Incidents & Evidence
A summary of recorded cases of the Chinese Communist Party and its “diplomatic missions” interfering with Shen Yun’s shows around the world. Evidence is constantly being updated as we learn of more cases. If you know of any incidents or have further evidence and documentation, please contact me below.
Date of show
Date of incident
|Spain, Barcelona||April 9-12, 2014||2014||Ahead of Shen Yun's debut in Spain, the PRC consulate in Barcelona attempted to pressure both the national theater and the foreign ministry to cancel the performances. According to an article in El Mundo, the consulate threatened potential compromise to Spain-China relations and called Shen Yun's performers "illiterate and crazy." The Spain performances took place as scheduled and were mostly full. Several Spanish media reported the story.
More: Chinese Consulate Promotes Shen Yun in Barcelona
|Belgium, Brussels||April 2-6, 2014||March 25-30, 2014||A week before Shen Yun was scheduled to perform at Brussels' National Theatre, Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping was to arrive at the European capital heading a 200-person delegation. The Chinese embassy at first demanded that the theater cancel the performances, claiming they put Xi Jinping in danger. This attempt was rebuffed, but soon the embassy faced a new problem.
Two blocks from the theater was the Sheraton where Xi and the delegation were staying. Right outside the hotel were four Shen Yun banners, part of a advertising campaign run by BHS Promotion. One of them, in particular, was exactly opposite the hotel entrance. The embassy did not want Xi to see the Shen Yun banners.
First, Belgian police notified local organizers that the banners, which had been paid for, had to be taken down because of Xi's visit. Following media reports and pressure from the European Parliament, the police backtracked.
Next, a Sheraton security guard was caught trying to take down the banner near the entrance. But he stopped after being told the banner was not part of hotel property. Another group, saying they were from the mayor's office, tried removing the banner but left after being questioned further.
Then, during Xi's visit, Chinese associated with the embassy, including overseas students, tried lifting PRC and Belgian flags in front of the banner, but could not lift them high enough to block it.
On the second day of the visit, groups of 20-30 Chinese surrounded each of the four banners near the hotel. They used packaging tape to connect their flag sticks to the banner's pole, and then 10 other Chinese stood with flags in a circle around each banner, trying to block view of it whenever Xi's motorcade went by.
Full story, including media reports:
Red Flags Over Brussels
|Germany, Berlin||March 23-26, 2014||Feb 5, 2014||Six weeks before Shen Yun performed at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, the Chinese embassy held a meeting with the theater's manager of marketing and sales, Mr. Jörg Seefeld. According to Mr. Seefeld, the theater tried various tactics, starting with promises of bringing Chinese companies to Berlin and ending with threats that he personally would not receive a visa to go to China.
Mr. Seefeld, who had actually experienced persecution in East Germany, refused all their requests and would not disclose to the embassy specific information they were trying to obtain about the contract with the hosting organization.
The performances were successfully held and well-attended.
Full story, including media reports, see:
Chinese Embassy Epic Fail in Berlin
|USA, Costa Mesa, CA||March 11-16, 2014||March 12, 2014||Soon after arriving at Orange County's Costa Mesa ahead of a five-day run at the prestigious Segerstrom Center for the Arts, guards watching Shen Yun's buses and truck noticed suspicious activity around it.
At 1:15 am on March 12, the four security guards noticed a man in his 20s quietly approaching the vehicles. When confronted by the guards, he ran away. Four hours later, around 5am, another man approached, but when a guard spotted him, he ran off as well.
More: Chinese Dance Group On Guard Against Threats
|USA, Otisville, NY||2014||Aug 22, 2013||Award-winning dancer and choreographer Chen Yungchia, one of Shen Yun's most prominent artists, returned home to discover it had been ransacked. But while his computers had been stolen, other valuables such as jewelry and his passport were not.
Chen believes the daytime break-in was aimed at getting sensitive information about Shen Yun, as well as sending him a threatening message.
