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?”


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