TV show condemned for disregarding human life

By Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 24, 2013
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The Zhejiang Satellite TV's show "Celebrity Splash China" has been condemned by the public for disregarding human life after a teenage team assistant drowned during a training session for the show on April 19, reported.

The tragic accident

According to an article in Life newspaper carried by Xinhua News Agency, the victim was an 18-year-old assistant -- surnamed Peng -- to the Shi Xiaolong Martial Arts Troupe. Shi Xiaolong is a renowned martial artist and actor in China.

Shi Xiaolong, a renowned martial artist and actor in China, is during a diving training session.

Shi Xiaolong, a martial artist and actor, is during a diving training session. [File photo]

Peng was with Shi's team at the General Administration of Sports of China diving center in Beijing in the evening of April 19. "He might have gone for a swim alone in the pool while everybody was focusing on star Shi's training. It was too late when lifeguards realized [what had happened] and swam over to rescue him," said one employee at the diving center.

Mr. Li, an employee with the Beijing 120 Emergency Center, said that lifeguards had conducted artificial respiration on Peng. "He was found bleeding from nose and mouth when he was carried into the ambulance. That showed there was a large amount of water in his lungs. He already was no longer breathing, had no pulse and showed no other signs of life," Mr. Li said.

All rescue measures failed and Peng was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. on April 20 at Beijing's Tiantan Hospital, Mr. Li said.

In an official microblog post of Zhejiang Satellite TV published on April 20, the "Celebrity Splash China" team released the news about the drowning of Peng.

Wang Zhengyu, supervisor of the TV show's publicity, said that the team had internally conducted some serious self-examination after the accident. "The diving center has also strengthened safety measures by putting more lifeguards on duty and warning signs on the site," Wang said.

Wang said that his production team has reiterated earlier warnings to the participants and their support teams that "no one is allowed to go into the water except the participating stars, coaches and underwater camera operators."

Wang didn't comment on whether or not Shi will continue to be on the show, and Shi himself has thus far declined all interviews with the media, according to Life.

Social reaction

"Celebrity Splash China," an adaptation of the Dutch show "Celebrity Splash," is one of the two star diving shows which have dominated China's media attention over the past month. The other one is Jiangsu Satellite TV's licensed take on the German show "Stars in Danger."

Peng's death has triggered an online debate regarding the goal of the show. Many people don't agree with its slogan of "Professionalism, encouragement, authenticity," and even question the show's promise to "help promote national fitness campaigns."

Some people pointed out that the show's sponsors and producers mainly focus on the participants' swimwear and viewers just enthusiastically follow the stars' fumbling attempts to master their moves while at the same time neglecting the issue of safety.

Anthony Wong, a renowned Hong Kong actor and film director, ridiculed and criticized the show on his microblog by writing, "I suggest those stars jump from a building to see who would be so lucky as to survive. That might get higher ratings."

Many people echoed Anthony Wong by saying, "Right! That's what an artist should say." Some questioned why "those people join the show at the risk of their own lives."

Some scholars joined in on the discussion as well. "A TV show's high ratings earned through hot debate or even at the cost of human life has no quality at all. Viewers will sneer and swear, hate it, and finally absolutely cast a veto on it," said one scholar.

Some audiences doubted whether producers had done enough to guarantee the safety of the participants. Some people suggested Charlene Choi, a Canadian-born Hong Kong actress, quit the forthcoming show for the sake of her own safety.

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