May 30 2010

Moldovan media coverage of Shen Yun show cancellation (collection)

Reports in Romanian and Russian

JURNAL TV morning talk show part 1 part 2 part 3 – interviews with hosting organization representative, Shen Yun performers, the minister of culture, and the theater director.

Radio Europa Libera (audio): The minister of Culture says it’s not his responsibility, while another official says it’s the responsibility of the Minister of Culture, yet a third official he was in Italy at the time…

Radio Europa Libera II (audio)

Radio Vocea Basarabiei: ReprezentanÅ£i ai AsociaÅ£iei ObÅŸteÅŸti „Falun Dafa” cer guvernului explicaÅ£ii (audio)

Ziarului de Gardă: Azi protest SHEN YUN în faţa Guvernului

PRO-TV: Membrii Falun Dafa au protestat astazi in fata Guvernului (video)

Publika-TV: Administraţia Teatrului Naţional de Operă şi Balet susţine că a preîntâmpinat despre interzicerea spectacolului dansatorilor chinezi din New York

Infotag News Agency: Falun Dafa [Association] asks for explanations regarding illegal actions against the company Shen Yun Performing Arts

JURNAL TV: “They remained without the show”

JURNAL TV: “Chinese culture forbidden?”


May 29 2010

Infotag Report on Moldova press conference

FALUN DAFA [ASSOCIATION] ASKS FOR EXPLANATIONS REGARDING ILLEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST THE COMPANY SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS

FALUN DAFA CERE EXPLICAŢII REFERITOR LA ACŢIUNILE ILEGALE ÎNTREPRINSE FAŢĂ DE TRUPA SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS

From left to right: Kuki Szabolcs, Tatiana Chiriac, Man-yan Ng

(This is a partial translation – the original report in Romanian follows)

Falun Dafa Association in Chisinau asks for explanations from the Moldovan Government regarding the illegal actions taken regarding the company Shen Yun Performing Arts from New York.

The president of the Association, Tatiana Chiriac, mentioned on Thursday, during a press conference at INFOTAG agency, that the performers arrived in Chisinau for presenting a show of Chinese classical dance, on 25 and 26 of May, at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

According to her, Falun Dafa Association signed a rent contract for 25 and 26 of May.

Here is a translated transcript of the press conference speeches: Continue reading


May 28 2010

Who locked us out of Moldova’s theater?

We left Istanbul early in the morning on May 23. We reached the Bulgarian border around lunch and got through customs three hours later. From there up and down the roller-coaster, ill-maintained Balkan Mountain roads and to the Romanian border. Two and a half hours later we headed to Bucharest on roads that immediately made us miss Bulgaria. An over-night stop, a flat tire, and many potholes later we arrived at the Moldovan border and, after the routine three-hour delay, approached our hotel in the capital of Chisinau at 3am.

Four hours later we headed to the theater to setup for the show that night. But at 8am, when we arrived at the backstage entrance with the truck ready to offload, we were stopped at the door. “You are not allowed in.” “ There is no show.”

We waited for the theater director, Valeri Sircanu, who had told us the show would take place in spite of the pressures, to arrive. Sircanu, a young woman dressed in a pinstripe business suit pulled up in her Audi, brushed past us and darted into the hallway, shooing away our approaches with a flip of her hand behind her back as she disappeared into the theater. A few moments later she came out, rushed into her Audi and screeched away. She never returned, but in her stead came security guards who locked the door.

Hosting organization representative Tatiana Chiriac trying to enter the theater according to Shen Yun 's contract to perform there on May 25 (photo courtesy of Annie Li)

The backstage entrance had probably never seen such action before. Tatiana Chiriac, head of our hosting organization, the Moldova Falun Dafa Association, and a former judge showed up. She asked for an explanation why her contract with the theater was reneged. None was given. ProTV, Publika TV, and other media started piling in. They interviewed Shen Yun performers, but were also blocked at the theater door.

ProTV interview Shen Yun dancer Jessica Quach behind the National Theater's backstage entrance (photo by Annie Li)

This scene carried on into the afternoon and then approached showtime. At 6:45pm, when dancers usually finish the pre-show warm-up and go change into their bright costumes, when the musicians usually change into their tuxedos and black skirts, when backstage usually vibrates with our sopranos’ voices – we stood silently on the front steps of the square Soviet-style theater looking out at the plaza in front of us in the heart of the capital.

