LIFE / ENTERTAINMENT
Anti-narcotics musical marks Chinese People’s Police Day
Published: Jan 10, 2021 05:18 PM

Promotional material for Rebirth Photo: Courtesy of Dongfang Nuan

Promotional material for Rebirth Photo: Courtesy of Dongfang Nuan

Based on a true story of a seriously injured Chinese narcotics policeman who was awakened from a coma by his wife, the musical drama Rebirth made its Beijing debut on Wednesday, days before China's first Chinese People's Police Day on Sunday. 

The stage musical, the first to focus on anti-narcotics police in China, was created by an international team. Besides well-known Chinese musical producer Li Dun and scriptwriters from China, famous composers from South Korea also joined the team to co-create the work.

The drama also got support from China's Ministry of Public Security. At the show's last performance at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Art Center on Friday, some officers from the ministry came to appreciate the show with the audiences. 

Rebirth tells the story of a Chinese anti-narcotics policeman regaining a new life with the help of his wife. It is adapted from the true story of Luo Jinyong and Luo Yingzhen, a couple living in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, which has been struggling with illegal drug trafficking.

In 2005, Luo Jinyong was traveling home on the bus when he noticed three passengers acting suspiciously. As they carried their bags and got off the bus, Luo took out his police identification and asked them to open their bags.

Luo's instincts were right as these three turned out to be drug dealers. When their crimes were uncovered, they grabbed some stones and sticks from the ground and attacked Luo.

Luo fought the drug dealers bare-handed, but suffered a serious injury to the head that put him in a coma. 

To try to wake up her husband, Luo Yingzhen constantly visited him in the hospital, where she read the diaries and love letters she had written to her husband.

More than 600 diary entries and meticulous care eventually awoke the policeman, who regained consciousness for the first time in nearly three years.

Young Chinese singers Ma Jia and Xu Yao performed the musical love story on the stage, touching the hearts of the audience.

"Rebirth is a brilliant musical. Its music, stage design and dance are all beautiful. I was moved not only because of what the singers showed on stage but for the true story that happened to Chinese anti-narcotics police," Jonathan, a member of the audience, told the Global Times. 

The production team connected Luo's story with an ancient fairy tale about a young Chinese man named Shan Shen who was injured in a fight against evil spirits and then was saved by the Goddess of Love. These fairy tale elements increase the color of fantasy and romance of the musical drama. 

"We know very well that this is not only a story and a musical, but also a song of praise for Luo Jinyong and his wife, as well as for the tens of thousands of police officers who have sacrificed their lives to faithfully perform their duties," said Cheng Wu, CEO of Tencent Pictures, one of the musical's producers.

Cheng noted that people today do not only need films and TV dramas, but also smaller art forms such as musicals to better convey Chinese stories.

The musical first debuted in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province in September. 

After it finishes its Beijing run, it will head to Southwest China's Yunnan Province, the place where its story originated, for performances on Thursday and Friday.

Sunday marks the first Chinese People's Police Day. Moving stories about the police were shared on China's social media platforms along with Luo's.

"The Chinese People's Police are our reliable guardians. Salute them on this day and wish them happiness every day after!" one Chinese netizen commented on Sina Weibo.
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