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A rare anti-graft themed crosstalk will be featured in the 2015 Spring Festival Gala reportedly with rehearsals held on Friday.
Pundits believe allowing the traditional Chinese two-man comedic performance is another sign that Chinese authorities are confident in dealing with corruption issues under the nationwide anti-graft campaign since the gala, which is broadcast live on China Central Television, has regularly been attended by top national leaders.
The traditional Chinese crosstalk will be performed by two new stars, Miao Fu and Wang Sheng, who are key members of a popular comedy group based in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.
Miao said that they have rewritten the script several times since anti-graft topics in the script are sensitive, and have never been officially performed on stage.
"I am under huge pressure … not being a corrupt official, I was trying to place myself in his shoes and imagine what goes through his mind. So I turned to the Xi'an Party committee," said Miao, adding that the local Party disciplinary inspection commission provided them with information on many corruption cases.
The only other time a similar crosstalk was performed in the gala was in 1988, when two well-known Chinese performers, Niu Qun and Li Lishan, mocked an official who consumed roast duck using government funds, reported the Xi'an Evening News.
Ren Jianming, a public management professor at Beihang University, told the Global Times that local government support showed their determination to fight corruption and the gala will serve as an additional platform to spread "integrity education."
"I am looking forward to seeing the show and I hope it provides us with deeper insights," Ren told the Global Times on Sunday.
This year's gala has likewise attracted attention over two new hosts including Negmat Rahman, a 32-year-old Uyghur, reportedly the first Uyghur person to host the national gala.
Ha Wen, this year's gala director, said that vulgar programs and performers who have moral issues will not appear in the show, the People's Daily reported on Sunday.