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Circus with 24-year history in Guangzhou resists shutdown effort

By Li Wenfang and Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-06 07:35

A tiger performs in the circus at Guangzhou Zoo on Thursday.[Photo by Xiao Xiong/China Daily]

The Guangzhou Zoo in Guangdong province will seek help from law enforcement agencies, local industries and commerce authorities to shut down performances by a circus troupe after the troupe's operator refused to stop.

The zoo informed the troupe in July that it would not renew its contract when it expired at the end of August, the zoo said in a statement on Monday. It plans to use the circus venue to build a scientific exhibition center.

But the circus operator continued to sell tickets for shows.

The venue was leased to the circus operator in 1993. Shows have been performed six times a day for more than 24 years.

Huang Yingzhi of Anhui province, who heads the circus, said the troupe received notice on Aug 14 to close the show.

"As much as we do not want to leave, we probably have to because the zoo has made the announcement public. We are still discussing our future with the zoo. The zoo has offered to help transport the animals," Huang was reported as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

"We still have about 70 animals - monkeys, bears, tigers, gorillas and parrots - and our employees refuse to leave, insisting there is no reason to close the circus."

Performances feature monkeys riding bikes, gorillas playing drums and bears doing headstands on high-rise bars.

"More than 13 million people from around the country have watched the shows in the past 24 years, and audience numbers have not fallen off in recent years," Huang told Xinhua. As long as there is an audience, the show will continue, a worker with the troupe added.

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