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World - Asia/Pacific

Visions of China

Taiwanese pop star becomes Chinese sensation

Politics are set aside as Taiwanese pop singer A- Mei performs in Beijing for an audience of 40,000  

August 10, 1999
Web posted at: 9:51 p.m. EDT (0151 GMT)

BEIJING -- Although official relations between China and Taiwan have chilled in recent months, a Taiwanese pop star is helping overcome decades of distrust and suspicion with music.

Musician Zhang A-mei has become an overnight sensation in China, drawing a sellout crowd of 40,000 to Beijing's Workers Stadium as she kicked off a nationwide tour of the mainland.

The wild, gyrating performance provided an unusual sight in the usually staid Chinese capital, but it was typical for the Taiwanese singer, who has been filling concert halls throughout the region.

Fans filled Beijing's Workers Stadium when A-Mei gave the first performance of her tour across China  

Since A-mei's first performance as a relative unknown in Beijing two years ago, she has seen a meteoric rise to stardom. In 1998, tickets for concerts in Hong Kong sold out in three hours, and performances in Singapore sold out within ten hours.

Her pan-Asian band, comprising members from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia, must now be shipped in 16 huge containers from venue to venue.

Her Chinese fans are giving her a raucous, warm welcome.

"I feel really worked up," said one fan. "It was a wild night!"

A-mei performs next in Shanghai on Friday, followed by concerts later this month in the southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Kunming.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Always A-mei - Zhang Hui Mei Image Gallery 1
A-Mei Zhang
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