The incident is reminiscent of another one that took place near Atlanta, when Dr. Peter Yuan Li was beaten in his home, but the robbers went only after his computers and left many other valuables behind. (Forbes article about the Atlanta incident)
|USA, Fort Worth, TX||Feb 20 and 22, 2013||Feb 20, 2013||The latest in a series of what appear to be attempts at tampering with Shen Yun vehicles, even as they are being watched. At 4am, a security guard watching Shen Yun’s vehicles saw a vehicle approach the Shen Yun Performing Arts prop truck. A man stepped out of the vehicle and went over to the Shen Yun truck’s gas tank and began inserting a hose into it. The security guard approached this man and challenged him: “What are you doing?” The man quickly hid whatever he was holding and said: “Nothing, just servicing the truck” (at 4am! No truck service had been requested). As the guard continued questioning him, the man stepped into his vehicle, where another person was waiting, and they quickly drove away, almost hitting the guard. The guard chased him in his own car and called the police. The guard, and later the police, chased this vehicle for several miles, before the two men abandoned their vehicle and fled on foot in a suburb called Irving. The police could not find them.|
|USA, Atlanta, GA||Jan 8-9, 2013||Jan 8, 2013||Outside of Fox Theater in Atlanta, where Shen Yun was performing, Shen Yun’s buses and truck were parked near the theater’s backstage entrance. Two men were spotted lingering closely behind Shen Yun’s truck. A security guard finally approached them and the men left. Later, upon inspection, a gash was found on the truck’s fuel tank, though no puncture had been made.|
|PRC, Hong Kong||August 18. 2012|
|August 17, 2012||Starting in 2007, the NY-based New Tang Dynasty Television has been holding the International Classical Chinese Dance Competition on a mostly annual basis. Shen Yun dancers figure prominently in these competitions and often win top prizes. Some contestants from China have been able to participate, but more often they have been blocked and even arrested.
This year, for the first time, NTD held a preliminary round in Hong Kong. Twenty-six contestants from mainland China were blocked by Beijing. They were either harassed and intimidated in China, or blocked at the border with the semi-autonomous city.
During the competition, a pro-Chinese Communist Party crowd surrounded the venue, shouting slogans and displaying banners. Witnesses described the scene as “totally crazy.”
The Chinese Communist Party has not publicly explained why it is sabotaging a traditional Chinese dance competition. It might have to do with a combination of Shen Yun’s dominance at these competitions and a fear performers will try to defect to the U.S. to join the N.Y.-based company.
For more, see:
NTD Press Release
The Epoch Times: "A Dance Competition Threatens a Regime"
Dancers Banned from Celebrating China’s Heritage
|USA, Denver, CO||Feb 22-24, 2013||Winter 2013||The Patron Manager at Denver’s Buell Theatre told local presenter Vivian Lam that the theater had been receiving emails from people posing as Falun Dafa practitioners and Shen Yun fans. At least one of Buell’s management personnel received these emails almost every day.
In a repetition of a tactic used in 2010 (New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California), the content of these emails consisted of a misrepresentation of Falun Dafa’s beliefs. The apparent motivation was to scare the theater by portraying Falun Dafa practitioners and Shen Yun fans as zealots.
No one in the Falun Dafa community is known to have sent them. The emails, though daily, were sent from different accounts each time.
The local presenter responded to the theater as follows: "I am the only contact window between the Presenter and the Theater. All of our members know about this and they are not allowed to contact you directly without my written approval."
|USA, Cincinnati, OH||Feb 7-8, 2013||August 2012||Staff at Cincinnati Theater received several rounds of emails similar (possibly identical, though this has not been tested as the theater did not provide copies) to the ones in received in Denver (see above).
Local presenter Dr. Sunny Lu reported the incident to the FBI, who told her the emails originated in China.
|USA, New York, NY||April 20-28, 2013||June 11, 2012||An email list used by people who volunteer to promote Shen Yun was attacked by a wave of virus-laden emails. They were sent from gmail accounts with the viruses were included as attachments.
The emails were uncanny in using the tone and terms used by the volunteers. One example was titled:
“Attention! Some adjustments for the delivering of SY Special Edition.”
It included instructions such as:
”Do not put Special Edition at laundries of those top-grade apartment buildings which are normally guarded by doormen.” And: ”Once in an office-building, please deliver to the Manager Room, Law offices, Clinics and Accounting offices.”
No one knew the people under whose names these emails were sent.
|England, London||April 12-15, 2012||Feb 2012||Local presenter representative and University of Reading professor Li Shao reported that the Chinese Embassy in London dispatched staff to visit the London Coliseum, where Shen Yun was scheduled to perform, in attempt to convince the theater to renege on the contract. Local presenters also said the Embassy had visited the London Coliseum the previous year as well, both before and after the Shen Yun performances, asking the theater to stop renting the venue to Shen Yun. The Coliseum rented the venue anyway and held the performances.
“I know the Chinese Communist Party tried to stop Shen Yun from performing in Romania last year," said Member of European Parliament Gerard Batten. "It’s an absolute disgrace that they are trying to use strong arm tactics here in the UK.”
