On March 18th, 2008, the largest national TV Station in Denmark, DR, aired a four minute-long news piece at the peak hour of 9 pm entitled “Theatre under pressure from the CCP”, which took the news crew nearly a month to produce, interviewing over eighty people.
The Royal Opera House of Denmark initially planned to stage during Easter a Chinese Spectacular, which is a traditional Chinese cultural show from the US. In December last year, however, under pressure from the Chinese Embassy to Denmark the Royal Opera House cancelled the show.
The Gala was unreasonably censored by the Chinese Communist government as many performers are Falun Gong practitioners, a practice currently being persecuted in China. In at least seven countries, the tour plan met with deterrence from the Chinese Embassy, which applied pressure on local theatres and politicians, forcing them into cancelling the show.
The CCP regime was very annoyed by the prospect of the Gala being staged at the largest, most luxurious theatre in Denmark. Officials from the Chinese Embassy visited Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 7th of December 2007, demanding cancellation of the performance.
Reporters interviewed the Ministry and got the reply, “Denmark is a democratic country. It is not possible for the Danish government to be interested in influencing a cultural activity.”
But interestingly, five days after the Embassy official visited the Ministry, the Royal Opera House cancelled the performance.
The local host believed that the theatre caved under pressure from the CCP. The Gala spokesperson explained to DR. Nyheder, The theatre promised us that the performance would be staged during Easter. While we were anticipating finalised a contract from the theatre, we suddenly received notice that the theatre had cancelled the performance. This reminded us of how the CCP applied pressure in many other countries.
The theatre’s executive officer Peter Bentzon also admitted that the cancellation did not follow proper process but refused to link the incident with the special visit from the Embassy.
“It was a coincidence that we had to cancel the performance after that meeting. We had to make arrangements for some summer activities, which are important to the theatre. So we had to devote our attention to other projects,” Peter Bentzon explained.
The Chinese Embassy to Denmark declined to comment whether they pressured the theatre into cancelling the show. But an email from the Embassy’s spokesperson stated, “This performance would damage current relationship between China and Denmark.”
The news piece also mentioned that Denmark is not the only country under pressure from the CCP, who tried to disrupt the performance or coerce the audience into not attending the show in Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, Czech Republic, and Sweden.
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