There was heated debate in China over this teenage girl after it was revealed that her father wanted her to leave school so she could balance on meat cleavers in the local high Street.
Dad Xie Jikun said it had always been a struggle to get enough money together to pay the basic costs of himself and his daughter Xiexie, with his only income being from performing in the street as a musician.
However, as he got older and tastes changed, he admitted it was becoming increasingly difficult to earn anything at all from playing music on the streets. That changed every weekend when his daughter then aged 7 would come alongside and help out, and in a bid to contribute to his performances, she started learning tricks involving knives.
Jikun said: “Walking on blades has always been a man’s stunt. I wanted my daughter to stand out in the field.”
The teen said:“It kind of scared me when I first started practicing and I got injured several times, but I love acrobatics and magic, so I’ll never give it up.”
And her performances which include balancing on the blades of two meat cleavers have become so popular that her dad wanted the 13-year-old taken out of school altogether so she can help him earn money in their hometown of Wenzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
She had also agreed but in the end did not go through with it after relatives and her teachers talked her out of giving up her studies.
The pair however still travel around the region as Xiexie performs her now expert blade-standing trick, where she stands barefoot on two giant meat cleavers while performing magic.
The pair first of all chop up vegetables and meat using the cleavers to show how sharp they are, before Xiexie is allowed to stand on them.
And despite criticism her dad said: “I had very little option when she was younger because her mother divorced me and then left me to look after her. It’s a hard life as a street performer but she enjoys it, and said she’d rather be with me than in school.”
She has also been learning other stunts to broaden her potential for earning money on the streets, Because of Xiexie’s interest in magic and street performances, her studies are often affected as she has to travel around with her father, who even tried to persuade her to quit school and pursue a “career in magic”.
Jikun, who admits his daughter badly cut her feet several times while toughening them up, said she now no longer has to worry about not being able to raise his daughter, as the pair earn more than enough money together performing around the country.