Two companies that have been long-term sponsors of Shen Yun Performing Arts received phone calls from the Chinese Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany on March 4, 2013. Consular officials tried to convince the businesses to terminate their support for Shen Yun. The attempts to interfere were unsuccessful despite the slander, threats and other coercive tactics employed by the consular officials.
Such reprehensible behaviour by officials of China's communist regime is not uncommon. But happily for the hundreds of thousands of people delighted by Shen Yun performances around the world each year, these attempts to interfere rarely succeed.
On this occasion, consular officials slandered the outstanding reputation of Shen Yun performances and the show's local organizer, the Falun Dafa Association. They attempted to coerce the management of the two companies to cancel their contracts to sponsor local Shen Yun shows coming up on March 29-31.
The management of the two companies were very surprised by the Chinese Consulate’s threatening calls. Based on their understandings and past experience with Shen Yun, they ignored the Consulate's demands. They said that they would continue working with the show organizer, Frankfurt Falun Dafa Association, and intended to maintain their sponsorship of Shen Yun's upcoming performances.
"This is Germany. We have freedom of speech. It’s up to us what to do," stated the head of one of the sponsors, a media company.
The two Chinese Consulate staff members who made the calls were Li Ye, director of the Political Section (female, Politik Abteilung des chinesischen Generalkonsulats in Frankfurt, Tel: 069-75085527), and a man with surname Chu (phonetic translation, may also be Zhu or Zhou).
Previous Attempts to Interfere in Frankfurt Also Failed
This was not the Chinese Consulate’s first attempt at interfering with Shen Yun performances in Frankfurt.
The Consulate has also exerted pressure on the Centennial Hall Theatre, where Shen Yun performs, every year since 2008. Consular officials have repeatedly pressured the theatre not to rent the venue to Shen Yun’s organizer, the Frankfurt Falun Dafa Association. To their credit, theatre management have refused to comply with these unreasonable demands every time.
In 2009, for example, then Consul General to Frankfurt Li Haiyan sent a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Hessen, slandering Shen Yun Performing Arts. This letter was later exposed by German human rights organizations as incriminating evidence of the Chinese communist regime’s abuse of diplomatic privileges.
Consul Li Haiyan also sent notices to the diplomatic representatives of various countries in Frankfurt, attempting to prevent them from attending the shows by defaming Shen Yun.
Interference in Munich Also Unsuccessful
Other German cities have not been immune from Chinese regime's interference either. In March 2008, officials at the Chinese Consulate in Munich repeatedly put pressure on Tonicale Concert Agency to cancel the Shen Yun performances.
First, they bombarded the theatre with phone calls every ten minutes. Then Deputy Consul General Wang Yanmin and assistant Chen made a personal visit to the venue on March 11.
“Whoever is associated with Falun Gong will not be able to enter China or even think about working with any Chinese organization,” they threatened.
Helmut Pauli, managing director of the Tonicale Concert Agency, called the Consulate’s behaviour "shameful".
“The Chinese Communist Party has never stopped interfering with Shen Yun performances. Fortunately, more and more people are not accepting their harassing ways of control,” said Wu Wenxin, president of the German Falun Dafa Association. “In Germany, there is artistic freedom. The German people have the freedom to choose their cultural life.”
Shen Yun Warmly Received by Members of German and EU Parliament
Drawing upon divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun Performing Arts brings 5,000 years of civilization to life through exhilarating performances of music and dance. Its critically acclaimed productions have been welcomed by millions of people in hundreds of cities worldwide.
On February 26, 2013, the European Parliament held a VIP reception in anticipation of Shen Yun Performing Arts' arrival in Europe as part of the 2013 world tour.
The reception was hosted by Mr. McMillan-Scott, vice president of the European Parliament, who had seen Shen Yun many times.
“Shen Yun represents 5,000 years of Chinese history and Chinese culture,” he said. “Arts enable people to put aside their differences and appreciate each other's culture, which is what the Chinese Communist Party fears most.”
Member of German Parliament Michael Meister, who has seen Shen Yun twice, said watching Shen Yun “is a time to be enthralled and touched.”
Shen Yun is “a truly unique cultural exchange between China and Europe,” he said. “They imparted to the audience such rich Chinese culture.”
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