South Korean channel secretly films opening ceremony practice

AFP
Jul 31, 2008 at 11:17am IST

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Beijing: A South Korean TV crew has broadcast the first look at China's top-secret opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, after getting inside for a dress rehearsal and filming it on the sly.

The footage, apparently filmed during a full rehearsal at the National Stadium, was aired on SBS, one of the top three television channels in South Korea, and posted on video website YouTube.

It revealed a strong futuristic theme in part of the show, which is being directed by acclaimed Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.

GETTING READY: Performers wait to enter the National Stadium for a rehearsal of the opening ceremony.

A moving sea of what looked like white tower blocks, bright lights, and hundreds of men practising martial arts were just some parts of the spectacle.

There was also a huge red globe in the middle of the staidum, as well as hundreds of extras waving red flags, others beating on drums, and multicoloured figures floating through the air.

The 50-minute show has been one of China's most closely guarded secrets about the Games, despite having more than 10,000 performers in a show that has been in the works for three years.

All participants have been sworn to secrecy and little has been disclosed about the actual programme, other than it will portray thousands of years of Chinese history.

Organisers have let it slip that the extravaganza will include fireworks, Chinese opera and a tribute to victims of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province that killed nearly 70,000 people.

The SBS video was also posted on sina.com, a popular Chinese web portal, but was no longer available for viewing on Wednesday evening.

The show is part of a three-hour opening ceremony that will launch the Games on August 8, including the parade of athletes and the lighting of the Olympic flame.

SBS executives confirmed that the channel had aired a video clip featuring the Olympic rehearsal as part of a sport news show on July 29.

China complained about it, and SBS has since been "cooperating," according to the executives, who refused to be named.

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