longqiao Circus has become one of the Ten Platforms for Performing Arts which are supported by the government.
The Suzhou CPPCC official website also puts forward the corresponding countermeasures in the article The Historical Inheritance and Industrial Development of Longqiao Circus. The local departments of culture, finance, personnel and taxation at all levels should earnestly implement the Opinions on Encouraging the Development of Private Literary and Art Performing Groups and encourage private circus performing groups to participate in the performance market. Competition, with equal qualifications to win various awards set up by the government, participate in bidding for cultural activities organized by the government. Establish a special fund for the development of circus industry, improve the investment mechanism for supporting circus industry, and support the development of circus industry by means of loan discount, performance rent subsidy, performance incentive subsidy, business environment improvement and excellent brand project award.
Animal performance is an ancient art in China, circus is also a national intangible cultural heritage, I hope it can be preserved. But according to the current development, circus still has a possibility of disappearance. Zhang Hongwei sighed.
The circus tiger escaped capture and died officially: it has been reported to the State Forestry Administration
At about 21 oclock on September 6, the 110 command center of Yuanyang County Public Security Bureau received an alarm that a circus domesticated tiger escaped from its cage and ran into a nearby corn field in Taiping Town, Yuanyang County.