May 11 2016

Seoul Cancels Our Shows Last-Minute

We were just wrapping up our performances in Ulsan, South Korea on May 4, 2016. Then, as we started packing for our travel to Seoul for performances there two days later, our company manager suddenly told us the performances at the prestigious KBS Hall had just been cancelled that afternoon. With a holiday weekend upon us, there was nothing we could do and no one we could speak to.

Apparently, the cancellation came  from a South Korean district court, whose judge issued an order canceling the upcoming four performances. The ruling cited threats from the Chinese embassy that Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), the owner of the theater, would incur financial losses in the Chinese market if the Shen Yun shows were allowed to go on.

The Chinese embassy had sent at least two letters to KBS Hall telling them to cancel the Shen Yun performances, saying that the shows are “anti-China.” One month prior, in April, local organizers for the Shen Yun show had taken the issue to the district court of Southern Seoul, and the judge considered the case and decided that the arguments for canceling Shen Yun did not hold and that Shen Yun should be allowed to perform.

However, two days before the shows, the same judge and same court overturned their decision and issued a reverse ruling saying that if the shows were canceled KBS would only need to compensate Shen Yun for the tickets, which number in the thousands. The court cited that if China retaliated by not allowing KBS to show their Korean dramas in China, KBS stands to lose a lot more money than Shen Yun ticket sales.

Under pressure from the Chinese regime, South Korea’s act of artistic censorship puts doubts on its judicial independence, rule of law, and democracy.

Video Report: Seoul Cancels Shen Yun Performance

Shen Yun News: Chinese Embassy Forces Seoul’s KBS Hall to Cancel Shows

The Diplomat: The Long Arm of Chinese Censorship Reaches South Korea

The Korea Times: Korea shouldn’t let China infringe on artistic freedom

US Congresswomen, Other Officials Denounce Cancellation of Shen Yun in Seoul Over Chinese Embassy Threat

Feb 6 2016

(Audio) Radio Interview With Australia’s Susie Elelman

Here’s a radio interview I did with Australia’s Susie Elelman in Australia ahead of our Sydney performances there. Susie was wonderful to talk to, and we dove into some deeper issues such as what the persecution of Falun Gong is about, how it’s represented in the performance, and some other things as well. Not bad for an interview recorded at 3am.

You can also read a transcript of the interview.


Jan 19 2016

‘There is freedom of expression in Denmark, and we intend to uphold it’

Shen Yun performed two sold-out shows at Aarhus’ Musikhuset. Prior to the performances, the Chinese embassy wrote to the theater and tried to get the performances canceled, claiming it was “extremely anti-Chinese.”

The theater director, however, dismissed the pressure, saying: “We assessed the artistic content of the performance and decided it was sufficiently high enough that we should rent out to them. There is freedom of expression in Denmark, and we intend to uphold it.”

May 29 2015

Guest Post by Dancer Gary Liu: Ecuador


It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon and a couple of us dancers decided to pay a visit to the park across our hotel. We took off our shoes and began to jump around and do some flips, easily attracting the attention of passersby. A mother and her two daughters approached us—the mother pointed at a nearby building and asked “El Rey Mono?” I nodded and replied, “We’re not performing anymore.” She smiled sadly, and said, “Such a shame.”

El Rey Mono is Spanish for The Monkey King—the name of a Shen Yun dance production touring South America in 2015. Last weekend we were scheduled to perform two shows at the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana in Quito, Ecuador. Unfortunately, due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the theater management refused to let us perform and the shows were forcibly cancelled. So instead of warming up on stage, we were flipping on the grass behind the theater as scores of eager audience members were greeted with closed doors.

This is the second time I’ve witnessed a democratic country falling prey to the CCP’s intimidation. The first time was on February 2008 in Busan, South Korea, where our shows were suddenly cancelled—even though we were already in the country—due to pressure from the CCP. Similar antics occurred in Moldova on May 2010, when Shen Yun members who had arrived at the theatre were refused entry because the theater director had received threats from the Chinese Embassy.

But why is the CCP so intent on blocking our show? Most people would probably find it nonsensical and absurd. First, Shen Yun presents genuine traditional Chinese culture through world-class performances and has received critical acclaim around the world. Second, our particular show is a new dance production based on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. It is one of the four classics of Chinese literature and possibly the most popular novel of all time in the East.

Moreover, we had just completed shows in Mexico and Colombia, and the audience response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy the adventures of Tang Monk and his three eccentric disciples, but they could also understand the deeper meanings, wisdom, and values being portrayed.

