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 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 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.”


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