'Monkey King' actor's absence from big gala riles public

Updated: 2016-01-28 12:00

By Raymond Zhou(China Daily)

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'Monkey King' actor's absence from big gala riles public

Zhang Jinlai, 57, better known as Liu Xiao Ling Tong, mimics a monkey's facial expressions. Zhang is a fourth-generation monkey opera performer in his family.[Photo by Jiang Dong/ China Daily]

About Journey to the West

Journey to the West is a Chinese novel written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng'en. The novel is based on the story of legendry Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who traveled to today's India seeking sacred texts. The novel mixes Chinese folk mythologies, Buddhism and Taoism, and creates three disciples who follow Xuanzang to defeat evil and monsters: Sun Wukong (the Monkey King), Zhu Wuneng (a pig monk also known as Zhu Bajie) and Sha Wujing.

Being an important source for traditional Chinese operas, the novel also remains popular in the mass entertainment scene in China and nearby regions since it was first adapted into a Chinese silent film in 1927. In the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Japan, there are altogether more than 10 TV series based on Journey to the West, besides numerous films, comic books and animations.