16 February 2011
China row over synchronised goldfish magic trick
By Michael Bristow BBC News, Beijing
excerpt - Chinese animal rights groups are urging TV stations not to show a magic trick
of goldfish swimming in formation.
They believe the performance could involve the use of magnets and therefore harm
Campaigners want the act dropped from variety shows to be broadcast on Thursday
to mark the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.
The magician at the centre of the controversy, Fu Yandong, denies he harms the
The trick has amazed audiences across China, appearing on one of the biggest
shows of the year, China Central Television's New Year's Eve special.
Mr Fu takes six goldfish and releases them into a shallow tank. He somehow gets
them to swim together.
But instead of being praised, he has been criticised by more than 50 animal
Liu Huili, of Da'erwen campaign group, said: "Goldfish are small creatures that
anyone can easily buy and abuse, or even kill."
She wants TV stations to drop the act from variety shows planned to mark the end
of the Lunar New Year.
Some stations, including the state broadcaster CCTV, are reported to have agreed
to ditch the controversial segment. Others plan to show it regardless.
Meanwhile, Mr Fu has hit back at the criticism.
"If I used magnets, the fish would stick together," he told a CCTV news
"Some people say I use electricity or high technology. They can say what they
want, but the fish are safe," he added.
The magician has declined to say exactly how the trick is performed.