Chinese Flock to Dwarf Theme Park

Critics say park exploits dwarves, but employees say they're happy.

ByABC News
April 12, 2010, 10:24 AM

April 12, 2010 <br>KUNMING, CHINA &#151; -- At the newest and hottest theme park in China right now, there are no rides or roller coasters, no cotton candy or games.

There are just lots and lots of little people.

Welcome to the Kingdom of the Little People, where more than 100 dwarfs from across the country are paid to sing and dance before a captive audience.

"There are only three requirements to work here," said owner Cheng Mingjing. "No infectious diseases, no one older than 50 and no one taller than 4 feet 3."

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On a recent day at the theme park, hundreds of visitors forked out roughly $12 -- not a small sum in China -- to visit. Guests wander around a fake hilltop village of miniature houses where the dwarfs pretend to live.

And then it's time for the show to begin.

It is a spectacle. In one particularly cringe-inducing number, dance music blares as a leather-clad performer busts some break dancing moves.

A series of traditional Chinese acts follow. The crowd goes wild.

And then the piece de resistance: a slap-stick performance of the classic ballet "Swan Lake," complete with male dwarfs in tights and tutus.

The spectacle is hard to capture in words -- but one comes to mind: disturbing.

The audience, however, loves it.

"It's amazing," said one woman visitor. "I've seen dwarfs in the past, but never so many in the same place. I was very impressed!"

The woman's daughter seemed to have more discerning tastes when asked if she liked the show. She adamantly shook her head: NO.