However, instead of supporting our efforts to promote Chinese culture internationally, the CCP threatens the countries that are planning to host Shen Yun performances. This is because the CCP promotes Chinese culture on the surface, while in reality it is systematically destroying it from its roots. (More details on this can be found here)

Personally, I find the situation saddening—not only because we were unable to perform, but more importantly because a democratic, independent country allowed itself to be controlled by a communist dictatorship. It is really a loss for everybody, including the Ecuadorian people, since they’ve been barred from getting to know true Chinese culture.

On our last day in Quito we visited the Old Town, where we encountered crowds of locals gathered at the main plaza as soldiers and government officials paraded down the narrow, congested streets. It was their national holiday—a day marking a historic battle fought against the Spanish that led to the country’s independence. I hope that they will truly exercise their independence and liberate themselves from the Chinese Communist Party, too.

May 27 2015

No Monkey King in Ecuador

Shen Yun’s production The Monkey King was scheduled to perform in Ecuador as part of its 2015 tour of South America. But a week before the performances, the Ecuadorian House of Culture officially cancelled the shows at the National Theatre. Local presenters cited month-long pressure from the Chinese Embassy to Ecuador as the cause for the sudden, last-minute cancelation.

“We have tried telling them in every possible way that they are violating the freedom of expression of the Ecuadorian people, that they are censoring culture in a democratic country and are doing so through a foreign country,” said Alejandro Nadal, a representative of the Falun Dafa Association of Ecuador, the performance’s presenter in Quito.

Read blog by Shen Yun dancer Gary Liu who had traveled to Ecuador with the production expecting to perform. (link)

Apr 26 2015

South Korea Says No

As part of its 2015 world tour, Shen Yun was scheduled to perform in South Korea for the ninth time. One stop on that tour was Gunpo, a city of 260,000 about half an hour outside Seoul. According to local presenters, shortly after the performances were booked with the Gunpo Culture and Arts Center, the theater manager received a phone call from the Chinese Embassy. The embassy’s representative tried to persuade the theater manager to cancel the Shen Yun performances. The theater manager, though, told the PRC representative: “You’re such a big country with big international affairs. Why don’t you deal with those be international issues, and not worry about a show in a small town like ours here.” The theater manager refused to cancel the performances, and they went on as planned.

Feb 7 2015

Madison Break-In

The house of the Shen Yun presenter in Wisconsin was broken into. The only things taken were her laptop and passport.

On Feb. 3, 2015, a burglary took place at the residence of Lucy Guan, the president of the Wisconsin Falun Dafa Association that presents Shen Yun’s performances in Appleton and Milwaukee. The robbery took place in the evening when she was away from home. Police that arrived on the scene called it a “strange case.”

The items stolen were her new U.S. passport and three former Chinese passport. “It’s got everything about where I’ve traveled. It’s got my Chinese name, where I was born, my exact identity,” Guan told The Epoch Times. She said she believed Chinese agents thought these were of value as the information could be used to threaten her family back home in an attempt to stop her from presenting Shen Yun performances in the U.S.

Also stolen was her 5-year-old laptop with contact information of family in China and information regarding the Shen Yun performances.

Her pearl necklaces and other valuables were not taken.

Epoch Times Report (scroll down to”burglary,” half-way down)

Jan 8 2015

Shen Yun Website Attacked from China

A large-scale cyber attack aimed at bringing down the Shen Yun website occurred during the first week of January, coinciding with Shen Yun’s first performances of the 2015 season. The DDoS attack from mainland China employed massive resources, believed to be from hackers backed by the Chinese Communist regime.

See official Shen Yun press release

Aug 12 2014

Ethan Gutmann’s New Books is Out – The Slaughter

Congratulations to Ethan Gutmann on publishing is monumental The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to its Dissident Problem.

This book is, in spite of its daunting title, a good read and a page turner. It’s narrative nonfiction at its best, and if you’re familiar with Gutmann’s other writings you know what I’m talking about.

It’s also the best place to go for a third-party, investigative journalist account of Falun Gong – the practice’s rise in popularity in China, the early signs of oppression, the crackdown, the brutal persecution, and courageous resistance.

It is only the only account to place the horrific practice of harvesting organs from Falun Gong believers in recent historical context, going back to practices uncovered in Xinjiang.

This book is a product of years of research that I had the honor to be a part of as Ethan’s assistant and translator. Ethan is a kind but hard nosed interviewer who asks tough questions. His inquisitiveness drove our entire research process, which took us all over the world. It is a definitive book on organ harvesting written by a man who initially was not convinced it is actually taking place. But we had access to exclusive interviews with former Chinese policemen, medical personnel, refugees who escaped labor camps so recently they still had healing wounds, and many other people who took great risks to talk to us. This is their story and it is one you will want to know.

On Amazon



Mar 30 2014

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?”