Shen Yun "is about presenting this moral point of view in a very elegant way," said London-based China author Ethan Gutmann, "with beautiful costumes and sculpted dances and bringing people through Chinese history in a fun way. The Chinese government envies that, they want that – they’ve been looking for soft power for a long time.”
The Epoch Times: Beijing's Battle for Soft Power Playing Out in the West End
|USA, Pittsburgh, PA||Feb 15-16, 2012||Feb 2012||Ahead of Shen Yun’s performances at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center, a package of 10 group tickets was sold to student at the Carnegie Mellon School of Music. A few days before the performance, a school representative called to cancel, reportedly after being pressured by the university’s Chinese student association.|
|USA, Seattle, WA||Feb 7-8, 2012||Jan 2012||The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco sent a letter to Seattle City Council Members. According to King5 News, the letter wrote that Shen Yun is, "an evil cult that preaches heretical fallacies and exercises extreme mental manipulation... and has for years engaged in anti-China activities in the United States."
Copy of letter available upon request.
|New Zealand, Auckland||Feb 3-5, 2011||Dec 31, 2010||Consular General Liao Juhua sends a letter to all 20 Auckland City Councilors, urging them not to attend the show (watch 3News video). Councilor Cathy Casey is enraged—she posts the letter on her Facebook page and files a formal complaint with the consulate corps.
The letter is on file and available upon request.
Parliament Member Keith Locke receives a similar letter from 29 Chinese organizations. In a press release posted on the Green Party’s website, MP Locke says he is “concerned that some Chinese organisations in Auckland may be acting in league with the Auckland consulate in this matter.”
More: New Zealand Officials Outraged
|Korea, Busan||Jan 19-20, 2011||Nov 12, 2010||Chinese consulate and embassy officials threatened Busan City Hall and the Busan Cultural Association that if they allow Shen Yun performances to take place, South Korea’s relationship with China will be damaged.
According to the hosting organization, the consulate also phoned television stations and told them the performances had been cancelled, instructing them to stop playing Shen Yun advertisements.
Shen Yun initially was locked out of the theater.But seven hours before the performance, a District Court adjudicated in favor of Shen Yun. The company was let in the theater, and after a breakneck setup completed in less than half the normal time, that night’s performance played to a sell-out crowd.
PRC diplomats ended up advertising for Shen Yun, as the incident led to Korean media coverage of the affair and tickets for Shen Yun’s other Korea performances also sold quickly.
Consular officials also contacted theaters and local government offices in Shen Yun’s next South Korean destination cities 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.
More: Korean Chinese Consulate Promotes Shen Yun
|USA, New Brunswick, NJ,|
San Francisco, CA.
|June and July 2010||May and June 2010||In what appears to be a new tactic, theater managers in three cities simultaneously receive bizarre emails from individuals posing as Falun Gong practitioners and Shen Yun enthusiasts.
The emails seek to portray Falun Gong practitioners and the hosting Falun Dafa Association as zealots, for example by warning the theater that if it does not fully support the show they will incur misfortune.
The aim appears to be causing the theater to question the integrity of the show and the hosting organization and ultimately canceling the show.According to Tom Liang of the New Brunswick hosting organization, the New Jersey Falun Dafa Association, these emails "took on a very odd tone, threatening and demanding the theater’s full support for the show. It tried to portray its author as a ‘mentally-disordered’ person."
The email regarding Shen Yun’s performance in New Jersey's State Theater has been turned over to the FBI.
San Francisco, CA War Memorial Opera House management reported receiving several such emails.
In Rhode Island, the Providence Performing Arts Center reported receiving a similar email from a person pretending to be a Falun Gong practitioner warning the theater that if it does not promote the show, punishment will follow.
Epoch Times article: New Wave of Harassment Targets Shen Yun
|USA, New Brunswick, NJ||June 20, 2010||June 2010||The New York Chinese Consulate makes threatening phone calls to New Brunswick's State Theater, according to hosting organization representative Tom Liang.According to Mr. Liang, the director of Newark's New Jersey's Performing Arts, where Shen Yun performed in 2009, reported receiving daily calls from the New York Chinese Consulate trying to persuade him to cancel the show.|
|Italy, Torino||June 6-8, 2010||June 6-8, 2010||A letter sent to Torino’s Teatro Regio theater signed by “Local Chinese,” threatened the venue to cancel the show using as leverage Torino’s sister-city relationship with China’s Shenyang.|
|Greece, Athens||June 3-4, 2010||May 20, 2010||The Greek Falun Dafa Association was to present Shen Yun at Athens Music Hall, Greece's most prestigious venue. Tickets were to go on sale May 13 for shows on June 3 and 4. On May 31, eight days after ticket went on sale, and with 150 tickets sold over the first two days, a friend of the hosting organization tried purchasing tickets and was told that the show had been canceled and ticket sales halted.
