Feb 15 2017

China Daily Insert Disguised as News in WaPo, WSJ, Others

In a new form of propaganda, China Daily, the official English mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, inserts paid ads that look like normal articles in newspapers around the world. The article title calls Shen Yun “A Blasphemy That Masquerades as Art” and, most disturbingly, appears to the undiscerning eye as a regular article written by the newspaper. Therefore, while it gives the normal party line attacking Shen Yun and Falun Gong, it appears to be written by the esteemed Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or London Telegraph, to name just a few of the papers who carried this paid insert.

The scale of this blitz is still being uncovered, with media as far as Melbourne Australia and Nashville Tennessee reportedly carrying the identical ad.

The insert is published under the heading China Watch; it appears like a special topic section of the newspaper, with only fine print identifying it as paid content. This media business practice has been called into question for being ethically problematic by publications from The Atlantic on the left to Life Site on the right.

Russia (with the insert titled “Russia Now”) and China are the main sources of such content in an uptick in the production of propaganda for foreign consumption.

According to Cliff Kincaid, director of Accuracy In Media‘s Center for Investigative Journalism, Washington Post owners and editors “are lending their logo to this foreign propaganda,” adding that “If you didn’t know where this comes from, it looks like a regular newspaper.” (quote source)

More:

The Atlantic: Official Chinese Propaganda: Now Online from the WaPo!

The Washington Free Beacon: The China Shills

The Epoch Times: Paid Insert in Wall Street Journal Carries Chinese Propaganda

New Tang Dynasty TV news report (Chinese): 中共喉舌攻擊神韻

Opinion: ‘Advertising that’s not worth the human cost’


Jan 10 2017

Slashed Tires in Tennessee

Prior to the Shen Yun performances at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, the tires of a car rented by staff members of Shen Yun’s hosting organization were slashed. The incident occurred between the evening of Jan. 5 and the morning of the 6. Several slashes were visible on two of the tires.

More images and report (in Chinese)


May 26 2016

Capitol Hill Panel Discussion

Two weeks after the conclusion of Shen Yun’s 2016 world tour, principal dancers Tony Xue and Rocky Liao, as well as myself, were invited to Washington, DC to speak at a panel marking 50 years since the start of the Cultural Revolution in China.
The panel, held on Capitol Hill, discussed how traditional Chinese culture has been destroyed, most notably during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), how this culture is now being revived by Shen Yun Performing Arts, and how this renaissance could only be started outside of mainland China.

TV anchor Xiang Dong (right) moderated the panel.
Tony Xue (above) told of his journey to becoming a Shen Yun principal dancer and the fulfillment he has found reconnecting with his own heritage.
And Principal Dancer Rocky Liao (below) gave a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes trials and hardships of a professional dancer, what it takes to overcome them, and why it’s all worth it.
 

I gave a brief introduction to Shen Yun’s history, the incident in South Korea last month, why the Chinese Communist Party fears Shen Yun, and how it hasn’t slowed down the company.
My bottom line was that Shen Yun, and the revival of traditional culture, is not just Chinese issues. We are a U.S., New York-based company facing interference, harassment, intimidation, and direct sabotage from a foreign government and its secret operatives. It is happening in America, from big cities to small-town USA, and it is happening to us when we travel internationally as an American company overseas.
Shen Yun, as an ethnic-Chinese company based in New York, represents all that is wonderful and complex about the United States, and needs our protection and support.

Feb 6 2016

(Audio) Radio Interview With Australia’s Susie Elelman

Here’s a radio interview I did with Australia’s Susie Elelman in Australia ahead of our Sydney performances there. Susie was wonderful to talk to, and we dove into some deeper issues such as what the persecution of Falun Gong is about, how it’s represented in the performance, and some other things as well. Not bad for an interview recorded at 3am.

You can also read a transcript of the interview.

 


May 29 2015

Guest Post by Dancer Gary Liu: Ecuador

 

It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon and a couple of us dancers decided to pay a visit to the park across our hotel. We took off our shoes and began to jump around and do some flips, easily attracting the attention of passersby. A mother and her two daughters approached us—the mother pointed at a nearby building and asked “El Rey Mono?” I nodded and replied, “We’re not performing anymore.” She smiled sadly, and said, “Such a shame.”

El Rey Mono is Spanish for The Monkey King—the name of a Shen Yun dance production touring South America in 2015. Last weekend we were scheduled to perform two shows at the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana in Quito, Ecuador. Unfortunately, due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the theater management refused to let us perform and the shows were forcibly cancelled. So instead of warming up on stage, we were flipping on the grass behind the theater as scores of eager audience members were greeted with closed doors.

