This footage shows a Siberian tiger climbing and escaping from a high cage, leaving the crowd screaming and running from their seats.
The incident happened during a show in the county of Yuanyang, which is in Xinxiang City in Central China's Henan Province, on 6 September, with members of a local school said to be in attendance.
Video of the evening's performance shows a handler directing the tiger to the side of the cage when the big cat suddenly leaps and begins climbing upwards.
Audience members then immediately jump from their seats and begin screaming 'run!' as the cat appears to escape.
County authorities are said to have searched throughout the night for the big cat, while also urging members of the public to remain indoors.
The tiger was found in a cornfield the following day and successfully tranquillised 12 hours after its escape. The seemingly unconscious animal was hauled out of the field behind a tractor.
Now two organisers have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation - the tiger was successfully recaptured but died while being transported to a local zoo.
The authorities said the young cat was seized from the circus, along with a second tiger and a lion, and transferred to Xinxiang Zoo for safekeeping.
However, the zoo claimed the tranquillised tiger was found dead on arrival. A zookeeper named Feng told Chinese media: "It wasn't even breathing, so we didn't attempt any sort of treatment.
"We've kept the carcass in a freezer and are waiting for a vet to perform an examination."
Feng revealed the tiger had been hit by a car during its escape, and may have suffered internal injuries as a result, but county officials said further investigations are now pending an official necropsy. It is not clear when the procedure will be scheduled.
Investigators said the travelling circus from East China's Anhui Province had been granted a licence to perform in the county on 1 September, but added that the organisers did not register their 6 September show - their first public event - with the relevant authorities.
The two organisers have been detained for questioning, with one named by Chinese media as 23-year-old Zhang Haitao. His wife, Wu Xiangyan, revealed that her husband loaned the two Siberian tigers, one lion, one monkey and one goat from another circus.
Zhang's contract states that any accidental death to a tiger would incur a 100,000-RMB (£11,450/$14,000) penalty, Wu said.