On the evening of May 16, 2007, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, the capital of the Province of Alberta, Canada, global tour of the Divine Performance Arts in the first half of 2007 concluded successfully among the warm applause of more than two thousand viewers. The troupe's excellent performance and deep connotations impressed the audience.
Performance of Chinese Culture in the capital of Western culture
Edmonton is known as the "Festival City" and "Sun City" and was awarded in 2007 as the Canadian "Cultural Capital" for its rich cultural environment and tireless promotion of culture and arts. The arrival of the Divine Performing Arts further illuminates the western cultural capital.
Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly, Ken Kowalski, representing the governor, congratulated the two successful shows of the Divine Performing Arts in Calgary. He studied eastern history before and said that the most attractive part of China is its five thousand-year history. He said that Chinese immigrants make contributions to Alberta in art, agriculture, engineering, and medicine. He appreciated New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) for arranging the show.
Invited guests and political leaders gathered in the evening. The start and end of each program won warm applause. The audience of the cultural capital expressed their appreciation and joy toward Chinese traditional culture.
"This is the most beautiful night in my whole life"
Mayor Jeffrey Craddock of Devon especially brought his 88-year-old grandmother-in-law, Ina Stewart, to attend the VIP reception and to watch the performance
Mayor Jeffrey Craddock of Devon especially brought his 88-year-old grandmother-in-law, Ina Stewart, to attend the VIP reception and watch the performance. He said that the whole performance was wonderful and it was hard to tell which the best program was. The performance made him forget worldly life while watching.
He especially mentioned the lead dancer Michelle Ren and said her dancing was full of inspiration and could almost melt you.
His grandmother said, "This is the most beautiful night of my whole life." She told the reporter, "You should bring your grandmother to watch, by all means." She said proudly she could read the characters "Divine Performing Arts" in Chinese and read it to the reporter.
"Each part is specially designed."
Paul Edward-Shand, assistant of Rahim Jaffer, conservative MP from Alberta, attended the VIP reception and watched the performance. Mr. Edward-Shand said, "The performance is wonderful. The costumes are colorful and bright, matching the backdrop. Each part is specially designed. The music was very good. I was impressed with the solo. The pianist cooperated very well with her." Talking about the erhu solo, he said that Qi Xiaochun's performance was superb talent. He learned violin when he was young. He said he would try erhu and it would be fun.
Experiencing the Hope and Harmony of Chinese Culture
Honorable Ken Kowalski, member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, said after watching the performance that each player performed very well. The programs he liked most was "Creation" and "A Dunhuang Dream." The programs were colorful, and full of energy and imagination. He emphasized that the lead dancer in "A Dunhuang Dream" was energized and the whole dance was full of myth.
For the connotation of the two programs, he said that people in this world are looking for something and different people would have different understandings of the presentations. He said his understanding was of hope and harmony.
"Buddha is always Compassionate"
Ms. Chris Swaren was a graduate student in Chinese history at the University of Alberta in the 1960s. She is now a minister of the United Church. She and her husband watched the performance. She said that the dancing and music were very nice. She was touched by the compassion and care expressed by the programs, making her deeply respect Chinese traditional culture.
Ms. Swaren said, "I read the information before the performance. My background on Chinese history helped me understand the connotation of the programs. Buddhism and Daoism are everywhere in Chinese history. Compassion and caring for others are universal values."
Talking about the understanding of the whole program, she said knowing, "Buddha is always compassionate" is very important to understand the programs.
"The Stories Make One Think over"
Dancing teacher Lynelle Polowich fully enjoyed the performance, "Wonderful. I wish I could participate in such a performance if I were younger." She was former chair of City Talent Show of EFCL - Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and has rich experience of stage performance. She highly praised the performance of the troupe, "Excellent costumes, and wonderful dances. (Watching the performance) is enjoyable." Her husband Ralph Polowichyi said he also liked the performance. They said it was hard to see which was the best was.
"It is hard to make a decision. We like each program. Very rich and perfect. The costumes are impressive."
For the message from the performance, the couple had much to say. Ms. Polowich said, "After watching the performance, I have a motivation to investigate many questions. I need to calm down and think it over. I'll look for information about Falun Gong."
Her husband had the same feeling: "I agree with my wife. The performance is different from what we have seen before. The programs make one think. For such a performance, you need to see it several times and understand each detail. I think every time you'll have new understanding."
Ms. Polowich told the reporter that she would tell all her friends and ask them to watch the performance next year. When hearing about the NTDTV International Chinese Classical Dance Competition, she was interested and said she would check the relevant website.