Shen Yun performers on the theater's footsteps at showtime (photo by Annie Li)

Hundreds of audience members, elegantly dressed as you would for a night at the nation’s opera house started pouring in. A boy wearing a vest and little bowtie looked confused. A woman who took a 30-hour train from Moscow was holding back tears.

The hosting organization held a makeshift press conference, their volunteers, who also came from Romania, Ukraine, and Belarus, held banners with still-fresh paint that protested the Moldovan theater and government giving in to pressure from the Chinese embassy.

Hosting organization holds a makeshift press conference with Shen Yun performers in the background on the theater footsteps (photo by Annie Li)

As audience members began figuring out what was going on, they came up to our dancers with bouquets bought at a flower market several blocks away.

(photo by Annie Li)

(photo by Annie Li)

Some ticket-holders rounded the corner to the box office and asked for a refund. As you see in the photo, it was impolitely refused.

Ticket office (photo by Annie Li)

Almost an identical scene repeated the following day, with audience members taking the microphone to vent their frustration. This time, the ticket office was locked. A sign had been put up – the theater holds no responsibility for refunding tickets. If you want your money back, contact the hosting organization representative (the one who was the victim of breech of contract), Tatiana Chiriac; here’s her phone number.

From the information I’ve been able to gather so far from meeting with a Moldovan government representative and from media interviews, here’s what appears to have happened:

-       The director of the National Theater, Valerie Sircanu, revealed that she had received daily visits from the Chinese embassy. She admitted this on several occasions, although later, on live television, she denied ever being contacted by the Chinese authorities.

-       The Ministry of Culture sent a letter to the theater director recommending that they cancel the show. On the same live talk show with Jurnal TV, the minister himself denied any Chinese authorities involvement.

-       A Foreign Ministry representative, who had served with the Moldovan embassy in Beijing, instructed the theater director that it was the ministry’s position that the show should be canceled.

-       The Chinese embassy also visited the mayor’s office to ask them not to support Shen Yun.

Oh, did I mention that last July the PRC promised Moldova a $1 billion loan (Reuters article)? At the time of the show’s cancellation, the Moldovan government is still eagerly waiting the check to come in.

It appears that at our press event in front of the theater we also had a few friends of the Chinese Communist Party eager to make a good impression. Take a look at these two photos – the second taken an instant after they realized we were photographing them. The photo is a little blurry, but you get the idea.

(photo by Annie Li)

(photo by Annie Li)

See Moldova’ Jurnal TV report here.


May 28 2010

JURNAL TV: “They remained without the show”

26 May 2010

Shen Yun performers in Moldova at showtime - on the theater steps instead of on stage

Shen Yun performers in Moldova at showtime - on the theater steps instead of on stage

Watch TV report (in Romanian, translated transcript below)

Continue reading


May 28 2010

Moldova’s JURNAL TV – “Chinese culture forbidden?”

25 May 2010


Watch report (in Romanian, translated transcript below)

Continue reading


May 27 2010

Chinese Business Behind Greek Censorship?

Censorship at Athens Concert Hall due to Cosco?

Created 26/05/2010 – 07:21

By Vasilis Kostoulas

Organizers claim deliberate postponement of the Shen Yun performance , that in its contents also presents human right abuses in China. The unexpected discontinuance of ticket sales happened at the same time with the visit in Athens of the President of the Chinese Company, Cosco (This Company is active in Piraeus port). Athens Concert Hall claimed the need to have their ventilation system in the particular Hall that will stage the show be persevered. Meanwhile the Hall emphasizes that it is not cancellation but postponement of the artistic event.

The performance Shen Yun is based on traditional Chinese dance. It consists of 20 self contained parts. In 2 of them the artists tell about persecutions that happen to an energy practice group in China. Shen Yun performance was scheduled to be presented on the 3rd and 4th of June in Hall Alexandra Triandi of Athens Concert Hall.

“On Friday the 21st of May we got information that tickets sales has been discontinued by Wednesday morning”, said to tvxs.gr Mr. Kostas Tsolis, President of the non profit association Falun Dafa, that it is the presenting association in Greece. Mr Tsolis added that on the day of the postponement, a happening took place in Concert Hall in which the President of Cosco, seniors of the Chinese Company and Greek politicians participated. “Obviously it is not coincidental. In almost every country that has accommodated the show, an issue has arisen,” he explained.