This is the second time I’ve witnessed a democratic country falling prey to the CCP’s intimidation. The first time was on February 2008 in Busan, South Korea, where our shows were suddenly cancelled—even though we were already in the country—due to pressure from the CCP. Similar antics occurred in Moldova on May 2010, when Shen Yun members who had arrived at the theatre were refused entry because the theater director had received threats from the Chinese Embassy.

But why is the CCP so intent on blocking our show? Most people would probably find it nonsensical and absurd. First, Shen Yun presents genuine traditional Chinese culture through world-class performances and has received critical acclaim around the world. Second, our particular show is a new dance production based on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. It is one of the four classics of Chinese literature and possibly the most popular novel of all time in the East.

Moreover, we had just completed shows in Mexico and Colombia, and the audience response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy the adventures of Tang Monk and his three eccentric disciples, but they could also understand the deeper meanings, wisdom, and values being portrayed.

However, instead of supporting our efforts to promote Chinese culture internationally, the CCP threatens the countries that are planning to host Shen Yun performances. This is because the CCP promotes Chinese culture on the surface, while in reality it is systematically destroying it from its roots. (More details on this can be found here)

Personally, I find the situation saddening—not only because we were unable to perform, but more importantly because a democratic, independent country allowed itself to be controlled by a communist dictatorship. It is really a loss for everybody, including the Ecuadorian people, since they’ve been barred from getting to know true Chinese culture.

On our last day in Quito we visited the Old Town, where we encountered crowds of locals gathered at the main plaza as soldiers and government officials paraded down the narrow, congested streets. It was their national holiday—a day marking a historic battle fought against the Spanish that led to the country’s independence. I hope that they will truly exercise their independence and liberate themselves from the Chinese Communist Party, too.


May 27 2015

No Monkey King in Ecuador

Shen Yun’s production The Monkey King was scheduled to perform in Ecuador as part of its 2015 tour of South America. But a week before the performances, the Ecuadorian House of Culture officially cancelled the shows at the National Theatre. Local presenters cited month-long pressure from the Chinese Embassy to Ecuador as the cause for the sudden, last-minute cancelation.

“We have tried telling them in every possible way that they are violating the freedom of expression of the Ecuadorian people, that they are censoring culture in a democratic country and are doing so through a foreign country,” said Alejandro Nadal, a representative of the Falun Dafa Association of Ecuador, the performance’s presenter in Quito.

Read blog by Shen Yun dancer Gary Liu who had traveled to Ecuador with the production expecting to perform. (link)


Apr 26 2015

South Korea Says No

As part of its 2015 world tour, Shen Yun was scheduled to perform in South Korea for the ninth time. One stop on that tour was Gunpo, a city of 260,000 about half an hour outside Seoul. According to local presenters, shortly after the performances were booked with the Gunpo Culture and Arts Center, the theater manager received a phone call from the Chinese Embassy. The embassy’s representative tried to persuade the theater manager to cancel the Shen Yun performances. The theater manager, though, told the PRC representative: “You’re such a big country with big international affairs. Why don’t you deal with those be international issues, and not worry about a show in a small town like ours here.” The theater manager refused to cancel the performances, and they went on as planned.


Aug 12 2014

Ethan Gutmann’s New Books is Out – The Slaughter

Congratulations to Ethan Gutmann on publishing is monumental The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to its Dissident Problem.

This book is, in spite of its daunting title, a good read and a page turner. It’s narrative nonfiction at its best, and if you’re familiar with Gutmann’s other writings you know what I’m talking about.

It’s also the best place to go for a third-party, investigative journalist account of Falun Gong – the practice’s rise in popularity in China, the early signs of oppression, the crackdown, the brutal persecution, and courageous resistance.

It is only the only account to place the horrific practice of harvesting organs from Falun Gong believers in recent historical context, going back to practices uncovered in Xinjiang.

This book is a product of years of research that I had the honor to be a part of as Ethan’s assistant and translator. Ethan is a kind but hard nosed interviewer who asks tough questions. His inquisitiveness drove our entire research process, which took us all over the world. It is a definitive book on organ harvesting written by a man who initially was not convinced it is actually taking place. But we had access to exclusive interviews with former Chinese policemen, medical personnel, refugees who escaped labor camps so recently they still had healing wounds, and many other people who took great risks to talk to us. This is their story and it is one you will want to know.

 

The Slaughter

On Amazon

 

 


Mar 30 2014

Chinese Embassy Epic Fail in Berlin

From March 23-26, Shen Yun successfully performed at Berlin’s Stage Theater AM Potsdamer Platz. But the previous month, the Berlin Chinese Embassy began yet another unsuccessful attempt to cancel Shen Yun performances.

