Circus tiger

The Show Must Not Go On

One woman’s battle against illegal animal performances in China


The apartment circus

The year was 2020, and we were in a small town in Shangqiu, Henan.

The new apartment complex across from the city hall had just put up a large tent with red and blue stripes. It was the last day of the National Day holiday, and the tent was packed with over 100 children and adults. They were waiting to see a free circus show.

Inside the tent, a four-meter-tall chain-link fence separated the audience from a small performance space. Various props were arranged around the stage.

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author Story FM

Founded in 2017 by Kou Aizhe, Story FM is one of the most renowned podcast in China. Each episode focuses on ordinary people’s lives and viewpoints, including the difficulties of marginalized people. Through intimate and private interviews, Story FM digs out first-person experiences and lets listeners immerse themselves in another person’s voice and feelings. You can listen to their podcast in Chinese on Ximalaya, Qingting FM, Apple Podcasts, and the 故事FM mini-app on WeChat.

Translated By

Nathaniel Gan is a translator working from Chinese and Spanish to English. He translates poetry, fiction, and first-person narratives for TWOC. His background in activism, farming, education, and design has provided a fertile training ground for navigating the space between worldviews, where meaning depends as much on context as content. Based out of Providence, Rhode Island, Nathaniel collaborates with poets and writers in the US and internationally.

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