As the U.S.-based Shen Yun Performing Arts Company began its 2010 world tour from the U.S., various cities have begun to witness the spread of the Chinese regime’s propaganda targeting the group. The regime has been utilizing university connections as one of its primary resources for defaming the performing arts company.
Just prior to a Shen Yun performance at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia earlier this month, Mr. Sun, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania in the same city, sent an email through the CSSA mailing list. It contained information about the group’s upcoming performances.
Mail recipients noted that within minutes of the posting, a person with the email address [email protected] (“wei hong” literally means “red guard”) replied to the list, with articles defaming Shen Yun.
The articles were directly copied from the Chinese Consulate’s Web site, defaming Shen Yun and urging recipients not to attend. The person had opted not to use a university email address, and no such person was found to have an affiliation with the school.
The Chinese Student and Scholars Association at Penn (CSSAP) is one of the schools in the CSSA network whose head sponsor is the Chinese Consulate General of New York. This connection is listed on its Web site, which posts as its motto the words of Mao Zedong: “Serve the People.”
Chinese Consulates have also sent out messages through the CSSA system, saying that if overseas Chinese view Shen Yun performances, they will have trouble returning to China.
That the CCP goes to such lengths to try to undermine Shen Yun performances some feel, is a reflection of the group’s significance. As one Chinese student from the University of Pennsylvania put it, “If the Chinese regime dislikes you, you must be right, or must be real good.”
Dr. J.J. Klaver is a special agent and media spokesperson For the FBI in Philadelphia. When asked about U.S. laws regarding individuals spreading propaganda for a foreign government, Klaver pointed out the FARA law, which stands for Foreign Agents Registration Act. It ensures the “U.S. Government and the people are informed of the source of information (propaganda) and the identity of persons attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy, and laws,” according to an online FAQ.
The Act requires every agent of a “foreign principal,” meaning government or related group, to register with the Department of Justice within ten days of agreeing to become an agent, and before performing any activities for the foreign entity.
The Act also requires that propaganda be labeled with a conspicuous statement, that the information is disseminated by the agents on behalf of the foreign principal. Klaver continued, “The agent must provide copies of such materials to the Attorney General.”
Non-compliance with the act comes with a fine or up to 10 years imprisonment, Klaver said.
FARA was enacted in 1938, to address Congressional concerns regarding the large number of German propaganda agents working in the U.S. prior to WWII.
According to court-filed reports, there are two Chinese individuals on record charged with FARA offenses. One is Chi Mak, a China-born naturalized U.S. citizen, who worked as an engineer for the California-based defense contractor, Power Paragon. Mak was sentenced to a term of 24 years and 5 months in 2007, for exporting sensitive defense technology to the Chinese regime.
Another instance is the prominent case of Dongfan "Greg" Chung, also a China-born naturalized U.S. citizen. Chung worked as an aerospace engineer at the Boeing plant in Huntington Beach, California. He was convicted in the first-ever trial violating the Economic Espionage Act, in 2009. He was found to be guilty of acting as a foreign agent in violation of the Economic Espionage Act, along with additional charges.