Mar 30 2024

This is New – Bomb Threats

Over the last week, we’ve faced an escalation in attempts to sabotage our shows as theaters where we’re performing in are receiving bomb threats.

The first time I heard about this was when one of our companies was performing at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. On March 22, a day before the shows there, the theater received an email:  

“We randomly placed a lot of bombs in the theater. If you don’t want us to detonate the bombs, please refuse Shen Yun Performing Arts to perform here immediately!”

Police and sniff dogs carefully inspected the theater and determined it was an empty threat (news coverage). And with both precautions and a lot of courage from the theater and the performers, the weekend shows took place without incident.

My group, meanwhile, was performing in Vancouver, Canada when the Queen Elizabeth Theatre received an identical email the following day, March 23, also sent from a Chinese name. I got a copy of the email. As it’s still being investigated, I’ll remove the sender and recipient name and just share the text itself below:

By March 26, theaters in Long Beach and San Luis Obispo also received bomb threat emails. All turned out to just be scare tactics.

There were also some emails threatening mass shootings, perhaps inspired by the concert massacre in Russia. In Taiwan, where one of our other groups is performing and sightseeing on off days, multiple threats were received as well.

On March 27, our Shen Yun headquarters in Deerpark, New York received an email that read:

“In the near future, you should take care of your actresses, who may very possibly disappear one by one and may be naked when found. Forensic conclusion is that they are killed after being raped!”

This comes on the heels of the recent revival of the old tire-slashing tactic (see below) and after two unknown Chinese nationals tried sneaking in backstage after our performance in Portland, OR. These two, a man and a woman, I actually intercepted as I was still standing around near the stage-right entrance minutes after the show was over. Normally people aren’t allowed backstage without a pass, and I didn’t recognize them, so I started chatting with them and asking them questions. At first, I thought they might be a performer’s parents or friends. They seemed friendly, and pretended to know people in the theater—but none of the staff there knew them. They kept asking technical questions about our production, like our lighting and projection setup. Eventually we asked them nicely to leave as we were actually locking up. They left followed by security, and I went back to change. Turns out they circled through the lobby and then tried to enter stage left, where our production manager intercepted them a second time.

Hmm… spies, slashing tires, and threatening to kill thousands of people in multiple cities and rape and murder our dancers. Seems like a real escalation of CCP tactics. Seems news worthy. I wonder when, say, the New York Times will cover this. Oh wait, that’s right, the Times much prefers writing stuff the CCP enjoys.

Mar 17 2024

Tire Slashing is Back!

On March 15, in Costa Mesa, California, our dancer bus’s tire was slashed. It was a deep, curved cut that severed half of the rubber and was done in such a way that the tire would not deflate but only burst under pressure at high speed. The fact that it was on a front tire meant that the bus could go out of control on the highway.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because back in January 2010 we had an incident in Ottawa, Canada, when the driver’s routine pre-trip inspection discovered an identical cut, also on a front tire. When taken to repair, the mechanic said the cut was very interesting; he was the first to identify that the purpose of the cut was to make the tire explode at high speed.

Three days later, my group’s bus had a tire burst at 1am while traveling on I-40 West between Memphis, TN and Little Rock, AR. 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, I was part of our truck’s pre-trip inspection, when I discovered a similar slash on one of its tires. We immediately took it to be replaced.

Ever since these incidents, we’ve had security watching our vehicles 24-7. They’ve caught a few people trying to tamper with them, including in Atlanta (2013), Fort Worth (2013), and another incident in Costa Mesa (2014).

Ten years ago, one of our companies arrived in Southern California’s Costa Mesa ahead of a five-day run at the prestigious Segerstrom Center for the Arts. That night, March 12, our guards watching the buses and truck noticed suspicious activity around it. At 1:15am, the four security guards spotted a man in his 20s sneaking up to the vehicles. When they walked up to him, he ran away. Around 5:00am, another man approached, but when a guard noticed him, he ran off as well.

So how did someone get close enough to our bus this time to cut it? The bus had been taken to a local garage for regular maintenance, and the cut was discovered when the bus was picked up. The suspicion is that someone had followed the bus there and made the incision when no one was watching.

