Over a hundred people gathered in front of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco on Friday, united by a message: “Chinese consul, immediately stop interfering with Shen Yun and U.S. government officials.” The Chinese consul’s recent actions, they say, amount to compromising U.S. sovereignty.
They were protesting a letter written by Chinese Consul General Mr. Gao Zhansheng to a Seattle City Council member, urging the Councilor to not support the Seattle production of the classical Chinese dance company, Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Shen Yun has as its mission the revival of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, much of which was attacked and destroyed over decades of communist rule in China.
The U.S. Department of State should send a letter of admonition to the Foreign Ministry of the PRC.
—Judge Quentin L. Kopp, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and California State Senator
The councilor made the letter available to the Seattle Shen Yun performance organizers as well as The Epoch Times. In the letter, the Chinese consul urges the council member to not attend the performance, or support it in any way.
“In its performances, Shen Yun has included dances that depict the Chinese regime’s ongoing persecution of Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese meditation discipline—one of the last bastions of traditional Chinese culture remaining in China today,” says the media advisory of the San Francisco Falun Buddha Study Association, which hosted the event.
Ms. Anna Wang, the Association’s representative, enumerated portions of a long history of persecutory endeavors by the Chinese Communist Party against Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S.
“We must send a strong message to the Chinese authorities, that interfering with U.S. government affairs on U.S. soil is totally unacceptable behavior. We must not allow a foreign communist regime to tell U.S. officials what they can and cannot see or do, in our country,” the group said.
Students of Falun Gong, who have been persecuted in China since 1999 when then-dictator Jiang Zemin began the assault on an estimated 70-100 million practitioners, were not the only ones offended by the letter.
Judge Quentin L. Kopp, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and California State Senator, now retired from the bench, commented on the incident:
“All Americans are insulted by the tactic of the Chinese Consul General in San Francisco, which obviously reflects orders from the People’s Republic of China. It’s not only an indignity to the persons responsible for producing the wonderful performances of Shen Yun, which was a lovely new experience for my wife and me, but it’s improper conduct towards all Americans, and merits action by the U.S. Department of State,” he said. “The U.S. Department of State should send a letter of admonition to the Foreign Ministry of the PRC.”
San Francisco mayoral candidate Paul Currier also had something to say about the Consul General’s letter:
“Shen Yun Performing Arts puts on a wonderful show,” said Mr. Currier, “and its performances in the USA should be very successful this 2012. This great display of traditional Chinese culture will help Americans learn about China, as well.”
He continued, “The diplomatic and political interference from the CCP and the Officials of the PRC over any show performance is uncalled for in the United States. China could learn a lot from America’s protections of free speech, artistic expression, and our respect for everyone’s freedom of religion.”
In the U.S. and other countries, in addition to China, Falun Gong practitioners have been the target of Chinese regime officials for years, said the group. In 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the House Concurrent Resolution 304, calling on the Chinese regime to stop “interfering in the exercise of religious and political freedoms [of Falun Gong] within the U.S.”
“The Chinese Consul General in San Francisco, Gao Zhansheng, and the government of China have no place meddling in the production of performing arts in the United States,” said Mr. Currier. “I regret that Secretary of State Clinton has not so informed the Chinese Ambassador to educate and guide their consul generals regarding their needed respect for American Law and culture, while they are guests in our country.”
Ms. Wang quoted a defected former Chinese Consulate official, Chen Yonglin, who testified in front of US Congress on July 21, 2005. Mr. Chen said that the Chinese regime’s ‘struggle’ against Falun Gong “is one of the main tasks of the Chinese missions overseas,” adding that there is a special group focused on Falun Gong in every overseas consulate.
Additional reporting by Wu Jianguo