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'Shanzhai' gala not available for most Chinese people on Lunar New Year's Eve
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Two TV rivals should have locked horns on Lunar New Year's Eve, but the alternative to the traditional China Central Television (CCTV) New Year gala, the "Shanzhai" show was just not available for most people in China.

Lao Meng, a Beijing-based wedding photographer who initiated a homemade gala focusing on performances by ordinary people, made the "Shanzhai" show - an "alternative" pastiche of CCTV's traditional gala. He called it "a real show by and for ordinary people."

The "Shanzhai" show which had claimed to be for college students and migrant workers who could not return home for the holiday, turned out to be only available on the Macao Asia Satellite TV (MASTV) and its website.

Most families in the country cannot get satellite TV channels, and the MASTV website page could not be opened from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., when the show was on.

Lao Meng told Xinhua he did not know why, "maybe too many people were logging on to the website."

Lao Meng also said the show on MASTV was actually a recorded broadcast.

Unlike all CCTV gala's performers who performed live, Lao Meng and his performers were having a party to celebrate their "Shanzhai" gala in an indoor hall in Beijing on New Year's Eve.

Chen Jun, a magazine editor in Shanghai, said he was disappointed to not have access to the "Shanzhai" show.

"It was much all mouth and no trousers. I think it has let many people down," Chen said.

The "Shanzhai" gala had won wide support on the Internet and much media attention from home and abroad, as it claimed to make a show for common people and to challenge CCTV's gala.

(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2009)

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