Performers Wear Daipers in Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

August 20, 2008 1:14 pm Last Updated: August 20, 2008 5:35 pm

Performers forced to wear diapers in Beijing’s opening ceremony have outraged bloggers, who are dubbing the incident inhumane.

Beijing Olympics art director Han Lixun said that performers in the “Movable Chinese Printing Characters” segment during the opening ceremony all wore adult diapers so they could continue to wear the heavy costumes for up to seven hours.

The performers had to stoop their bodies underground while wearing the bulky costumes from 2 p.m., when they were not scheduled to perform until 8 p.m.

According to a report in the Information Times on August 17, the performers’ costumes were 1.4 meters high, 75 centimeters wide and each weighed 18 kilograms (40 pounds.)

The report said it was very hot for the 897 people crowded in the confined underground area. They were there for six to seven hours in the summer-time heat and to solve urine problems they all wore diapers.

Hidden in the blocks was a 3-kilogram device to hoist the performers up and down. Han said he used the leverage principle to raise the giant printing blocks 4.5 meters above the ground during the opening ceremony. The performers rehearsed for several months.

After the report came out, many bloggers pointed out that the performers had to endure terrible inhumane conditions.

One Chinese blogger said, “As the program was scheduled to perform at 8 p.m., why did they have go into the block costumes six hours beforehand?” “The director, Zhang Yimou, got his own honor at the expense of others’ lives.”

Haizhu, a NetEase ( blogger, from Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province said, “Why didn’t they use an automated system to operate the blocks? Why should such simple movements be operated manually?”

Baiyun, another NetEase blogger said, “It would be very easy to use a computerized system to operate them. I don’t approve using so many people and wasting so much time to practice the performance only to show off in front of foreign spectators.”

One blogger joked about what would happen if one of the performers was suddenly struck by diarrhea, “We had already broken a world record, but it was a pity that we forgot to apply to the Guinness World Record people beforehand. I believe that this record could only be broken by our Chinese people,” he said.

Read this article in Chinese.