Forged emails are being sent to theater management to try to sabotage the shows of a New York-based performing arts company.
As the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey, prepares to welcome the return of Shen Yun Performing Arts next week, the theater’s chairman and CEO received threatening e-mails from someone claiming to be a Falun Gong practitioner.
Similar e-mails have been received by theaters in Providence, Rhode Island, and in San Francisco.
Since Shen Yun first began bringing performances of classical Chinese dance and music to audiences around the world, the Chinese communist regime has sought to stop the group from performing.
Mr. Tom Liang of the New Jersey Falun Dafa Association said he believes the e-mails were sent by someone working for the Chinese regime. “The e-mail took on a very odd tone, threatening and demanding the theater’s full support for the show. It tried to portray its author as a ‘mentally-disordered’ person and wanted others to believe that it’s from a Falun Gong practitioner,” said Liang.
The New Jersey Falun Dafa Association is one of the presenters of the show in New Jersey. Local Falun Dafa associations typically help host Shen Yun shows for the New York-based company, which is on its annual world tour.
This e-mail campaign seeks to damage Shen Yun by portraying the Falun Gong practitioners who support it in negative ways. Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a spiritual meditation practice, which the Chinese regime has persecuted since July 1999.
Mr. Sen Yang is president of the Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association. He believes the purpose of e-mails such as those received in New Jersey is to give theaters a negative impression of Falun Gong practitioners as being irrational and weird, so that the theaters will cancel the Shen Yun shows.
These e-mails are not the only forms of harassment that have been aimed at the New Brunswick show.
Mr. Liang said, “The Chinese Consulate in New York also made threatening phone calls to the theater.” In addition, according to Mr. Liang, individuals working for the Chinese regime have also spread rumors among the Chinese community in an attempt to disrupt the marketing of the show.
However, Mr. Liang believes the interference won’t have much effect as both the State Theatre and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) have successfully hosted Shen Yun shows in the past.
“These theaters have a good relationship with Shen Yun Performing Arts and are familiar with Shen Yun’s high quality,” he said.
The e-mails received in Providence, Rhode Island, and San Francisco were similar to those in New Jersey.
The Providence Performing Arts Center at Rhode Island received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a Falun Gong practitioner. The e-mail highly recommended the Shen Yun show, but also strongly asked the people in charge of the theater to “promote” and “practice” Falun Gong or else “punishment” and “bad luck” would follow.
The author of the e-mail sent to the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center claimed to be from a Falun Gong practitioner and a “Shen Yun fan.” It also threatened the recipients if they did not take up the practice of Falun Gong.