Korean Chinese Consulate Promotes Shen Yun


As Shen Yun Performing Arts launched its 2011 tour of Asia, the company received advertising provided gratis by Chinese diplomats. First, the P.R.C mission to South Korea pressured a theater in Busan to cancel Shen Yun’s performances. Then, such a media frenzy ensued that hours after the District Court ruled that the show must go on, Shen Yun played to a sold-out house.

On January 19, Shen Yun’s International Company was scheduled to hold its 2011 Asia debut at the Busan City Cultural Center. As in previous years, the performance was to be hosted by the South Korean Falun Dafa Association.

The Association signed a valid rental contract with the Cultural Center on November 12, 2010. But on December 21, the theater sent the hosting organization a notice saying it was canceling the performance, in effect reneging on the contract. Negotiations between the two parties came to a standstill. Then, on January 16, three days before the performance, the hosting organization held a press conference, not in front of the theater, but in front of the Busan Chinese Consulate.

At the press event, the Falun Dafa Association of South Korea stated that Busan Consul General Hua Bing, Vice Consul General Jin Yanguang, as well as Seoul Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Wang Chuan, Political Affairs Officer Chen Hai, and other consular representatives had threatened Busan City Hall and the Busan Cultural Association that allowing the Shen Yun performances would damage South Korea’s relationship with China. The Association said that the consulate had also phoned television stations and told them the performances were cancelled, instructing them to stop playing Shen Yun advertisements.

Consular officials had also contacted theaters and local government offices in Shen Yun’s next South Korean destination cities of Goyang (Aram Nuri theater) and Daegu (Suseong Artpia theater). Consular representatives asked them to cancel the rental contracts, but in both cities, the requests were spurned as local officials explained that the city has no right to annul a private contract.

This marked the fifth time since 2007 that P.R.C diplomats in Korea have sought to interfere with Shen Yun performances there. On two previous occasions, the shows indeed ended up being cancelled (see details below). But that was not to be the case this time.

On January 18, 2011, the hosting organization submitted a petition to the Busan District Court’s Second Administrative Department. The following morning, as the court was reviewing the case, Shen Yun’s artists and technical crew arrived at the Busan theater ready to set up that night’s performance. As happened in Moldova last spring, the crew was not allowed into the theater and was forced to wait outside locked doors. Around noon, the District Court’s ruling reached the theater, with the verdict that Shen Yun be allowed to perform. After a breakneck setup completed in less than half the usual time, Shen Yun performed to a full house.

Shen Yun’s three performances in Busan were sold out, and the rest of its performances in other Korean cities were full as well. Ticket sales, which were initially slow, were suddenly boosted by Korean press coverage of P.R.C diplomats trying to tell Koreans what they can and cannot watch. The fiasco led not only to outrage, but also curiosity about Shen Yun. It turns out that P.R.C officials provided Shen Yun with free, wide-scale promotion.

On the second day of performances in Busan, audience members included Chinese who made the special trip over to watch the show. One man interviewed by The Epoch Times, surname Zou, stayed to watch two performances. He said he had been a longtime fan of Shen Yun tenor Guan Guimin. “I got to hear Mr. Guan’s voice again. It was so beautiful. I used to listen to his songs when I was in China. I can’t believe that after so many years I get to hear him sing again. I’m so lucky!” Mr. Zou left the theater with multiple copies of the program to give to his family and friends back home.


Previous documented incidents in Korea:

February 2009: Shen Yun was scheduled to perform at Universal Art Center, which is run by a religious foundation. But the Chinese Embassy in Seoul threatened the theater that if the show is not canceled, they will not issue visas for members of the Korean foundation who conduct business in China. The embassy also threatened that the foundation will risk economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars that they invested in China if they allow the Shen Yun’s show to take place. The show was canceled, but the case was brought to court, the cancellation was overturned and the show successfully performed.

February 2008: Shen Yun shows, hosted by the Korean Epoch Times, and scheduled to be performed at Kyung Hee University’s Grand Peace Palace, are canceled. The reason given was an overlapping schedule with other university activities. But pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Seoul was evident and the case was brought to court. The hosting organization won the case and the show was performed.

February 2008: Shen Yun shows scheduled at the KBS Busan Hall (owned by the state-run KBS TV) to be hosted by the Sonata Planning Agent for Performing Arts were cancelled due to fear of diplomatic frictions with the Chinese regime. The case was brought to court, with the decision upholding the legitimacy of the show’s cancellation.

April 2007: The Keox Auditorium Hall, which belongs to the Korean government organization Trade Center, was scheduled to hold Shen Yun’s show, hosted by New Tang Dynasty Television. On March 16, NTDTV was notified of the show’s cancellation. The case was brought to court under the allegation that the show was canceled due to Chinese embassy pressure. NTDTV won the case, but the theater refused to open the doors for the show, and it ended up being canceled.


Leave a Reply