Chinese officials in New Zealand are exerting pressure on sponsors and VIPs in attempts to block support for Divine Performing Arts—an international cultural show to be held at The Civic Theatre in downtown Auckland this Thursday, April 5.
North Shore City mayor George Wood confirmed he had received a phone call from the Chinese Consulate requesting he refrain from attending the show, which he was to attend with his wife.
Mr Wood said he felt it was inappropriate to receive such a call, but did not want to get involved with something he doesn't know enough about.
"I don't feel comfortable having to make decisions as a result of phonecalls I receive from a consulate office and I actually indicated that to the consul official. But at the same time, as a mayor I don't have time to analyse out what the merits are for and against what is being said," Mr Woods said.
He therefore decided to miss the show. Other incidents have occured throughout the week, including the cancellation of an advertising contract in a Chinese newspaper; two shops acting as ticket-selling agents withdrawing their support—one saying from outside pressure; and promotional posters being defaced.
During their 4-month tour, the organisers have experienced some severe inteference from Chinese officials trying to halt New Tang Dynasty Television's Chinese New Year Spectacular and Holiday Wonders shows.
Before last week's Sydney premiere of the show, the Chinese Consulate sent a letter to New South Wales' politicians with a stern warning, urging them not to attend the show.
In a media release on March 29, Australian Greens MLC Ian Cohen said, "I was surprised by the reactions of both the Embassy official and Henry Tsang MLC against this celebration, as seen on last night's Lateline programme on the ABC. This has made me even more determined to attend the function."
Mr Cohen added, "This is a peaceful cultural spectacular. What type of government officials would condemn such an event? A controversial scene is said to depict the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by Chinese police. Such persecution is well documented by human rights groups. Art in the West should be free to depict all aspects of society without fear."
Liu Tong, the Director of the Spectacular Planning Committee in Chicago, said in an interview with The Epoch Times last month, "The regime had taken all measures at all costs to interfere with the NTDTV Spectacular in Chicago this year. They wrote letters and made phone calls to sponsors, government officials, and even the media, attempting to stop them from supporting the show."
A document was recently obtained by The Epoch Times from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television revealing the Chinese Communist Party's attempts to interfere with NTDTV's Chinese New Year shows since the inaugural performance in 2004.
The document orders that the NTDTV New Year Show should be destroyed by "any and all means," and if not possible, to "contain them and minimize their impact."
The New York-based Divine Performing Arts Group has experienced full houses on the current 2007 global tour from America, Europe, Asia to Australia, with the show travelling to Taiwan and Korea after New Zealand.