Seoul Cancels Our Shows Last-Minute

We were just wrapping up our performances in Ulsan, South Korea on May 4, 2016. Then, as we started packing for our travel to Seoul for performances there two days later, our company manager suddenly told us the performances at the prestigious KBS Hall had just been cancelled that afternoon. With a holiday weekend upon us, there was nothing we could do and no one we could speak to.

Apparently, the cancellation came  from a South Korean district court, whose judge issued an order canceling the upcoming four performances. The ruling cited threats from the Chinese embassy that Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), the owner of the theater, would incur financial losses in the Chinese market if the Shen Yun shows were allowed to go on.

The Chinese embassy had sent at least two letters to KBS Hall telling them to cancel the Shen Yun performances, saying that the shows are “anti-China.” One month prior, in April, local organizers for the Shen Yun show had taken the issue to the district court of Southern Seoul, and the judge considered the case and decided that the arguments for canceling Shen Yun did not hold and that Shen Yun should be allowed to perform.

However, two days before the shows, the same judge and same court overturned their decision and issued a reverse ruling saying that if the shows were canceled KBS would only need to compensate Shen Yun for the tickets, which number in the thousands. The court cited that if China retaliated by not allowing KBS to show their Korean dramas in China, KBS stands to lose a lot more money than Shen Yun ticket sales.

Under pressure from the Chinese regime, South Korea’s act of artistic censorship puts doubts on its judicial independence, rule of law, and democracy.

Video Report: Seoul Cancels Shen Yun Performance

Shen Yun News: Chinese Embassy Forces Seoul’s KBS Hall to Cancel Shows

The Diplomat: The Long Arm of Chinese Censorship Reaches South Korea

The Korea Times: Korea shouldn’t let China infringe on artistic freedom

US Congresswomen, Other Officials Denounce Cancellation of Shen Yun in Seoul Over Chinese Embassy Threat

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