That night, after numerous phone calls and attempts by the hosting organization to obtain an explanation from the theater, the theater sent a fax to the hosting organization saying that the show will not take place due to unexpected technical reasons. One and a half hours after the fax, venue representative Ms. Kerasidou called the hosting organization to confirm that the show was canceled.
The day that the theater stopped selling tickets, a big conference between the Chinese shipping company COSCO and high-ranking Greek officials, including ministers, was held at the theater.
During the week of the cancellation, the president and CEO of COSCO met with the President of Greece and other top Greek officials over a recently negotiated commercial collaboration project.
TVXS: Censorship at Athens Concert Hall due to COSCO? More on COSCO and Greece business and dates
|Moldova, Chisinau||May 25-26, 2010||May 25, 2010||At 8 on the morning of the show scheduled at Chisinau’s Teatrul National de Opera si Balet, Shen Yun performers who arrived at the theater to set up were not allowed in. Within an hour, theater director Valeria Sircanu arrived at the theater, refused to allow the performers in or meet with them to explain what was going on.
A government official revealed that:- the theater director said she received “daily” visits from the Chinese embassy. A Moldovan Foreign Ministry official met with the theater director and said it was the ministry’s position that the show be canceled.- the theater director was in possession of a letter from the Moldovan Ministry of Culture saying it recommended the show be canceled.
On both days that the show was scheduled to perform, Moldovan television reported on the show’s cancellation and frustration of audience members, who protested outside the theater entrance.
Some audience members had traveled from as far as Russia and Belarus, over 30 hours by train.
The theater box office refused to refund tickets, and later put up a sign saying that the theater is not responsible for refunding tickets, and that audience members should actually contact the hosting organization – whose show was forcibly canceled - representative, Tatiana Chiriac, and displayed her phone number.
Given that there was a signed contract with the theater, the hosting organization is now proceeding with legal measures for financial compensation.
Both the Moldovan Minister of Culture, Boris Focsa, and theater director Ms. Seican said that the PRC ambassador told them Moldova would face financial repercussions if the show were not canceled.
Last July, the PRC promised the Moldovan government a $1 billion dollar loan (see Reuters article). At the time of the show's cancellation, Moldova is still waiting for the money to come in.
In March, Moldova’s parliament passed a new law on freedom of expression.
More details and photos: Who locked us out of Moldova's theater?
Letter from EU VP Edward McMillan-Scott to Moldova
A collection of media reports about this incident, including Shen Yun TV appearances.
|Ukraine, Odessa||May 28, 2010||May 2010||A performance schedule to take place in Odessa was canceled when a government organization suspended the theater contract and visas previously granted to Shen Yun performers were annulled. The cancellation corresponded with PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jieqi’s visit to Kiev.
Oblconcerteservice, an organization under the Odessa Regional Council sent a letter informing the hosting organization for Shen Yun’s Ukraine show that their contract with the Odessa Academic and Ballet Theater is suspended.The letter states that PRC officials have requested the Council to cancel Shen Yun’s performance.
Copy of the cancellation letter from Oblconcerteservice
Oblconcerteservice chief Dmitry Polunin told The Epoch Times that Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry requested that show be canceled for political reasons.
Odessa officials also informed The Epoch Times that the Ukrainian prime minister’s office, minister of culture, and the head of the national security service sent similar letters as well. Vice Prime Minister Vladimir Seminozhenko, however, denied any government involvement in the cancellation.
The cancellation came immediately following an official visit to Kiev by PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jieqi.
Evgeniy Zakharov, director of Ukraine’s Kharkv human rights group:
“Ukraine should respond if it considers itself to be a European civilized country.” Zakharov added that PRC officials act the same as Soviet authorities, who destroyed art traditional culture. Two Shen Yun performances were canceled in Kiev last April under similar circumstanced.
Beijing Leads Ukrainian Officials to Try to Cancel Cultural Performance
Letter from EU VP to the Ukrainian PM
|Canada, Calgary||March 31, 2010||March 31, 2010||On the morning of the performance, a person claiming to be one of the show’s hosts called the manager of Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium saying that the hosting organization had decided to cancel the show. Following some clarification with the real hosting organization, the performance went on as planned.|
|Romania, Bucharest||May 28-30, 2010||Jan 2010||In November 2009, the Romanian Association of Qigong Falun Dafa sent a letter of intent to the National Palace of Children in order to bring Shen Yun to Bucharest in 2010. The theater is under the Romanian Ministry of Education. Shortly afterwards, the local organizers called the Ministry of Education asking for an answer to the letter of intent. They were told that the request was forwarded to the Ministry of Cultures Foreign Affairs Department and to the Chinese embassy.
