Threatened by Beijing, South Korean Theater Cancels Shen Yun Performances
(Minghui.org) The Seoul Southern District Court of South Korea unexpectedly reversed its own decision at 4:30 p.m. on May 4, announcing that Shen Yun Performing Arts, a major Chinese classical dance company, would not be allowed to perform in Seoul’s KBS Hall from May 6 to 8. However, the same court had ruled on April 19 that Shen Yun would, indeed, be able to perform. The new decision came just before a long national holiday weekend starting on May 5, leaving no avenue of appeal.
It has been learned that the Chinese regime has exerted enormous pressure on the Korean Broadcasting Service. The decision, based on two letters from the Chinese Embassy to KBS, reasoned that if KBS allowed Shen Yun to perform, the company would stand to lose $8 billion in revenue from doing business with China.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is the only large-scale Chinese performing arts company based in New York. It's composed of four dance companies and hundreds of performers, including live orchestras, that travel the world simultaneously. Shen Yun's productions—including choreography, music, lyrics, costumes, and staging—are entirely original and are aimed at reviving China’s ancient cultural traditions.
Many of of Shen Yun's dancers and company members are practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline that is brutally persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party. The cancel of the contract in Seoul, and reversion of the court decision in South Korea, again reveal how the Chinese regime extends its persecution overseas.
Shen Yun Performing Art issued the following media release on May 4.
Threatened by Beijing, South Korean Theater Cancels Shows
Seoul—Shen Yun Performing Arts learned today that a South Korean court has issued an order canceling four upcoming performances in Seoul this weekend. The court ruling cites intervention by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the theater’s fear of losing potential business with China. As a result, thousands of ticket holders will not be able to see Shen Yun’s performance, and South Korea’s democracy and freedom have been dealt a blow, as it appears that Korean courts now listen to Beijing.
Will the world allow the Chinese Communist Party to dictate the arts?
Shen Yun is based in New York. We were established in 2006 with the mission of reviving traditional Chinese culture and sharing it with the world. This culture, which has a history of five thousand years, needed to be revived because the Chinese Communist Party spent decades trying to destroy it. Its political campaigns like the Cultural Revolution took this traditional culture—once so incredibly spiritual and rich—to the brink of extinction.
But over the last decade, Shen Yun has been celebrating this heritage on the world’s stage. Through classical Chinese dance, music, and authentic costumes, we present the legends and virtues of ancient China. Every year we tour over 100 cities around the world, performing in some of the most venerated theaters, and receiving praise from government officials, artists, and theater critics.
This year, we had been looking forward to performing at Seoul’s KBS Hall as part of our five-month world tour. In February, after having received a letter from the Chinese Embassy, KBS Hall decided to cancel the rental of the venue to Shen Yun even after the contract had been signed. The show’s hosting organization, New Cosmos Media, then took the case to court and, on April 19, Seoul Southern District Court issued an order ruling that Shen Yun must be allowed to perform at KBS and that the cancellation does not hold.
On May 4, however, the same District Court issued a new order, reversing the decision and upholding the cancellation. KBS had previously denied receiving any pressure from the Chinese Embassy, but the new court judgment, though unfavorable to Shen Yun, revealed that the Embassy had written at least two letters to KBS (Jan. 22 and April 29). These contained thinly veiled threats about endangering cooperation with China should Shen Yun be allowed to perform.
The new ruling was announced half an hour before all administrative offices, courts, embassies, and theaters went on a national holiday, which, when combined with the subsequent weekend, extends until after the scheduled performances are over.
We learned of this new ruling while performing in Ulsan, South Korea, just two days before opening night in Seoul at KBS. Thousands of tickets have already been sold.
The court order leaves no doubt that:
1) The People’s Republic of China is using political power and the lure of financial benefit to try to dictate to the citizens of other countries what they can and cannot watch. This we already know from similar incidents in South Korea and other countries, as well as a copy of a letter sent from the Chinese Embassy to KBS Hall.
2) South Korea’s theaters and legal system are sacrificing their moral integrity and the freedoms of the Korean people in order to comply with the Chinese embassy’s demands.