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Song Dandan farewells to Spring Festival Gala
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Comedian Song Dandan and her partner, Zhao Benshan, perform at the 2008 Spring Festival Gala. [File photo: Chinanewservice]

China's comedy queen, Song Dandan, will not attend CCTV's Spring Festival Gala next lunar New Year's Eve.

Song announced her decision during a promotion for a TV show Thursday in Beijing, The News Times reported.

"I feel very happy to be needed, but I have told my partner, Zhao Benshan, that I will not attend the gala," Song Dandan said.

Song Dandan and Zhao Benshan, China's most famous comedian have cooperated many times in the past.

Audiences often look forward to seeing their new show each year on the annual celebration gala, a major part of Spring Festival celebrations for Chinese people at home and overseas.

Being asked to attend the gala is a great honor and precious opportunity for performers, who must spend months preparing for the show. Their compensation, in comparison, is relatively low, at no more than 10,000 yuan.

Song Dandan told reporters that she will take temporary break from the entertainment industry. She believes that Zhao Benshan will have no trouble finding a new partner for the show.

For many gala fans, the duo of Song Dandan and Zhao Benshan is an inseparable part of the Spring Festival Gala.

(CRI March 14, 2008)

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