BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hours before Michael Jackson's "This Is It", a concert film about late King of Pop's concert rehearsals screened in cinemas worldwide, fans in major Chinese cities had been thrilled by a premiere show on Tuesday.
Celebrities including film director Jia Zhangke and actress Jiang Yiyan led thousands of fans outside the Saga Cinema at the Solana Square in eastern Beijing.
A large screen was set up at the square, broadcasting Michael Jackson's performances.
Amid screams and applauses, dancers and singers performed the masterpieces of Jackson's works, including "Thriller" and "Beat it".
"I came here from Shanxi (neighboring Beijing) to pay my respect to Michael Jackson. I admire him," said a young man named Bai Bin, a high school student.
"His music and songs are full of vitality. I love his moonwalk very much," said a spectator Zhao Min, a 60-year-old local resident.
Similar activities were held in more than 10 other cities including Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.
"I specially asked for a leave today to come here with my friends to enjoy the premiere show," said spectator Jin Jiya outside the Shanghai Film Art Center. The 24-year-old white collar was from the neighboring city Hangzhou.
Zhang Bin, an official with the center, has been busy preparing for the premiere show for days.
"It is more than a premiere show. It is a carnival for fans who are willing to cheer again for Michael Jackson," he said.
It was a warm-up activity for the premiere of the film at zero hour on Wednesday. The documentary was produced to the memory of the King of Pop who died on June 25 at the age of 50.
"The 1,100 tickets for the premier in Beijing were sold out days before," said Chen Zheng, a communication officer with the China Film South Cinema Circuit which organized the event in Beijing.
Zhang Yiwu, professor of Peking University, said the Michael Jackson fervor in the country was a further proof of China's stature in the pop culture world.
"China is not unique in the fervor, but it testifies to the fact that China is on the front of the pop culture with international perspectives," he said.
Zhang believed people were watching the movie for two reasons, either for nostalgia or for a rediscovery. The young fans tried to learn more about the pop star because they did not have much knowledge about him.
Zhang had his first taste of the pop star's music in the early 1980s on a program of Voice of America.
Jackson's music with its free style and unique performance was something exceptional in China at the time and thus gained popularity, he said.
Zhang said, "People got to know what Western pop music was like through his music." Michael Jackson had not hosted a concert in China in his life time but he had countless fans here.
But they are people whose lives the pop star did not enter. "I don't know the documentary film, not to mention the premiere show," said Xue Jin, a journalist in Beijing.