NEW YORK-The Chinese Consulate is pressuring a New York Assemblyman not to attend a show on Broadway they feel is "humiliation" for the Chinese Communist regime back in the Mainland. The assemblyman, Michael Benjamin of the Bronx, has said he's not buying into the Communist agenda and plans on attending the attacked show, Holiday Wonders , now playing at Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.
"I believe that the Chinese Consulate is again seeking to discourage participation by elected officials in the Holiday Wonders show," said Assemblyman Benjamin in an e-mail statement to The Epoch Times earlier today.
"The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] insists to the world that there is only one China. They seek to drown out alternative voices. They fear that the world will learn the truth of their 'Animal Farm' regime," he added.
Benjamin received an unusual letter last week from the Chinese Consulate General in New York. The letter, sent via fax and received one week before the theatrical production Holiday Wonders opened, is addressed to Assemblyman Michael Benjamin.
The letter focuses on Holiday Wonders and its producer, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), telling Assemblyman Benjamin "not to support in any way the Holiday Wonders and the Chinese New Year Spectacular. " Both shows are produced by NTDTV, an independent Chinese language television station that has faced repeated attacks by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Assemblyman Benjamin has been honored by community members in the past for recognition of his work to promote diversity and freedom of belief.
Mr.Wenqi Gao, Chief Press Officer at the New York Chinese Consulate, was reached by telephone earlier today. Mr. Gao, who has not seen the show himself, said that NTDTV's work "constitutes humiliation for the Chinese government."
Holiday Wonders is a colorful presentation of traditional, ancient Chinese culture with modern twists in some of the acts. At least one performance depicts the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, which the CCP has been brutally persecuting since 1999.
Westchester resident and Falun Gong practitioner Jeanne Mitchell has stayed in contact with Assemblyman Benjamin's office since 2005 to inform him about the ongoing persecution. She was contacted by a staff member of the office who alerted her of the letter received.
"They begin the letter by offering holiday greetings and promoting economic business relationship," said Mitchell. "But what they really want is to defame Falun Gong. They talk about trade to keep people from really speaking out about what terrible human rights violations are going on in China," she added.
NTDTV could not be immediately reached for comment.