"The programs inspire thinking and touch people's soul"
Jan Selman is Professor and Chair in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. After watching the performance, she used three "a lot of" to express her feeling and experience, "A lot of enjoyment; a lot of impressions; a lot of experience."
She said, "In general, the performance is a huge celebration and full of great energy and commitment, big pleasure, big scale, and high skills."
Ms. Selman said that she watched many different performances from around the world. From a professional angle, the design and choreography of the show is highly skillful. The director's skill is at a very high level. The music, light, costuming, space usage, entry and exit of the performers, and the integration of the programs are all excellent.
Talking about the program she liked most, she said, "From my direct feeling, I most liked the dancing of the young men's riding horse. It was very clever stage dancing and design - full of energy. The "Mongolian Bowl Dance" was also impressive. One needs high skills to be able to do that."
The program that Ms. Selman was impressed with most was "Returning to the Rightful Place" showing a woman Falun Gong practitioner tortured to death. She said the programs inspiring and soul-touching are "A Dunhuang Dream" and "Reaping what is sown".
She said the program "Reaping What is Sown" would stay long in her memory. She continued, "The program presented the evil people and environment using stage performance. Even with my cultural background, I can deeply feel the evilness. Their skill of expression is very high and impressive, and is understandable among the audience."
Ballet Dancer Praises Chinese Dance
Ballet Dancer Jeniffer Fookes is a professional ballet dancer in the Ponoka dancing troupe. She learned ballet since she was nine-year-old. So far she has been playing for thirteen years. The program she liked most was "Forsythia in Spring." She highly praised the dancing in the "Mongolian Bowl Dance" and "Reaping What is Sown."
Regarding the comparison of Chinese classical dance and ballet, she said that there are many focuses on stage in Chinese classical dance, but only one or two in ballet. She gave an example from "The Loyalty of Yue Fei." She said she understood well that Yue Fei's mother used dancing to tell her son to serve the country loyally and not to worry about her when the country was at war.
"Staying in Illusion and Enjoying the Melody"
Paul Thompson has been to China three times for business. His mother likes Chinese culture. He bought a red Qipao, a Chinese dress, for his mother to wear while watching the show. "The costumes are excellent and the programs are rich and colorful," Paul said. "Each program tells a story. The whole show is very traditional and classical."
Paul said he liked most was Qi Xiaochun's erhu performance: "I listened to the music with eyes closed, like staying in illusion and enjoying the melody of each note."
Paul's mother Marion Thompson said she found that ballet emphasizes the individual and the dancing in the show presented group cooperation.
Native Residents' Acclamation
Richard, a native resident, brought his grandmother Pat Woodman and father-in-law Mr. Giroux to watch the performance. Pat praised the show: "Wonderful. I like the costumes, colors, dancing and songs." She said she would come next year. Mr. Giroux told the reporter that he is an educated person and never heard of Falun Gong. For the first time he heard of Falun Gong from the performance and was touched by the practitioners' suffering. He decided to learn more about Falun Gong.
The 2007 global tour performance of the Divine Performing Arts
January 3 and concluded on May 16 in four continents, America, Europe,
Australia and Asia. The tour played 81 shows in 33 cities with each
show being successful. Audiences experiencing Chinese traditional
culture anticipate next year's performance.
On May 10th, 2007, ten human rights organisations, including Human Rights Without Borders, International Human Rights Association, the Uygur World Congress and the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), held a joint press conference at the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium, to expose the CCP's human rights violations, and urge the EU to take effective action regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in China. The Vice-President of the European parliament, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, attended the conference and made a speech.
Mr. Yang, a representative of Falun Gong, indicated that the persecution of Falun Gong is happening every day. As of the end of April this year, it's been confirmed that over 3000 Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death. In April 2007 alone, 21 Falun Gong practitioners were killed. The means of the torture adopted by the CCP are extremely terrible, and even include the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong practitioners Cao Dong and Niu Jinping were arrested just because they had met with Mr Edward McMillan-Scott, the vice president of the European parliament, in Beijing last year, and revealed truthfully the bitter experiences suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in China. Cao Dong has been sentenced to a labour camp for four years, and Niu Jinping is under long-term surveillance. His wife, Zhang Lianying, was tortured nearly to death in a labour camp in Beijing.
Falun Gong practitioners appreciate the ongoing support and efforts made by the EU, and ask the EU to take effective action regarding the CCP's human rights abuses, and safeguard Falun Gong practitioners' human rights.