“As they say (Music Hall’s management) it’s about a technical problem in the particular Hall that has to be fixed in those days. However the five day conference that is scheduled for this week is not cancelled. “We shall take the risk” the president of the Music Hall said and on our part we ask why they don’t take the risk with our show too.”

The management of the Hall said that they discontinued ticket sales by way of precaution and that they didn’t inform us (the organizers) not to worry us because the matter wasn’t clear yet. They denied any interference to the show although at our meeting Mr. Manolopoulos rarely looked us straight in the eye and I could say that he was artfully calm. They told us to find new dates. In my opinion and I can say that I am certain that all these happen to avoid any issue to arise at the visit of the President of Cosco in Athens. The ticket sales have been discontinued by Wednesday morning, obviously on anticipation of his visit.”

“Despite the fact that the show has been met with the approval of the President, the Vice President and members of the European Parliament, the show internationally has met similar problems that are caused by the local Chinese embassies. In general those interferences have not succeeded but in Romania for example the performance has been canceled.” concludes Mr. Tsolis

Tvxs.gr communicated with the Press Office of Athens Concert Hall which answering to the relevant questions said: “Those particular performances happened the same days as the preservation in the ventilation system in the particular Hall should be done (1 to 7 June). The preservation wasn’t scheduled. This specific need occurred and that is the reason why we asked the organizers to change the dates. The whole issue is related to the postponement not to the cancellation of the performance. We don’t know exactly when the performance shall be staged because our program is very tight but certainly we shall take care of it. The performance is not connected to a political issue and even if it did on Concert Hall’s part there will be no problem.”

 

Published on TVXS.gr (http://tvxs.gr/node/59071)


May 25 2010

Beijing Leads Ukrainian Officials to Try to Cancel Cultural Performance

The Epoch Times

By Andrey Volkov On May 24, 2010 @ 2:53 am In Europe

KYIV, Ukraine—By putting pressure on Ukrainian authorities, Chinese diplomats may cause the cancellation of a performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts, which was scheduled for May 28 at a theater in Odessa, in southern Ukraine. Shen Yun is a New York based company that is currently on tour around the world.

Some of the show’s performers were denied visas to enter Ukraine, and were given no explanation.

An organization run by Odessa regional Council “Oblconcerteservice,” has informed the Shen Yun show organizer in Ukraine, charity organization “For Children of the New Century,” that the agreement to rent the venue in Odessa Academic and Ballet Theatre has been suspended.

The letter says that Chinese officials have requested Odessa regional council cancel the Shen Yun performance in Odessa.
“It is categorical for the show not to take place. In such situation the juridical details—whether the contract had been broken or suspended—mean the same,” Dmitry Polunin, the head of Oblconcerteservice, told The Epoch Times.

Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization that is independent of China’s communist regime. Through classical Chinese dance, the performing arts group seeks to revive the five-millennia-old artistic tradition of China that was largely destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Cultural Revolution.

Since 2006, the company has performed more than 500 shows around the world to millions of audience members.

OperaOnline said the show “gave a glimpse of a culture and its history that was at times hypnotic in its presentation, sensual in its fluid movements, and inspirational in its theme … and flawless musical performances … simply astounding to watch and a pleasure to the ear.”

The CCP regularly puts pressure on authorities in most of the countries where the show performs. Pressure usually comes through the use of its consulates, embassies, and community organizations, and aims to cancel the show.

Shen Yun takes as its mission to revive China’s artistic tradition that thrived before decades of suppression by the CCP. The show also includes dance programs set in contemporary China that portray the persecution of Falun Gong—a peaceful meditation practice persecuted by the regime since 1999. These portrayals are an irritant for CCP diplomats.

Polunin said that there was a letter from Ukraine’s foreign ministry requesting his organization not assist the Shen Yun show in Odessa. He said it was because of “political” issues.

Odessa officials told The Epoch Times in a private conversation that they also received letters from the Ukrainian prime minister, the minister of culture, and the head of the national security service not to let the show perform.

An Epoch Times reporter met with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Seminozhenko, whose negative letter was among those from the top officials, to ask him about the situation. He denied any government involvement in the interference with the performance.

