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Spring Festival annual TV gala mixes humor, history
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Jiang Kun, a popular Chinese crosstalk actor, made the audience chuckle in his routine during the annual CCTV Spring Festival gala Sunday evening.

Jiang's theme was China's "new look" after 30 years of reform and opening up.

"In the past, we had no traffic jams and no highways. Now, we have congestion everywhere, even though we have so many highways," he said during the skit.

Jiang also used new phrases such as "leiren," meaning something that has a shocking effect, and other phrases that have found their way into China's popular consciousness.

In a mime routine titled "Warm Winter," famous actor Feng Gong played a Beijing peddler who struck it rich through a decade's hard work and regained the affections of a lady who had abandoned him to go to the United States in 1990s.

The gala also featured major events in 2008, including relief efforts after the 8.0-earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Beijing Olympic Games and the successful spacewalk during the Shenzhou 7 mission.

"I wanted to let people forget the sadness and remember the happiness of the past year," said Lang Kun, director of the show.

"I hope these performances send the message that we will all have a better future."

Lang paired pop singer Jay Chou with folk performer Song Zuying to promote traditional culture.

"It is always fascinating to bring in new ideas, new faces and new technology," he said.

The multi-media backdrop and the sophisticated staging structure made the performances more spectacular, but not everyone was impressed.

Writer Tong Kezhen posted an article at www.xhby.com, saying the gala lacked novelty and had become irrelevant to contemporary audiences.

"I think it is a bit boring. If not for my daughter and my parents, I wouldn't have finished it," said Wang Dayu, a 38-year-old research scientist in northeastern Jilin Province.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2009)

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