The police report noted an “approximately 7-inch slash on the side wall,” and that “the damage looked like a fresh cut in the rubber.”

Mar 15 2024

Update from South Korea – Some Good News

After much resistance due to overt CCP pressure, we have some positive breakthroughs to report from South Korea. While still struggling with much resistance from state-operated theaters and, especially, in Seoul, the local presenters have managed to book four theaters in the cities of Goyang, Gumi, Gyeongju, and—proving that it’s also possible to book theaters in cities not starting with the letter G, Daegu.

The shows in South Korea are schedule April 24 to May 11. Definitely a step in the right direction! Congratulations to the local presenters and everyone there who has worked so hard, as well as to the theaters who decided to resist CCP intimidation and decide for themselves what shows they will host.

Dec 20 2023

South Korea Update

Despite the CCP’s interference last year, Shen Yun was able to perform in South Korea, including sold-out shows at the National Theater of Korea. But when local presenters began approaching theaters this year for the 2024 season, they again ran into serious difficulties, receiving rejections in 13 cities, including theaters that had happily hosted Shen Yun in the past.

Local news outlet Chosun Monthly published a long article in August, interviewing local officials and theater managers who relayed the pressure they had received from Chinese diplomats.

Multiple US lawmakers have raised concerns about the CCP’s pressures and the prospects of Shen Yun being effectively barred from performing in South Korea, with some writing letters to the country’s ambassador and president. California Rep. Michelle Steel, a Korean American, wrote to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol:

“I am alarmed to hear that there are attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to exert influence to prevent the performances [of Shen Yun] in the Republic of Korea. This saddens me and I hope we can work on a solution to showcase classical Chinese culture… I have also had the pleasure of attending one of their performances in California and found the virtues represented throughout the show about the universal values that connect us all inspiring. The Republic of Korea, as a free and democratic nation, has been one of the United States’ most important allies in promoting mankind’s shared values. I sincerely request your help to prevent the CCP from suppressing Shen Yun.”


Vision Times: US Lawmakers Voice Concerns Over the CCP’s Censorship of Shen Yun in South Korea

The Epoch Times: Lawmaker Urges South Korean President to Stand Against CCP, Allow Shen Yun to Perform

House Foreign Affairs Lawmakers Express Concern Over CCP Blocking Shen Yun in South Korea

Op-ed by Congresswoman Steel.

Jun 12 2023

Lots of Difficulties in South Korea

Ever since our first year performing in Seoul in 2007, it’s been very difficult to book theaters in South Korea. Although democratic and supposedly free, the country seems rather susceptible to CCP interference, at least when it comes to Shen Yun. The best and most prestigious theaters in the country are controlled by various levels of government, and year after year they prove difficult if not impossible to rent.

You might recall how, in 2011, the theater in Busan canceled the performances due to CCP pressure and then on the day of the first show, the local court ruled that Shen Yun be allowed to perform. The setup for the first show started at lunch, was completed in half the time, and the company performed in front of a sold-out house.

In 2016, in Seoul, we weren’t as lucky. We were scheduled to perform at KBS Hall and, in a back-and-forth affair, were eventually locked out. Here’s a video we made at the time about it:

So what happened in 2023?

