Don't agree to do record-breaking tricks on Chinese TV. Just don't

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It started to really feel like this whole thing was a bit of a bait and switch. Performers being set up to fail, and worse, set up to be beaten in rigged challenges by Chinese performers.

I’m just remembering the gold medal “schools” exposed right before the Beijing Olympics, where they took kids and hyperspecialized them in order to get as many medals as possible, rules and well-rounded educations be damned.


Holy shit! I’m thinking he just narrowly avoided something like the situation this guy got himself into


Hasn’t whatever mystique might have still been associated with Guinness records been bludgeoned to death already?


Basically, if you are a foreigner, don’t even consider trying to do business of any kind on the mainland. Best case scenario, you wind up getting ripped off by the Chinese controlling partner you’re required by law to have, or by some local business more willing to be corrupt than you. If you make a stink about it, you’ll be imprisoned on some trumped up charge the next time you set foot in the country.


I’m confused by the part where he’s rushing to the airport in order to get there before his visa is revoked. If they revoke his visa, doesn’t that just mean he has to leave China? Which he was doing anyway? (I admit that I know absolutely nothing about Chinese immigration law.)

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What trick did they want him to perform if not the table cloth one?


A weird one.

Chinese TV producers hate him!


What they’d like, instead, is for me to attempt to pull one cloth between two tables, repeatedly, as many times as possible in 30 seconds.

I didn’t quite understand that either. I mean, once the tablecloth has been pulled off, there’s no way to quickly put it back on again, is here? And if it’s just a matter of yanking the cloth back and forth, how do you judge when you’ve pulled far enough?

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I enjoyed the story, and thought I’ll pull out this part for those in a hurry-

…you know who’s got a frankly terrifying show on Chinese Television? Bear Grylls. And the stuff he does on Chinese TV is a little, shall we say, more hardcore, then what he does on your TV. I only watched it for about ten minutes, but I witnessed him tear the wings of live birds and tell one contestant that “I can’t make the jungle safe, you will get hurt, but I won’t let you die”.


Yeah, I’m torn between being terrified that show exists, and really wanting to watch it because holy shit if that show exists.



Maybe it would mean being instantly arrestable, since he’s in the country without a visa?


I found him in an insurance commercial -



For those of you who didn’t read the whole thing, near the end he figures out that the point was to set him (and a bunch of other poor saps) up to be beaten by Chinese performers.

They were all brought over thinking they were going to be doing one trick, and instead they were going to be doing something completely different, with defective props, against a Chinese performer who had been training for the actual trick for weeks.

The intersection of China’s massive inferiority and manifest destiny complexes.


I’ve known people who were caught in China without a visa, or working on a tourist visa. The attitude in my area seemed to be that it wasn’t worth sending westerners to prison for anything like this - you could easily get kicked out of the country, but I’ve only seen westerners jailed for importing drugs or North Koreans. YMMV, but some westerners I knew were remarkably cavalier about breaking the law.


I got the whole “pull the tablecloth out” thing. I did NOT know about pulling it back under.



A sort of televised Chinese Potemkin Village?


The saddest bit is that China really does have a lot of top notch performers - that tradition is where a lot of artists like Jackie Chan came from, and they’ve got ‘Operas’ that can compete with Cirque de Soleil, so it could have been fun if they’d been honest and just made it an honest competition, but either patriotism wouldn’t allow that or they couldn’t afford the good performers.