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Monument for 'Super Girls' Stirs Controversy
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A monument depicting two of China's "Super Girl" pop singers, in a style similar to those of revolutionary heroes, at a Beijing art festival has caused wide public debate.

The four-meter-high monument featuring Li Yuchun and Zhou Bichang, champion and runner-up of perhaps the country's most successful all-girl singing contest "Super Girl" in 2005, is on show at the Songzhuang Art Festival in east Beijing.

The two figures, both leaning forward with one foot striding out, resemble portrayals of revolutionaries although their rise to fame bears no such resemblance.

Made in two months by respected sculptors Sun Zhenghua and Dai Yun, the monument has drawn mass criticism on-line.

Most Internet users argued the "super girls" deserved no such honor.

Chu Tian Nan Min ("Refuge") said, "A monument should be built for the country's heroes or martyrs only, whose deeds should be respected and remembered by people. It's not for young pop stars."

Other voices also suggest the artists created the sculpture to satirize the current "super girl" frenzy. A netizen called "Mars Clover" even shouted out "the world is crazy that Beijing has a 'Super Girl' monument".

Even Li and Zhou's fans protested that "monument should only be built for the deceased".

The star-making reality show "Super Girl" by central China's Hunan TV is generally regarded as the Chinese version of American Idol. It drew an audience of 400 million for the finale of its four-month run in 2005.

But there are also strong voices criticizing "Super Girl" for promoting "vulgarity", and discouraging youngsters from living life practically by providing instant celebrity.

Sun, also dean of the Shenzhen Sculpture Institution in South China, insisted that sculptures do not have to represent revolutionary martyrs but should reflect modern society.

"Making a monument is to reflect a new cultural trend in society and to record it," he said.

Li Zhiqiang, organizer of the Songzhuang Art Festival, said the sculptors would dispose of the monument after the October 6 -16 art festival.

The two "super girls" seemed irritated by the tribute. The agent for Li Yuchun said her company would take legal action for violations of the singer's image.

Yu Binghan, agent of Zhou Bichang, expressed a similar view, saying Zhou was new to the music industry and her performances and social contributions still fell far short of being commemorated in a monument.

Sun Yuanming, a research fellow with the Chongqing Municipal Academy of Social Sciences, attributed lack of timely laws and regulations to the emergence of many new things in the society like the monument, a "very easygoing" item in his words.

(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2006)


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