  • This year, in order to book shows in South Korea, the local presenters contacted independently owned and operated theaters, and were given positive responses about the possibility of renting their theaters for Shen Yun performances. But when it came to the final step of securing the venues, the local presenters were repeatedly informed that “due to political and religious elements in the performance” the venues could not be rented. This included theaters that were able to be rented in previous years. The suspicion is that the theaters were influenced by the CCP or PRC embassy.
  • In Gumi, where two performances were held at the Gumi Arts Center Grand Hall, the Chinese Consulate in Busan directly called the Gumi city government warning the city not to allow the venue to be rented to Shen Yun, and also sent a letter.
  • In Busan, presenters signed a contract to perform at Sohyang Theater, which belongs to Dongseo University. Dongseo University has close cooperation with Chinese universities and has a Confucius Institute. About two months after signing the contract, the PRC side “expressed regret” to the university that the performances were scheduled and asked that they be canceled. At the time, Dongseo University then canceled the contract. The local presenters took the case to court to block the cancelation. The presenters won the case, and only then learned that Dongseo University had been consulting the Chinese Embassy about whether or not to allow Shen Yun to perform.
  • As far as renting the Seoul National Theater, the Chinese Embassy used the form of a civil lawsuit (filed under the name of individual Wu Mingyu) to claim that Shen Yun is a performance propagating Falun Gong and should therefore be canceled. Presenters have not been able to rent this theater as a result.
  • Every year, in every theater where Shen Yun performs, there is a protest outside led by a woman named Wu Mingyu, who is the one who instigated the civil lawsuit. The protests are professionally organized and set up, with a consistent number of individuals, commercially produced displays and signs. This year, they applied for permits and carried out protests in front of every theater’s entrance. They also printed a full-page ad attacking Shen Yun and Falun Gong in The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s biggest and oldest daily paper (rough estimated cost is $9,850 USD). Three of the individuals involved in this group had previously attempted a protest on the balcony of the Seoul National Theater of Korea – they had snuck in during intermission and set up their protest with banners before being removed by theater personnel.

Mar 20 2023

Dominican: Chasing the President to the Airport?

We just had our first-ever performances in the Dominican Republic in a couple of gorgeous theaters. Our performers certainly enjoyed both the time at the beach and on stage. I got to watch all the shows in the audience and can attest the houses were completely packed with people who were impeccably dressed and left much impressed.

But, of course, the Chinese Embassy tried hard to make none of this happen in one of the craziest stories of their behavior that I’ve heard so far.

On November 9, 2022, Shen Yun’s performances in the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo and Santiago were publicly posted online on the company’s website, with seven shows in five days. Once the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Santo Domingo got the news, it immediately began trying to block the performances.

As both theaters (Eduardo Brito National Theater in Santo Domingo, and Grand Theater of Cibao in Santiago) are subordinate to the Ministry of Culture, the Chinese Embassy’s first move was to contact the theater managers and the Ministry of Culture and ask them to cancel the shows. When that proved unsuccessful, it then immediately scheduled an appointment with the office of the president of the Dominican Republic and strongly demand the shows be canceled. The president’s reply was that the contracts were already signed and there was no way to nullify them now.

According to an advisor to the president who relayed to us this information, the Embassy then contacted the Santiago theater manager, offering him a monetary bribe and promises of future investments. The Embassy also slandered Shen Yun and Falun Dafa. The manager then wrote a letter to the presenter, Asociación Falun Dafa de la República Dominicana, saying that due to theater renovations, Shen Yun’s two performances in Santiago will need to be canceled (looking at cases in other countries, this is a common explanation used by theaters, perhaps at the embassy’s suggestion, to cancel performances). The presenter then reported this to the Ministry of Culture, and the Minister directly stated that the shows will not be canceled.

The Embassy then began contacting a range of influential individuals – legislators, ministers, media. The Embassy wrote them letters seeking their help to cancel the performances. These efforts did not lead to any results.

Finally, in January, one week before Shen Yun was set to arrive, the Embassy learned that Dominican President Luis Abinader was set to depart from Santo Dominigo’s Las Americas International Airport. According to information from someone who was present at the scene, the PRC Ambassador and Consular General rushed to the airport, found the President and again strongly insisted that the President must cancel the shows. The President replied: The situation is not reversible. Later that day, due to a mechanical problem, the President’s plane had to return to the airport. When the Ambassador and Consul General learned of this, they again rushed back to the airport. They told the President that if he insists on not canceling the shows, this will negatively impact the countries’ bilateral relations, and the PRC will discontinue its investment of over 100 million dollars. Their tone was directly threatening the President and he became very unhappy. Putting his hands up he said: “Whatever.”

With all this having failed, unknown individuals tore down Shen Yun’s advertisements in front of both theaters.

In the end, all these efforts were for not. The seven Shen Yun performances took place as scheduled and were sold out. Many VIPS attended and issued public statements of support, such as former Minister of Culture Carmen Heredia and Rosa Santos, Governor of the Province of Santiago de los Caballeros.