On December 15, the hosting organization signed a contract with the theater. In January, the Ministry of Education notified the hosting organization that they are not allowed to lease the venue, without explanation.
The hosting organization tried to meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture but these request were repeatedly denied.
On March 8, European Parliament Member Renate Weber sent an open letter to the Romanian Minister of Education about the case. As a result, the following day Romania’s Prima TV featured a report on the story.
The ministry publicly attributed to the denial to the fact that the show of traditional Chinese culture has nothing to do with education. Romanian Prima TV later mocked this justification by playing footage of various conferences that took place at the theater, including a gypsy summit.
Romanian European Parliament Member Csaba Sogor said: “This is very troubling, because politics should never override human rights and culture.”
In a March meeting, a ministry official privately admitted the decision was based on a recommendation from the Romanian Foreign Ministry due to pressure form the PRC embassy.
|Ireland, Dublin||Mar 28, 2010||Mar 27, 2010||The Chinese Embassy in Ireland circulates letters to all foreign diplomatic missions in Dublin to “kindly remind” them not to attend Shen Yun’s performance.
Irish Times article
|PRC, Shanghai||2010||Feb 18, 2010||The husband of Shen Yun’s erhu virtuoso is abducted while getting ready to board a flight at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. The couple had been separated by persecution for over a decade. The husband, Jiang Feng, was headed to Newark, NJ, to finally be reunited with his wife and erhu player, Mei Xuan. Jiang Feng was sent to 18 months in an Anhui province labor camp.
Washington Times Op-ed: An empty seat, a broken heart
Shen Yun erhu player's husband 'sentenced' to 18 months of forced labor
Personal Encouragement at EU
|USA, Los Angeles, CA||Feb 5-14, 2010||Feb 12-14, 2010||While Shen Yun was performing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Chinese state-sponsored Beijing Dance Academy performed during overlapping dates at the Ahmanson Theater right next door. This is a familiar tactic of setting up competing shows at nearby venues on the exact same dates, previously seen in other cities, such as the Hague in 2008.
Beijing Dance Academy’s The Butterfly Lovers
|Australia, Sydney||May 9-19, 2010||Jan 2010||A press release from the Sydney Consulate General announces that: “The so-called ‘Performing Arts’ is a tool of cult and anti-China agitprop,” and goes on with the usual Party-line rant about Falun Gong.
Letter on file and available upon request.
|PRC, Hong Kong||Jan 27-31, 2010||Jan 22, 2010||After delaying the visa processing for 93 Shen Yun artists, Hong Kong authorities refused to issue visas to seven (later six) key members of Shen Yun’s production crew, forcing Shen Yun to cancel the show. It was explained in written communication to Hong Kong Immigration Department that the show could not go on without these crew members, but the Hong Kong government insisted that these workers could be replaced by local labor, which is against common practice even in Hong Kong. Critics suspect pressure from Beijing.
Early Shen Yun Media Advisory
Press Release: SHEN YUN FORCED TO CANCEL HONG KONG SHOWS
Wall Street Journal editorial
South China Morning Post
DC Human Rights Examiner
R.E.A.L. Organization report
Congressman Rohrabacher's statement
Letter from Congressman Bilirakis to Hong Kong
|Canada, Ottawa||Jan 16, 2010||Jan 13,2010||After performing in Ottawa and driving to Montreal, Shen Yun's bus driver noticed a strange cut mark on a front tire of the dancers' bus. Upon inspection, bus service personnel in Montreal said that the slashes were made by a blade. The tire was slashed in such a way that the tire would not go flat right away. Only several layers of rubber were cut, so that the tire would burst after it heated up and expanded while driving. The fact it was the front tire that was slashed is critical, because if the tire burst the bus would lose control - with 50 people on board. The case was reported to Canadian police.
Three days later, a tire on the bus of one of Shen Yun’s other companies burst at 1am while traveling on I-40 West between Memphis and Little Rock. This was the first time in four years one of the company’s buses had a burst or flat tire. Two days later, while in Little Rock, the same company’s truck, during a pre-trip inspection, discovered slashes on one of its tires.
