Test your moral intuitions, Kunming edition

This was a truly strange article, not only for its content but also for its odd shifts in tone.  It seems that in China there is a theme park of dwarfs who perform for tourists; this reader felt he had stepped into a Brian Barry article.  Here is one sample of what goes on:

And there is the Swan Lake parody, a crowd pleaser in which male dwarfs dress up in pink tights and tutus and wiggle their derrières.

“The first time I wore that, I felt really awkward,” said Chen Ruan, 20, who used to collect refuse with his parents. “But then I got up on stage and people liked it. People were applauding and I felt proud.”

So is this morally OK?  Among other things, the article suggests that this theme park is raising the status of dwarfs, and the disabled, in China, at least relative to how things had been.  You'll note that Chen Ruan, cited above, used to pick up refuse. 

Is it better or worse that some of the dwarfs seem to enjoy the work?  In this kind of "few other good employment options, culture of face-saving and honor, don't insult the boss to prestigious foreigners" setting, are there any employee reports that a reporter actually could trust and pass along at face value?  What is the proper moral stance of a journalist toward a story like this one?

By the way, the piece claims that the park is not (yet?) profitable.


Comments for this post are closed