May 15 2022

Chinese Embassy in Mexico Gone Loco, But Theaters Not Pollo

With Shen Yun getting ready to perform in five cities in Mexico, the Chinese Embassy in Mexico made a last-ditch effort to cancel the shows or at least limit attendance from VIPs.

The Embassy contacted via Instagram the office of the Mayor of Queretaro, following up with email as well. On May 5, a letter was stamped and sent to the municipality of Queretaro, signed by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (a copy of the letter is on file and available upon request). It is believed to have been sent to other cities in Mexico as well.

The letters’ contents were very similar to previous PRC letters around the world, calling upon the mayor’s office to use measures to block Shen Yun from performing in the city, so as to not “undermine China-Mexico friendly relations.”

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, the next stop on Shen Yun’s Mexico tour, the Auditorio Nacional, received a phone call from the Chinese Embassy asking them to cancel the show. The theater refused.

And then the mayor of San Luis Potosi, where Shen Yun was headed next, received an email from the Chinese Embassy asking the city not to promote the Shen Yun performances. All performances took place as scheduled.

Dec 4 2019

Is Beijing Messing With Your Google Search Results?

Mar 10 2019

Did Someone Hack US Immigration?

While traveling with the company from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia, Shen Yun dancer (name available upon request) who is a PRC citizen with a U.S. green card and U.S.-issued travel document, was denied a boarding pass at the airport. The airline (Qantas) then checked with an immigration officer in Canberra, Australia, and the explanation given was that her travel document appeared in the system as “reported lost or stolen.” This in spite of the fact that she had been able to enter New Zealand three days prior on the same travel document.

Neither the dancer nor anyone in the company had reported her document as stolen or lost—it was with her the entire trip. After multiple conversations and inquiries by US consulates and immigration authorities in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Thailand, no plausible explanation could be given other than someone had entered the system and changed her travel document’s status over the previous several days.

Why was she, specifically, targeted?

One explanation is that her father had just come out of China five weeks prior after spending 12 years jailed as a prisoner of conscience. The incident of her travel document denial took place days after her father visited Washington, DC to tell people about his story, and the very next day after his story was published on a Chinese dissident blog.

Could someone on the inside have done this as an agent of the PRC?

Jan 30 2019

PRC Ambassador Admits Intervention in Audio Recording

According to an investigation, the Chinese Ambassador to Spain has admitted pressuring the Royal Theater in Madrid to cancel the show. In a recorded, investigative phone call, the Ambassador spoke of personally visiting Royal Theater to convey the message. The shows were subsequently canceled.

Just weeks before Shen Yun was set to perform for the first time in Madrid, the shows were suddenly canceled. The theater claimed the cancelation was due to “technical difficulties,” but organizers said that’s the excuse usually given whenever the Chinese embassy is the real reason.

With three performances scheduled Jan. 31-Feb. 2, the Royal Theater director sent a letter on Jan. 7 canceling the shows. The explanation given was that there was an “unavoidable artistic needs of the stage space” for a production of Das Rheingold. However, that production was already scheduled when the contracts with Shen Yun were signed and it was not perceived to be a problem then.

In a press release, Shen Yun’s local presenter, Puro Arte Humano, said it was confident “the Chinese Embassy has pressured the Madrid Coliseum to achieve the cancellation of the show, something that they already tried in Barcelona without success in 2014.”

This turned out to be the case. On Jan. 22, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) placed a call to the Chinese Embassy in Spain. The investigator used a tactic WOIPFG had successfully developed while investigating organ harvesting in China, and posed as a high-ranking CCP official calling for information. He got through to the Ambassador.

On the other end of the line, the person identified himself as PRC Ambassador Lü Fan, according to a press release issued by WOIPFG, which includes a recording of the call. The Ambassador then went on to describe how he had succeeded in talking the theater manager into canceling the Shen Yun shows.

The theater manager initially resisted but Ambassador Lü insisted, according to the recording.

“I told him not to think only about the economic income but also politics,” the Ambassador reportedly said. “When you work with China by signing the ‘International League of Theaters of the Silk Road,’ you have a great potential in the Chinese market.”

Some 900 tickets had already been sold at the time the shows were canceled.