Mr McMillan-Scott talked about the deterioration of human rights in China, and talked about his fact-finding tour of Beijing last year. He interviewed two Falun Gong practitioners, Cao Dong and Niu Jinping, who were once imprisoned. He also had a telephone conversation with the renowned human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, after he returned from his travels.
Mr Niu's wife, Zhang Lianying is still imprisoned and suffering torture. Cao Dong has been sentenced to a labour camp for another four years and is also being tortured. Cao Dong told Mr McMillan-Scott that Falun Gong practitioners are especially mistreated by prison guards and other criminals. His best friend disappeared suddenly one night from the jail, and afterwards he saw his friend's corpse with the organs removed. There were holes visible on the corpse.
Mr McMillan-Scott pointed out that, after the interview, all the other people involved were arrested except for him and his assistant. Cao Dong was sentenced to a labor camp because of the meeting with him; Niu Jigping's wife was tortured and now is in a hospital and in the danger of losing her life. Gao Zhisheng was also arrested, sentenced, and now is under a strict surveillance. He has been informed recently that Gao Zhisheng also suffered the torture. These three cases are very typical. Regarding this, he has, many times, requested the Chinese embassy to respond to his enquiry and release them, and has also urged the UN and EU to take appropriate actions.
He believes that the EU should re-examine its human rights dialogue with China and stop the fruitless event because the CCP is only dealing with it with words rather than actions. Other countries are already considering the same thing. The international community should urge the CCP to allow appointed UN special commissioners to enter China and conduct investigations at labour camps and prisons. Whether or not Beijing can host the Olympic Games should be judged based on the results of the investigation. If such an investigation cannot be carried out, the international community should consider cancelling the Beijing Olympic Games.
Mr Schols, the representative from the International Human Rights Association, said that although the EU hoped the CCP would become a just political power through the dialogue, we have already seen that the human rights conditions in China have been terrible in recent years. An independent investigation report, published by two Canadians, David Kilgour and David Mattas, last year, exposed the CCP's crimes of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners on a large scale; they also gave a presentation on the investigation report in the European parliament.
In recent years, the human rights dialogues between China and EU as well as other countries have been fruitless. The CCP disrespects life and morality. It is a criminal organisation, and to discuss human rights with it behind closed doors won't produce any results. The United States and Canada have already realised this problem and are considering condemning the CCP's human rights abuses openly.
Mr Schols pointed out that the vice president of the European parliament, Mr McMillan-Scott, and the German premier Ms Merkel have frankly spoken out and condemned the CCP's human rights violations. Now it is the time for EU to condemn the CCP's human rights violations publicly.
Mr Hoe Wen, a representative from CIPFG, mentioned that, based on the latest report of Amnesty International, there is no evidence indicating any improvement of human rights in China. On the contrary, the suppression of human rights and freedom of speech are increasing steadily. The Beijing Olympic Games have been used by the CCP to further suppress the Chinese people.
The CCP's genocide against Falun Gong is the biggest human rights disaster. If it does not stop, any superficial decorations are simply to deceive the international community. In China, the Olympic Games and the crimes against humanity should not coexist. CIPFG asks for the EU to urge the CCP regime to release all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, and allow independent international investigators to conduct a thorough investigation at all the labour camps, prisons, and other facilities used for detaining Falun Gong practitioners.
In his speech, Mr Willy Fautre, a director of Human Rights Without
Borders, condemned the CCP's indecent behaviour of suppressing human
rights advocates and the attempting to interfere with the conference on
the human rights in China held at the European parliament. He mentioned
that on two occasions when Human Rights Without Borders and MEPs
(Members of European Parliament) held joint conferences at the European
parliament, the Chinese embassy made unceasing harassing telephone
calls to the MEPs attempting to persuade them to cancel the
conferences. He also enumerated some aspects related to China in some
resolutions passed by the European parliament last year, such as the
abolishment of death penalty. The CCP promised to respect and safeguard
human rights but actually has been suppressing freedom of speech and
In March 2007, The Supreme Court in New South Whales, Australia started to process the legal case against Jiang Zemin, who was sued by Ms. Zhang Cuiying, a Falun Gong practitioner. Many government and party leaders wrote to Ms. Zhang to support her.
So far, Ms. Zhang has received 47 letters from the leaders, who are concerned about the process of the case and the organ harvesting in China.
A letter from the Australian Government - Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on March 27, 2007 said: "The Australian Government is deeply concerned about China's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and considers the Chinese Government's ban on the group breaches fundamental international human rights standards. Australia regularly raises this issue with the Chinese Government, including through our annual Human Rights Dialogue. The Australian Government has also impressed on China the need to address allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and suggested China allow an independent, credible investigation of these allegations. We will continue to raise these concerns with the Chinese Government."
