January 24, 2006
One of China's most popular TV shows wasn't too popular among 50 of the Chinese government's harshest critics who protested Monday as it was about to be performed before a sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall.
[Practitioners] of Falun Gong, [...] denounced the two-hour performance of dance and music, saying its theme song, "The Same Song," was played in labor camps to harass Falun Gong members.
The show takes its name from the song, and Monday night's Manhattan performance is to be broadcast across China on the state-run station on the Chinese New Year on Sunday.
"In the labor camp they use 'The Same Song,' to brainwash people," protester Hiumin Wang, 43, of Elmhurst, said. She said she was imprisoned after unfurling a Falun Gong banner in Beijing on Dec. 31, 2000.
She was forced with fellow [practitioners] to sing the song as part of their "physical punishment, humiliation and psychological persecution" in a labor camp, she said.
"If you didn't sing the song," she said through a translator outside Radio City, "you were not in harmony with Communist belief in the government's eyes. I never thought I would hear it again, in a free country. But when I looked up in Flushing at the poster for this performance, there it was again. It shook me up."
Falun Gong has become familiar to many New Yorkers from frequent demonstrations, during which members hand out literature and wave posters of scorched and beaten Chinese inmates. About two dozen performed [Falun Gong exercise] near Radio City Monday under a steady drizzle as a woman sat strapped to a wooden chair, her face streaked with stage blood, while a man dressed as a guard hovered over her with a nightstick.
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