The presenter of Shen Yun Performing Arts in Hong Kong filed a lawsuit against the Hong Kong government on April 20, charging it with denying entry visas for key technical members of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The local presenters had planned to stage seven shows in Hong Kong between Jan. 27 and Jan. 31. All seven shows had to be canceled because six key production team members were denied visas to enter Hong Kong.
The Epoch Times, one of the local presenters, believes the visa denial was illegal and brought a suit against the Hong Kong government to the Supreme Court. The plaintiff seeks to hold the responsible parties liable and get compensation for the financial losses incurred due to the cancellation of the shows.
The three local presenters, The Epoch Times in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and New Tang Dynasty TV, Hong Kong held a press conference outside the Supreme Court the afternoon of April 20.
Mr. Jian Hongzhang, director of The Epoch Times Hong Kong branch, delivered a statement on behalf of the plaintiff. “Hong Kong authorities suppressed a cultural and arts group by political means. Its action hurt the reputation of Hong Kong and trampled on the Hong Kong people’s basic rights, human rights, and freedom.” Mr. Jian said.
Jian pointed out that the Hong Kong government’s excuse that the six Shen Yun production staff members could be replaced by local workers does not hold water. He said the real reason behind the visa denial “is that the Hong Kong government yielded to and collaborated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in order to obstruct Shen Yun Performing Arts from coming to Hong Kong to perform.”
“This incident again testifies to the fact that the Chinese communist regime’s promise of One Country, Two Systems is a deceptive slogan. The CCP has revealed its true colors under this disguise in just 10 years,” the statement continued.
The plaintiff’s attorney Albert Ho (a.k.a. Ho Chun Yan) said: “These technical members have been part of the Shen Yun Performing Arts for years. They are experienced and have professional knowledge. They have built a mutual trust and cooperative relationship with the performers. It would be impossible to find other people to replace their jobs within one or two weeks.”
Mr. Ho said the government knew very clearly that denying the entry visas and forcing Shen Yun Performing Arts to find local workers as replacements was completely unfeasible and would certainly result in the cancellation of the shows. “From the very beginning, they did not want to see Shen Yun present a successful performance in Hong Kong,” he said.
Theresa Chu, Human Rights attorney in Taiwan and executive director of the Asia branch of the Human Rights Law Foundation, stated, “The Hong Kong government is no longer a government for the people of Hong Kong.” She said in recent years, the Hong Kong government has never positioned itself correctly on major human rights issues, and she accused the Hong Kong authorities of collaborating with the CCP and thereby sabotaging human rights and freedom for the people of Hong Kong.
Chu called on the people to stand up to protect the future of Hong Kong. She also urged Hong Kong’s judicial system to uphold justice and make the right judgment.
Renowned Taiwanese commentator Paul Lin applauded The Epoch Times’ action. He said he has been paying close attention to the incident. “I think this is awesome.” Lin said, “Suing the Hong Kong SAR government, I feel, is an important test to see whether Hong Kong’s legal system has gone backward. It is also an important test for the One County, Two Systems policy.”
Following the cancellation of the performances, the local presenters immediately staged intense protests against the government and launched a “Safeguarding Shen Yun, Safeguarding Hong Kong” petition campaign, urging the Hong Kong government to respect the Hong Kong people’s human rights and freedom as well as reverse the wrong decision and unconditionally help Shen Yun Performing Arts to come to Hong Kong to perform. So far, the organizers have collected over 15,000 signatures, which they have submitted to the government.