Slashed Tire Posed Threat to Chinese Performers in Ottawa
|China, Guangzhou||Jan 27-31, 2010||Jan 8, 2010||Chinese State Security officials have reportedly monitored Guangzhou residents who purchased tickets for the Shen Yun show in nearby Hong Kong.In one case, five police officers from three different districts (Panyu District police, Guangzhou city police, and Wuhan city police) harassed the family of Yang Fan and forced them to hand over four tickets to see Shen Yun in Hong Kong. The police presumably knew about the ticket purchase through phone-tapping. Three other family members had traveled from Wuhan city in Hubei province to Guangzhou in order to travel from there to Hong Kong together with the rest of the family to watch the show. The police were unable to find their tickets.|
|USA, Little Rock, AR||Jan 20, 2010||May 2009||In May 2009, the Houston Chinese consulate sent a 13-page letter to Little Rock’s Robinson Center Music Hall asking that the theater deny Shen Yun’s application for performance. Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief of Operatinos Jim Rice said the letter was received in May. Rice said they had never received any letter like it before. It is not clear how the consulate knew that Shen Yun planned to perform in the theater again. Shen Yun had previously performed there in February 2009.
Rice said: "No matter who gives us pressure or threats, we will do what we think is the right thing. I am proud to have Shen Yun perform here.” The theater then submitted the letter to the FBI.
The letter said that Shen Yun “propagates lies saying that the Chinese government persecutes Falun Gong.”
Chinese Consulate in Houston Tries to Block Shen Yun in Arkansas
|Holland, Amsterdam||April 21, 2009||2009||An Amsterdam Chinese Embassy representative visited the RAI Theater, asking it to cancel two events:
1. The Dalai Lama’s speech, scheduled to take place at the conference center on June 4, 2009.
2. The Shen Yun Performing Arts show, scheduled to take place April 21, 2009.
Theater management informed the Chinese embassy that the conference center is for everyone.
|Scotland, Edinburgh||Apr 8, 2009||Dec 2008||A Shen Yun performance scheduled at the Edinburgh Playhouse was canceled after the theater’s owner, Live Nation, decided to call off the show. According to the Scotsman , “bosses at Live Nation's UK headquarters in Oxford were concerned the…show could potentially sour Live Nation's concert and venue interests in China.”
Following protests, the show was reinstated and successfully took place as scheduled April 8, 2009.
|Korea, Seoul||Feb 2-8, 2009||Jan 23, 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.
|Germany, Frankfurt||Feb 21-22, 2009||Jan 6, 2009||The Frankfurt Chinese consulate sent official letters to the State of Hessen’s Chancellery, Consular Corps and foreign diplomatic missions on Jan. 6, “reminding” recipients to boycott Shen Yun’s shows. The letter, which was made public, was later credited with leading many people who were unaware of the show, to attend the performance.
Official letter of the Chinese consulate available upon request.
|Korea, Seoul||Feb 21-24, 2008||Jan 11, 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.
More on Korean incidents
|Korea, Busan||Feb 25-27, 2008||Dec 17, 2007||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.
More on Korean incidents
|Holland, Amsterdam||2008||2008||An Amsterdam Chinese Embassy official called the Asia desk of the Dutch foreign affairs office asking the Dutch government to stop the scheduled Shen Yun shows from being performed in Holland. The Dutch official reportedly replied that the Dutch government is in no power to do such a thing in a democratic country, and that hosting organizations are free to organize shows like these as they please.
(Information relayed to a representative of the Holland Falun Dafa Association during a meeting with the Foreign Affairs office.)
|Australia, Melbourne||March 28-30, 2008||March 26, 2008||Two days before Shen Yun’s performance, a letter signed by Liang Shugen, Consul General of the Melbourne Chinese Consulate was sent to several Melbourne officials. The letter states: “I learnt with regret that you sent a congratulatory message to this event.” The letter also claims that Falun Gong was banned in China “according to law” (see some reports about this funny statement) and accuses Falun Gong of “anti-society, anti-human, anti-science motives under the disguise of cultural activities…it is determined to sabotage the friendly relations between China and other countries.” Finally, “It is my sincere hope that you will not attend the performance.” (Letter available upon request)
According to an article in The Age , four MPs canceled their attendance at the last minute without explanation.
|Czech Republic, Prague||2008||March 2008||The anchors of Czech Television’s “Good Morning” show received a letter form the Chinese Embassy ， and the station also received a phone call from the embassy. Both involved urging the TV station not to participate or report on the show. In response, on March 10, Czech TV, which had no intent to report on the Shen Yun initially, interviewed Shen Yun artists Liu Tianyi and Lin Jiaqi on their morning show. The anchor held the embassy’s letter up to the camera ， saying: “We are not Chinese television, neither state television. Our advantage is that we can invite whoever we want. In China ， maybe it’s a little different.”Jiri Liska, Vice Speaker of the Czech Republic's Senate, said that embassy’s “interference won't work here.”|
|Sweden, Stockholm||March 24-26, 2008||2008||An article in the Swedish newspaper, Dagen Nyheter titled 'China Wants to Stop Show in Linköping' wrote : “The Chinese government attempts to stop a Chinese song and dance show in Linköping. The chairman of the Cultural Council has received a call from the Embassy. The message was clear - relations could be affected if the show is not stopped.”
