xi's moments
Home | Society

Cross-talk performer provides humor while lending a hand in Tianjin

By YANG CHENG in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-14 06:59

Cross-talk artist Liu Chunhui (left) and her partner, Pang Jun (second from left), perform for senior residents at a nursing home in Hebei district, Tianjin. CHINA DAILY

Liu Chunhui, a cross-talk performer from Tianjin, has devoted her spare time to preparing for charity shows, distributing aid to migrant workers and creating online videos with contemporary themes this spring.

Charity shows and volunteer work have been an important part of her life since the 1990s, and her dedication to helping others has distinguished her in the world of performing arts in China.

"Cross-talk aims to bring joy to its audiences, but for me, it's more than just a profession," she said.

Cross-talk, also known as xiangsheng, is a captivating traditional art deeply rooted in Chinese culture. It involves two or more performers engaging in comedic dialogues, often delivered in a rapid-fire, improvisational style to delight spectators.

The art form thrives in Tianjin and has become a defining aspect of the city's culture, entertaining local audiences while imparting an optimistic philosophy of life.

Recognizing that enthusiasts of traditional arts often struggle to attend live performances due to time and financial constraints, Liu conceived the idea of volunteering for performances three decades ago.

She has organized more than 300 charity performances and 200 philanthropic events, and has collaborated with artists, calligraphers and painters to raise funds and collect materials totaling 700,000 yuan ($96,768) to support over 150 underprivileged children and people living in poverty and disaster-stricken areas. "The happiness derived from each charitable performance and volunteer activity not only impacts others but also continually motivates and influences me, fueling my dedication to volunteer services for three decades," she said.

Liu said she was inspired to help others because when she was a child, relatives and friends offered her parents financial support when they needed it.

In the 1990s, Liu established the Chunhui Art Volunteer Team in Tianjin's Hebei district, attracting various artistic talent, including calligraphers, painters and actors.

In recent years, the team has embraced the surge in short video and social media platforms such as WeChat and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, to expand its online presence.

The team's cross-talk topics now reflect current social issues, promoting a positive narrative on building a civilized society, waste classification, responsible travel and anti-fraud measures.

Its audience continues to grow both online and offline, garnering attention everywhere from nursing homes to firefighting stations.

Even during the COVID-19 epidemic, Liu ventured to the impoverished county of Qingshui in northwestern Gansu province, putting on livestreaming performances to help residents sell local products.

Her selfless act helped raise 700,000 yuan for the county during the epidemic.

Liu's efforts have inspired a growing number of individuals from various circles in Tianjin to join her cause.

"Over the past three decades, our team has experienced remarkable growth in terms of size and the scale of our charitable performances," she said.

The team's enthusiasm and selfless spirit have also inspired others, leading to the establishment of an alliance of volunteers in Hebei district aptly named "the Association of Good Peoples", last year.

Pang Li'ai, a member of the alliance and head of a beauty and hairdressing company in the district, said, "Inspired by the role models around us, we leverage our professional strengths and actively participate in volunteer services."

Liu shared an inspiring anecdote about Pang Jun, her 68-year-old cross-talk partner and fellow member of the volunteer team.

On one particular rainy day, the team had a performance scheduled in Hebei district. Despite the downpour, Pang Jun rushed to get to the venue from Tanggu district, located in the eastern coastal areas of Tianjin.

Completely drenched by the rain, he made it to the venue, but his efforts caused an old back injury to flare up. Nevertheless, he persevered through the pain and successfully completed the performance.

Pang Jun also consistently engaged in volunteer activities during the pandemic.

"He often said that as an artist, it was his duty to be at the forefront, which deeply moved me," Liu said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349