A letter on May 2, 2007, from the Australian Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd said: "Labor has noted with concern reports, including those of the US State Department and Amnesty International, about the Chinese Government's treatment of Falun Gong supporters. We are also aware of the Matas-Kilgour investigation and are deeply disturbed by its contents."
"We believe in rigorously raising issues such as the organ harvesting allegations with China, both through the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue and directly for particular human rights cases."
"Labor will continue to raise human rights concerns with the Chinese Government and urge China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as soon as possible. We believe in rigorously raising issues such as the organ harvesting allegations with China, both through the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue and directly for particular human rights cases."
In a letter dated March 8, Ms. Lyn Allison, the leader of the Australian Democrats and Parliament Member said: "The Democrats are horrified by the stories of murder, torture and imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Many Australian citizens have relatives in China who are being subjected to such persecution and we believe that the Australian Government must speak out on their behalf."
In a letter dated May 4, MP Allison said: "I encourage you to continue your work. The news of a possible international legal approach to this situation is very welcome. Countries must be held to account when they fail to uphold international law and to abide by international conventions; particularly when they deal with human rights and are, in many cases a matter of life or death.
I assure you that the Australian Democrats remain committed to your cause and I thank you for bringing the matter to our attention."
In a letter dated May 2, Christine Milne, the federal senator and leader of the Greens said: "Thank you for your letters dated the 26 January and the 19 February 2007 regarding the legal case lodged in the Supreme Court of NSW against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist regime. I commend your courage in taking such action.
The Greens are deeply concerned about the Chinese Government's continued treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. Members of the Australian Government, including the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister, are very willing to talk with their Chinese counterparts about trade and investment, but not about the basic human rights we espouse as a free and democratic country.
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and his Greens colleagues have made a number of comments in Parliament during their terms as Senators. The Australian Greens have been active in campaigns aimed at addressing a range of human rights abuses in China, Tibet and Taiwan.
During July 2006 Bob Brown asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs several questions regarding organ harvesting from Falun Gong Practitioners:
(1) What is the Government's response to compelling reports that prisoners in China are having their organs removed for commercial transplant purposes?
(2) (a) How many Australians have travelled to China to receive transplants in the past 10 years; and (b) in each case, what government checks were made to ensure that the organs used were not from prisoners; and
(3) Is any human tissue, -cells or -liquid imported to Australia, either directly or indirectly, from China; if so, can details be provided.
The Greens will continue to campaign against these human rights abuses both in Parliament and in the broader community."
State Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr, expressed: "The Queensland Government supports the right of all people to live free from violence and human rights violations. The Queensland Government's Multicultural Policy reaffirms the Government's commitment to multiculturalism and the value placed on the rich diversity of Queensland society. Multiculturalism enables individuals and communities, including Falun Gong practitioners, to express and share their belief peacefully and harmoniously."
In the letter on March 27, Mr. Alexander Downer, the Minister of Foreign Affair Department, expressed: "The Australian Government takes the issue of Chinese persecution of Falun Gong very seriously. ... Australian government considers that China's ban on the group breaches fundamental international human rights standards, including the rights of free assembly and expression. The Australian Government regularly raises Chinese observance of fundamental human rights at senior levels, not only through our Embassy in Beijing and during high-level visits, but also annually at the Australia-China Human Rights dialogue, last held in Canberra on 25 July 2006.
The Government has impressed on China the need to address the organ harvesting allegations and suggested that one way to do this would be to allow an independent, credible investigator unfettered access to facilities of their choosing."
Michael Atkinson MP, Government of South Australia (Attorney-general, Minister for Justice, Minister for Multicultural Affairs), wrote to Ms. Zhang on April 4. In the letter, he said, "Freedom of religion is fundamental to a democratic, inclusive and open society, and the ban on Falun Gong and the treatment of its supporters in China in breach of international human rights standards.
I am saddened to hear that you have been detained and tortured because of your beliefs, and commend you on your courage and resilience in seeking justice, not only for yourself but also for other Falun Gong practitioners.
I wish you all the success in your efforts to bring those who have persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong to justice."
Many other government and party leaders also wrote to Ms. Zhang, expressing their concern and support.
Ms. Zhang had been jailed by the CCP for eight months because of
her belief in Falun Gong. On September 15, 2004, Ms. Zhang Cuiying sued
Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the CCP.