According to the BBC, “Diplomatic relations between Sweden and China are said to be threatened by a row over dance performances.”City officials in Stockholm and Linköping report receiving phone calls from the Chinese embassy. “They stepped way over the line. I think they really owe us an apology and an explanation,” AFP reported Madeleine Sjoestedt, Stockholm Vice-Mayor for Culture and Sports, as saying.
|Malaysia||March 22-23, 2008||2008||According to a March 24, 2008 Associated Press article, the Malaysian government canceled Shen Yun’s shows due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party. The cancellation order was issued by Malaysia’s Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage in Kuala Lumpur. A ministry official reportedly stated that the cancellation was due to a complaint by the Chinese embassy.
According to local organizer Wong Mei Yee, some 2,000 tickets had already been sold and the cancellation cost the organizers $31,800.
Audiences Regret the Cancellation of 'Chinese Spectacular' Show in Malaysia
|The Netherlands, The Hague||Feb 19- 20,2008 World Forum Theatre||Feb 19-20, 2008||The Chinese Embassy in The Hague hosts a Chinese New Year Gala show on the exact two dates that the Shen Yun shows are held. Its theater is blocks away from Shen Yun’s venue.
Show Disruption Thought to Originate From Chinese Embassy
|Romania, Bucharest||April 7-8, 2008||March 2008||The Chinese embassy learned of the show a month before the performance and sent several delegation to the venue, the National Theater of Bucharest, to urge cancellation of the show.
Both the venue administration and the director of the Department of Foreign Affairs within the Ministry of Culture, Bella Krisbay, called the hosting organization in for clarification. Following the meeting, they refused to cancel the show.
Between Shen Yun’s first and second shows at the National Theater of Bucharest, a PRC embassy representative visited the theater and asked the theater manager to not allow Shen Yun to continue performing. The theater manager refused, saying: “I saw the show. It’s great.”
But when the local organizers tried to lease the venue again for 2009, they were turned down without explanation.
PRC consular official Zhou Jihe also made phone calls to Chinese community members in Bucharest, warning them not to attend the show.
|Germany, Munich||April 18-19, 2008||March 11, 2008||The local Shen Yun promoter, the Tonicale Concert Agency in Munich, was threatened by the Munich Chinese consulate. Tonicale first received harassing phone calls roughly every 10 minutes and then a personal visit from the Chinese vice-consul Wang Yanmin on March 11. Tonicale’s managing director was threatened that, if the show were not canceled, he might never be able to enter China again and the agency would be blacklisted and not allowed to conduct business with Chinese partners.
Despite the pressure, the German agency held its ground and the shows were successfully held according to schedule.
Pictures of consulate visiting Munich's Tonicale
|Denmark, Copenhagen||2008||March 2008||Shen Yun’s performances scheduled to tale place at Det Kongelige Theatre in Copenhagen were abruptly cancelled. In its place - a mysterious invitation-only concert sponsored by the Chinese embassy.
On March 18, 2008, Danish National Television broadcast a prime-time investigative report titled: “Theater Encounters Great Pressure from China” about this incident.
|Sweden, Linköping||39534||Jan 25, 2008||As reported by Swedish television channel SVT and the Swedish newspaper Corren, a Stockholm Chinese Embassy official threatened Johan Lundgren, Chair of the Cultural and Recreational Board, that relations between China and the City of Linköping would deteriorate if the Shen Yun show is not canceled.“
This demand is astonishing but it is valueless. It is completely unthinkable that we stop the show. It doesn’t matter who rings us, we shall not be influenced,” Municipal Chairman Paul Lindvall told the Swedish newspaper.
Leo Wijkman, program manager of Arenabolaget, the company that operates the Konsert & Kongress, where Shen Yun was scheduled to perform, told Corren that he had booked Shen Yun based on the show’s artistic merit.
