Chinese opera singer faces backlash for performing in war-torn Ukrainian theater

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.12 - 2023 7:03 PM CET

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube
Chinese opera singer faces backlash for performing in war-torn Ukrainian theater.

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Chinese opera singer Wang Fang is facing severe criticism for her controversial performance in a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, that was previously bombed by Russian forces.

The theater had been a refuge for civilians, and the Russian attack resulted in the deaths of over 600 people, mainly women and children.

Fang's performance of the Soviet-era song "Katyusha" was met with immediate backlash from Ukrainian officials.

Vadym Boychenko, the exiled mayor of Mariupol, expressed his outrage, stating that the act was a display of "incredible cynicism and disrespect" for the lives lost in the theater.

China, which has been trying to maintain a neutral image in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, is now in a difficult position.

The video of Fang's performance and related content have been removed from the Chinese internet, indicating the sensitivity of the issue.

Zhou Xiaoping, Fang's husband and a well-known Chinese Communist Party propagandist, came to her defense.

He emphasized that his wife is a "folk singer without any political identity" and applauded her "strength, bravery, and determination."

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has also weighed in on the controversy. Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesperson for the ministry, announced that they are expecting explanations from China regarding the presence of its citizens in Mariupol.

The ministry has also decided to ban Chinese "tourists" from entering the country.

The incident has not only sparked outrage but also raised questions about the ethical responsibilities of artists and the diplomatic challenges that arise from such acts.

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