Girl Walks Tightrope Above Hungry Tigers

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We all know Chinese gymnasts, acrobats and the like are trained from when they are really young. But this is almost disturbing... a tiny three-year-old tightrope walker walking across a high wire barehanded...and with six hungry Siberian tigers growling below.

ACTake a look at this… a three-year-old Chinese girl achieved quite a feat. She is seen here walking on a thin wire barehanded above six hungry Siberian tigers at a zoo in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province.

On her first step, Zhang Xiaoyan of the Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe was nearly blown off the wire by a strong gust of wind in front of a worried audience.

[...]

[Zhang Xiaoyan, Acrobat]: (Mandarin, female)
"I am afraid of the tigers standing below, as they can bite."

Zhang's performance was set to challenge performer Adili Wuxor, who in 1997 attracted the world's attention by walking across the Yangtze River in the fastest speed ever recorded. The stunt established a new Guinness World Record and won him the title of "Prince of High-wire Walking."

Zhang started training when she was just a year old.

[Zhang Xiaoyan, Acrobat]: (Mandarin, female)
"Yes, I do (like tightrope walking), because I started from a very young age."

Spectators were impressed, but not her father, who is also the director of the troupe.

[Zhang Shenwen, Father and Troupe Director]: (Mandarin, male)
"She walked almost 200 feet yesterday when we did the training. She didn't do so well today."

The girl failed three times before managing to walk about 165 feet.

[Zhang Shenwen, Father and Troupe Director]: (Mandarin, male)
"I was a bit worried. People say tigers cannot climb trees, but one of the tigers jumped and another one climbed onto the tree yesterday during the training. I was so scared."

The father and troupe director has drawn criticism for pulling the stunt which critics say amounts to child abuse.

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