On February 4, the embassy’s cultural attaché called the theater’s marketing and sales manager, Mr. Jörg Seefeld, to arrange a meeting. The embassy would not say what the meeting was about over the phone, but asked for it to be the next day. And so on February 5 at 2pm, Mr. Seefeld received two embassy representatives – the cultural attaché and another individual who would not identify himself. The attaché did most of the talking over the next hour.

According the Mr. Seefeld, who later relayed the information, here is how the conversation went:

  • In the beginning, it was all beating around the bush. The embassy expressed interest in learning more about the theater and exploring potential future collaboration with companies from China.
  • Then they said, as if casually recalling it, “hey, we heard you have a Chinese performance.” They started inquiring about it in detail. The initial tone was relatively polite, saying, “Oh, we heard it was the Falun Dafa Association hosting it, is there a contract?” Mr. Seefeld confirmed there was a contract with the association, but when the embassy inquired further about the contract and how much had been paid to secure the venue, Mr. Seefeld would not tell them anything else. He said that the theater’s contracts stipulate that he cannot disclose detailed information to other parties.
  • The embassy appeared very interested in finding out: 1. how much money the Falun Dafa Association spent on booking the theater. 2. Whether the hosting association had booked a date for 2015 and what that date was. Mr. Seefeld would not disclose any further information, even though the venue had done even been booked for 2015 yet.
  • Since the embassy could not get the information they wanted, they changed tactics – they began slandering Falun Dafa. But that did not change anything, as the theater manager had already learned about Falun Dafa ahead of time.
  • The embassy then told the theater to cancel the contract. Mr. Seefeld again refused, saying the contract was already signed.
  • Then came the threats. The embassy said that companies from China would not come to this theater. Mr. Seefeld replied that this was fine, as the theater was already overbooked. Finally, they threatened him that if he ever wanted to go to China he would not be able to get a visa. Mr. Seefeld said he did not have time to go anyway.

That was the end of their strategy, so they left. The next day, the manager called a representative of the Falun Dafa Association and told this story.

The story was then reported in an article by the German The Epoch Times as well as in Berliner Zeitung, in an article that starts: “It sounds like a piece from the Cold War.”

It turns out that was an apt reference. Mr. Seefeld is from East Germany and had been in imprisoned by the GDR’s communist regime. He later said he was infuriated by the meeting and was just holding back his anger. If they were not diplomats, he said, he would have pounded the table and given them a lesson: “You have so many human rights problems in you country, how dare you come here and tell us what to do?”

 


Feb 11 2011

New Zealand Officials Outraged

(中文:新西兰官员的愤怒

New Zealand Parliament Member Keith Locke and Auckland Council Member Cathy Casey are furious at Chinese letters they have received denigrating Shen Yun Performing Arts and warning them not to attend the company’s shows.

Ahead of Shen Yun’s February 3-5 performances in Auckland’s Aotea Center’s ASB Theatre, the capital’s City Council members received a letter from the consulate of the People’s Republic of China. The letter, dated December 31, 2010 and signed by Consular General Liao Juhua, concludes: “You are kindly requested to stay away from the event and thank you for reading this letter.”

While at least one City Councilor thought the letter was a joke, City Councilor Cathy Casey took exception to the letter and exposed it. She filed a formal complaint with the head of the consular corps in Auckland and also posted and subjected it to ridicule on her Facebook page.

“Nobody tells me to go or not go to a production at the Aotea Centre,” Casey said on New Zealand’s 3News. “China has its own rules. We are a democracy, we have freedom of speech, freedom of association. This breaks every rule.”

According to 3News, all 20 council members received the Consul General’s letter. Casey wants an apology. “This is breach of the partnership between council and the diplomatic corps,” she told The Epoch Times.

On January 24, Parliament Member Keith Locke of New Zealand’s Green Party received a different letter. The letter had a similar message, but was signed by 29-Auckland based Chinese organizations asking him not to attend the performance. In a press release posted on the Green Party website, Locke said he is “concerned that some Chinese organisations in Auckland may be acting in league with the Auckland consulate in this matter.”

In an interview with NTDTV, MP Locke objected to this type of foreign pressure. “It’s the sort of censorship that goes on in China, but it’s not the sort of censorship we should have here in New Zealand.”

The letter is on file and available upon request.

Note: On February 17, a “Spring Fantasy” gala, a performance supported by the Auckland Chinese consulate that also featured a speech by State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office Vice Director Xu Yousheng, was held at the same ASB Theatre.

(中文:新西兰官员的愤怒