Chinese Embassy's Interference With Danish Asian Cultural Festival Criticized
[Clearwisdom Net] On October 3rd, the Falun Dafa Information Center made the following statement:
"Falun Gong has spread across the world for ten years, with over 100 million practitioners throughout the world upholding the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and revealing the truth about Falun Gong to citizens worldwide. However, China has been conducting an unlawful persecution of Falun Gong since 1999. For the past three years, Jiang's regime has been increasingly extending its persecution against Falun Gong to an international level. The following report on the Danish Asian Cultural Festival indicates that Jiang's regime put pressure on local governments through the Chinese Embassy, forcing those who were blind to the truth to take part in the persecution against Falun Gong. All of their evildoing simply exposed the true colors of Jiang's regime."
The information from Denmark on October 2nd:
To welcome the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), mandated by the Denmark Foreign Affairs Ministry, a quasi-governmental organization "Danish Cultural Center of Development" (DCCD) organized a cultural festival entitled "Asia Review." The purpose of this event was to introduce Asian culture to the Danish people before the ASEM summit through a series of local folk performances by Asian people. As early as June, the Denmark Falun Dafa Association had received an invitation to join the event from the Kenhavns Internationale Theater (KIT), an organization that belongs to the DCCD and is in charge of the event.
Just when practitioners were busy making the preparations, the Denmark Falun Dafa Association suddenly received a note from KIT canceling the invitation. The reasons given were: Some Chinese organizations opposed Falun Gong joining the event. They threatened KIT, saying that if Falun Gong attended the event, they would all withdraw. Through private conversations, the persons in charge of the Chinese organizations admitted that they received pressure from the Chinese government. They said if they performed on the same stage with Falun Gong, they would receive a lot of trouble from the Chinese Embassy.
On September 19th, 2002, Politiken (Danish newspaper) published a report entitled "Censorship at Danish Festival" about the exclusion of Falun Gong. "Falun Gong is banned in China, because the system caused the PRC to fear that its many millions of practitioners could become a power [Note: Falun Gong practitioners have no interest in politics and no political agenda]. The Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen was unhappy that the movement originally was in the picture at the festival, even though they only planned to perform a [traditional] Chinese dance."
"The Chinese embassy was very anxious (about it). They said that they did not like Falun Gong's participation," says Olaf Gerlach, leader of the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) that arranged the festival in collaboration with the city of Copenhagen and the Foreign Minister. According to the report, though Olaf Gerlach denied that the exclusion of Falun Gong from the festival had something to do with the pressure from the Chinese Embassy, the possible reason is that they are unwilling to have any political message in the festival.
But Falun Gong in Denmark emphasizes that the movement was aware that it was a cultural festival. "Denmark is a country where human rights are respected and people value freedom and democracy. Obviously, the Chinese Embassy's pressure is contradictory to the ethical principles that local people respect. Falun Gong has no involvement in politics. Nor does our participation in the cultural festival have any political purpose. The essence of Chinese ancient culture is displayed in the cultivation of Falun Gong. We hope that our participation in the festival can offer people a more comprehensive understanding of the beauty of Chinese culture as well as the truth about Falun Gong. Any reason irrelevant to the introduction of Asian culture should not become an excuse for the exclusion of any group. No matter how people's beliefs vary, they should have the same rights. We sincerely hope that we can work hard together with the organization in charge to preserve the pure purpose of this cultural festival." That day, after coming to understand the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese government, the director of DCCD promised to actively look for a resolution to the problem.
Their exclusion was met with criticism from various sides. "It is reprehensible and very non-Danish, if the Chinese authorities have taken part in the censorship of a Danish cultural festival," says Peter Skaarup, the legal spokesman of The Danish Peoples Party, who has asked the Foreign Minister for a statement of the Chinese authorities' role in the case. Also the chairman of the Committee of Justice (of Parliament), Anne Baastrup, (SF, Socialist People Party) thinks that it is, "Very unpleasant if Danish citizens are under pressure from the Chinese State."
It has not been possible to get a comment from the Foreign Minister Per Stig Moler (K, Conservative). Nobody at the Chinese embassy wanted to speak about the case yesterday.
There has been no final resolution to the exclusion of Falun Gong from the Asian Cultural Festival. Nevertheless, Falun Gong was given a permit by the organization in charge to perform at the King's New Square. On Saturday of September 21st, that is, the last day of the three-day cultural festival as well as the climax of the festival, Falun Gong practitioners from different parts of Europe arrived at King's New Square in their elegant costumes. Accompanied by the music of "Falun Dafa Hao," the elegant performance of Falun Gong practitioners and the harmonious atmosphere attracted numerous visitors. Folk dances and the five sets of exercises were alternately performed. The police officer standing on duty said to the practitioners, "Your performance is very peaceful and harmonious." Many viewers marveled, "Falun Dafa is very beautiful."