NEW YORK—On Sept. 28, 2008, Shanghai Chef Zhang Hua experienced anxiety on his way to New York for the first International Chinese Culinary Competition hosted by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV). However, even though his luggage was checked in at Pudong Airport, the Chinese Immigration Office charged him with an unknown crime and prevented his departure until after the Competition was over.
Zhang arrived in New York on Nov. 19. During the interview on Nov. 20, he complained, “They did not provide any reasoning but said that I violated Bill number Five of Article VIII of Immigration Law. Later they explained it was because the government would not allow me to take part in an event organized by an 'illegal' TV station. It was unexpected.”
Zhang Hua communicated with the authorities in hopes of gaining permission to depart.
He said, “I explained to them that I was going to a competition, not a political activity. I believed that the competition would help my culinary career. Not everyone gets such an opportunity. If it does not happen again until years later, I will have to wait for another few years.”
However, he said the authorities' purpose was to stop him from participating in the competition, citing that his departure was not granted until the competition was over.
Zhang was very disappointed, “When I first learned about the Chinese Culinary Competition hosted by NTDTV via the internet, I felt that this was an opportunity. I have been a chef for many years. This is the first global Chinese culinary contest I have ever heard of. I could not believe that I was stopped at the airport. I have missed a grand opportunity to a fair contest in traditional Chinese culinary arts.”
Zhang Hua believed, “There’s probably no such competition in China. Many so-called contests were not very authentic. Any cook could purchase a certificate in such a contest. The competitions were also rarely fair. I feel that NTDTV’s contest statement and rules are fair and everyone is treated equally, so I wanted to come. Now I have missed it and I will have to wait until next time. I feel very unfortunate.”
Spokesperson for the NTDTV, Ms. Kaili Hong said, “NTDTV’s International Chinese Culinary Competition was designed to promote authentic and traditional Chinese culinary arts.”
She continued, “The Chinese Communist Party has destroyed traditional Chinese culture within a few decades of ruling. The CCP restricts contestant’s departure in order to interfere with the contest. The CCP is only showing that it is afraid of the NTDTV series that promote Chinese cultural activities.”
Ms. Hong mentioned that NTDTV brings messages of truth and freedom to mainland Chinese people. According to the CCP, NTDTV has always been considered a threat. Over the years, the CCP has implemented all measures to suppress NTDTV.