New Zealand Officials Outraged


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.


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