Swedish Politicians Rebuff Chinese Embassy's Threats
|Russia, St. Petersburg||2008||2008||Show had to be canceled due to pressure on the theater. Quote from Russian historian Oleg Mironenko: “I don’t know why these dances could provoke such a reaction from the Chinese Party leaders. Maybe the regime is not so strong if dances can make it fall.”
|Czech Republic, Prague||2008||2008||A newspaper circulated by the Chinese Embassy in Prague among diaspora Chinese printed a front-page announcement telling all Chinese not to go see the show.|
|Finland, Tampere||2008||2008||Tampere city officials were contacted by the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki about the show. The exact content of the communication is not currently known. Foreign Ministry official, Annikki Arponen, told Finish show organizer that the embassy had also contacted the venue Tampere-talo asking the theater to renege on its contract and cancel Shen Yun’s show.|
|USA, Los Angeles, CA||2008||2008||The L.A. Times reports on January 3 that the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate visited Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Chris Norby, asking that he not recognize the upcoming Shen Yun shows at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido and L.A.’s Nokia Theatre.
Chairman Norby reportedly rebuked the consulate and said it amounted to “an attempt by a foreign government to dictate to American elected officials what organizations we should support, recognize or associate with.”
LA Times: O.C. official 'insulted' by China letter
|USA, Fort Lauderdale, FL||Dec 27-28, 2007||2007||Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle says he received a letter from Qiao Hong, the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Houston, threatening that his reputation as a mayor will be damaged if he sends a congratulatory message or attends Shen Yun’s show. Mayor Naugle responded by proclaiming the show’s date, December 27, 2007 as “Holiday Wonders Day” in Fort Lauderdale, and deciding to attend the show (see article).|
|USA, San Diego, CA||2007||Dec. 17, 2007||An official letter from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles to San Diego City Council Member Donna Frye urged Frye to make sure: “no congratulations, no recognition letters, no attendance or no support in any form from you be given” to the show.
The letter (with author, available upon request) claimed that the show’s “ulterior motive is to defame China’s image in the international community and undermine the development of China-US relations.” The letter also compared Falun Gong, known for its strict non-violence, “to the Branch Davidians, which engaged federal agents in a standoff over illegal weapons stockpiles that killed 82 members near Waco, Texas, in 1993; and to the Peoples Temple, of which more than 900 members committed mass suicide in Guyana in 1978.” (LA Times)
Beijing has used this official line since 1999 to try to establish guilt-by-association, comparing the non-violent Falun Gong to destructive groups familiar in the west. (more on this)
Congresswoman Susan Davis’ staff member indicated that the congresswoman had received such a letter as well.
|USA, New York, NY||2007||Dec 11, 2007||The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York sends an official letter to N.Y. State Assemblyman Michael Benjamin. The letter (available upon request) begins by thanking him for his “efforts in promoting China-US friendship and cooperation.” It continues to say that Falun Gong promotes anti-humanity fallacies, and that its show aims at “undermining the China-US relations.” [sic] Finally, the consulate states: “It is our hope and belief that you would not support in any form the so-called ‘Holiday Wonders’ and ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’ organized by ‘Falun Gong’.”|
|Canada, Calgary||May 2007||2007||The Epoch Times reported that Ms. Wang, 70, who had purchased roughly 30 tickets for her co-workers to attend the show, returned to the ticket office two days later saying she had been discouraged from attending the show. When asked by whom, she said: "I can't say, but you know who they are, everyone knows who they are."
The article reports that another person said that “The consulate had invited several Chinese people over for tea," said the ticket purchaser. "One of my friends was included in this group."
The consulate told the guests that the show “is super-terrifying, it shows live organ harvesting on the stage, very bloody, you should tell other Chinese people not to attend these performances." Not intimidated, the friend reportedly immediately purchased 40 tickets for friends and relatives.
|Canada, Edmonton||May 2007||2007||When Ms. Zhu Li, who is a member of a local Chinese association, tried to promote the show to other Chinese organizations, most told her that the Calgary Chinese consulate had warned them not to attend.|
|Korea, Seoul||Apr. 23-26,2007||Mar. 16, 2007||The Keox Auditorium Hall, which belongs to the Korean government organization Trade Center, was scheduled to hold Shen Yun’s show, hosted by NTDTV. 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.|
|USA, Washington, DC||Jan. 26-27, 2007||Jan. 23, 2007||Ahead of performances at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium, Dai Xi of the Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy sends emails to the performances’ sponsors. The letter states: “We suggest that you could think over your sponsorship and withdraw it.” The letter is replete with the rhetoric of China’s state-run media attacks on Falun Gong and the hosting organization, New Tang Dynasty Television.Following the show, the Washington DC ticket hotline service received multiple phone calls, sometimes only seconds apart from an unknown entity. The caller’s number – 8617911020000 – is from China.
PDF copy of email and phone records with author and available upon request.