(Clearwisdom.net) Shen Yun's performances have delighted audiences around the world with its revival of China's glorious history and divinely-inspired culture, and they have undoubtedly been a source of pride for Chinese people. Not surprisingly, Shen Yun has been welcomed in more than 100 cities around the world.

However, before the company was to leave for its sold-out shows in Hong Kong, it was notified by the Hong Kong immigration authorities that six key technical staff members were being denied visas. It begs the question: the glory of traditional Chinese culture has been enjoyed by Westerners and Chinese alike outside of China, yet it is being denied to the citizens of Hong Kong--why is the Hong Kong government treating its own people this way?

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long discriminated against China's people and culture, using Marxism-Leninism to destroy and supplant traditional Chinese culture and ideals. It used the excuse of "special domestic circumstances" to deny the Chinese people rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this is another in a long line of such examples. Chinese media have made a big deal about the human rights of captured Iraqi soldiers, yet they say nothing about the rights of Chinese people at its own appeals offices, Falun Gong practitioners, democracy advocates, and dissidents in general. Hotels catering to visiting foreigners are equipped with satellite TV showing news from the West, whereas it is illegal for Chinese citizens to have certain types of satellites receiving the same type of programming. Part of the Internet was opened up for show in China during the Olympics, but it was quickly shut down again afterwards.

Hong Kong has historically been a part of the free world. Even after 1997, when it returned to Chinese rule, it was to enjoy basic freedoms under the "one country, two systems" arrangement. So why is the Hong Kong government doing this to its people, behaving just like the CCP would?

Ever since 1997, it's a commonly accepted fact that the Central Government in Beijing has gradually shut down freedoms in Hong Kong. However, the future of Hong Kong, and whether or not Hong Kong wants to remain a part of the free world, is still up to its citizens. Why was it considered the "pearl of the orient" before Chinese rule? Why was it given the provision of "one country, two systems?" Quite simply, Hong Kong's prosperity came about under circumstances where the CCP was not involved. The CCP knew that it had no choice but to agree to the "one country, two systems" arrangement, otherwise, there would have been a mass exodus well before 1997. That's because the people of Hong Kong know that they would not continue to flourish under the CCP's rule, and that their freedoms are the basis of prosperity. Losing them means losing their hard-won prosperity.

When the Hong Kong Immigration Office approved the visas of all the performers in Shen Yun, but denied those of key technical staff, it was trying to mitigate the public outrage. Thankfully, many organizations and individuals have publicly denounced this farce. They know that Hong Kong is still fundamentally different than the mainland, and that the people of Hong Kong still do have the right to voice their wishes. They know that if they remain silent even when the government does such a shameful thing, the complete loss of their freedoms can't be far behind. I sincerely hope that the Hong Kong government takes a hard look at what it's doing to its own people and their freedoms, and reconsiders its actions.