Ukrainian officials say that the pressure is connected to the official visit of China’s foreign minister, Yang Jieqi to Kyiv last week.

International Support

Vice President of European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott has sent a letter to ask Ukraine’s president to let the Shen Yun perform in Ukraine.

Some members of Ukrainian Parliament, and members of the U.S. Congress also sent letters to Ukrainian officials to assist Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Human rights advocates have also condemned the Chinese diplomats’ interference with domestic affairs in Ukrainian. “This is brutal intervention and we can’t agree with it,” said Evgeniy Zakharov, the head of Kharkov human rights group in Ukraine.

Zakharov commented that the Chinese officials behave the same way as Soviet authorities who physically destroyed art and elements of culture. “Ukraine should respond if it considers itself to be a European civilized country,” he said.

Two performances of Shen Yun were canceled in Kyiv in April, last year, under the same scenario. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not grant visas to the show’s performers and the president’s office made the dates which Shen Yun was scheduled to perform unavailable at the country’s renowned theater, the National Palace Ukraine. Ukraine’s top officials declined to speak with The Epoch Times or the show’s organizers.


May 18 2010

Pictures of consulate visiting Munich’s Tonicale

Vice-consular Wang Yanmin and her colleague visiting Munich's Tonicale Concert Agency.

Vice-consular Wang Yanmin and her colleague visiting Munich’s Tonicale Concert Agency.

Vice-consular Wang Yanmin (left) and her colleague visiting Munich's Tonicale Concert Agency.

Vice-consular Wang Yanmin (left) and her colleague visiting Munich’s Tonicale Concert Agency.


May 18 2010

Letter from EU VP to the Ukrainian PM

EP-vice-president-Shen-Yun-Prime-Minister-Ukraine


May 11 2010

Personal Encouragement at EU

Flowers. Hugs. A letter from the EU to the PRC embassy – that’s how our Belgium run ended today in Louvain-La-Neuve.

Earlier this morning, our erhu virtuoso, Mei Xuan, and I visited the European Parliament to seek support for her husband, Jiang Feng. Jiang disappeared in China while boarding a flight in Shanghai on his (luckless) way to reunite with his wife in New Jersey. Mei Xuan believes he was abducted by secret 6-10 Office agents with the purpose of pressuring her to stop performing with Shen Yun.

We were warmly received by three people who are dedicating their careers to fighting for the rights of people they will probably never meet. They listened to Mei Xuan’s story –

how she and her husband were arrested when the persecution of Falun Gong first began; how he had been jailed for three years and, days before his release, she was picked up off the street and sentenced to four years; how she had been handcuffed to a chair for 75 days and not allowed to sleep; how she was tortured and knocked unconscious many times; how she saw her friends die in prison one after another; how she had escaped to the United States; how she and her husband, married for over ten years, had only been given a chance to spend a few months together; how they were to be reunited; how he disappeared, and how worried she is about him now, because she knows what they do to Falun Gong practitioners.

And when she was done with the basics, they simply told us – we would like to write a letter to the Chinese authorities about this case. We will draft it this afternoon.

We invited them to see our last performance in Louvain-La-Neuve, just outside Brussels, that night and rushed to the theater.

Mei Xuan played beautifully. She always does – an amazing feat considering she has no idea where her husband is and whether, while she is in the spotlight on the world’s most famous stages, her husband is under the interrogation lamp being tortured for a false confession.

But maybe it was something about having spent the day with her, translating her story, that made her moving music that much more stirring. Even the silent pauses between her notes were charged with conviction. The applause roared as she finished her own composition: “The Calling.”

Right after the show, at 11:00 pm, a security worker approached me backstage saying three people were waiting for Mei Xuan. As we worked our way around the curtain to the audience we saw our new friends with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. On top of the flowers was an envelope with a copy of the letter that they had already sent to the PRC Ambassador to the EU.

No one seemed wiling to part – they were touched by Mei Xuan and Mei Xuan was touched by their compassion and encouragement.

I must also mention that, while I didn’t have the honor to meet the representative, someone from Amnesty International also presented Mei Xuan with a flower bouquet at that how. Amnesty had just issued an “urgent action” about her husband’s case. The card on Amnesty’s flowers read: “We fully support you.”

Here’s a copy of the letter from the Chairwoman of the European Union’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Ms. Heidi Ms Hautala.