Members of Congress and Human Rights Leaders Denounce Chinese Consulate Interference with Holiday Wonders Show (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On December 18, 2007, before the first show of Holiday Wonders, the Chinese Consulate sent a letter to Michael Benjamin, a New York Assemblyman, pressuring him not to attend the Broadway show. Michael Benjamin denounced the letter. Several U.S. congressmen also took note this incidence.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California
On December 20, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California stated, "The Chinese regime has again demonstrated that it is not content with just repressing the Chinese people at home, but abroad as well.""For the Chinese government to reach into the U.S to further its suppression of the Chinese people is unconscionable and should not escape the attention and condemnation of the American people."
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (left)
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, also voiced her concerns.
She said in an email, "I am deeply concerned about reports of Chinese regime interference in the cultural activities of American citizens within the U.S. It would not surprise me given this regime's record of violating the rights and civil liberties of its people.
"If true, the regime must be held accountable for infringing upon the Constitutional protections of freedom of speech and expression of our citizens. I shudder to think what will greet visitors next summer as they gather for the Olympics in Beijing."
The letter from the Chinese Consulate to Michael Benjamin mentions prominently the "rapid progress" of U.S.-China relations, the strengthening of U.S.-China trade, and "sincere gratitude" for efforts in promoting U.S.-China friendship and cooperation before asking that support not be given to the Holiday Wonders or the Chinese New Year Spectacular. The letter also uses the extreme and slanderous language typical of Chinese regime propaganda in describing NTDTV, the Holiday Wonders, and the Chinese New Year Spectacular. Assemblyman Michael Benjamin of the Bronx, has said he's not buying into the Communist agenda and plans on attending the attacked show.
Benjamin said, "I believe that the Chinese Consulate is again seeking to discourage participation by elected officials in the Holiday Wonders show." He said, "The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] insists to the world that there is only one China. They seek to drown out alternative voices. They fear that the world will learn the truth of their 'Animal Farm' regime."
Suzanne Scholtes, President of the Defense Forum Foundation, described the Consulate's letter as "outrageous."
She said, "I hope this will turn out more people. The Chinese government is a repressing regime. It is attacking Falun Gong for everything it is guilty of."
She praised Mr. Benjamin's action of publicizing this letter and resisting coercion. "The New York lawmaker did the right thing."
Dr. Keith Roderick, the Washington Representative of Christian Solidarity International was also outraged by the letter.
He said, "The Chinese Consulate General's attempt to dissuade New York public officials from supporting the presentations of Holiday Wonders and the Chinese New Year Spectacular is clumsy.
He continued, "The letter is a brutish attempt to stifle freedom of conscience for the Chinese people not only in China, but even the West."
Mayor Jim Naugle of Fort Lauderdale
Mayor Jim Naugle of Fort Lauderdale received a letter similar to that denounced by Assemblyman Benjamin. This did not stop him from issuing a proclamation naming December 27 as "Holiday Wonders Day" for Fort Lauderdale. The Holiday Wonders performs in Fort Lauderdale that night. The mayor said the letter was "quite inappropriate." The Mayor has also confirmed he will attend a reception held before the Fort Lauderdale show.