HONG KONG—Days before the start of the seventh New Tang Dynasty International Chinese Classical Dance Competition preliminary stage, communist front groups in Hong Kong are stepping up their efforts to disrupt the event.
First they cursed and displayed hate messages on placards and posters outside Macpherson Stadium in Hong Kong. Then they returned in greater numbers and with additional protest gear—loudspeakers, display boards, and banners.
The dance competition has likely come under siege from communist front groups in Hong Kong because its organizer, international Chinese language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television, is known for its extensive coverage of human rights abuses in China. Experts on Chinese politics say that regime authorities are known for harassing individuals or groups that resist its control.
Pro-democracy legislators, human rights activists, Hong Kong artists, and overseas Chinese analysts have condemned Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying for an earlier attempt to undermine the dance competition in June. These observers suspect that Leung is acting on orders from his political overlords in Beijing.
As of July 25, there are eight front groups protesting the NTD dance competition near Macpherson Stadium in Mong Kok, a popular shopping and residential area in Hong Kong. On July 20, there were only three groups—the Hong Kong Youth Care Association (HKYCA), the Hong Kong Public Opinion Association, and Knowledge Is Power.
Front group members were seen handing out flyers to passersby urging them not to attend the dance competition on Aug. 1. They blare taped hate messages through megaphones and a red speaker strung up on an electric pole. They also line up on the road curb with their banners and placards, and yell slogans.
Several Mong Kok residents have lodged complaints with the police about the ruckus. A number of restaurant and hotel owners in the area told Epoch Times that their business has been affected by the recent activism.
Chu Cheung Man the general manager of NTD Hong Kong, has filed a complaint about the front groups with the Mong Kok police. The police told Chu that they’re paying close attention to the matter, and have already stepped up patrols.
Cheryl Ng, a spokesperson for the NTD dance competition in Hong Kong, urged the Hong Kong police to keep the peace and allow audience members to enjoy the performances unharassed.
Ng also said that NTD had learned from reliable channels that the front groups have purchased some tickets with the intention of entering the theater and ruining the dance competition.
“In 2012, the Hong Kong Youth Care Association had purchased tickets for the fifth NTD International Chinese Classical Dance Competition preliminaries in Hong Kong. They behaved inappropriately, and the police had asked them to leave,” she added.
Ng believes that the interference from the front groups is “the work of Leung Chun-ying’s government and associations that support the Chinese Communist Party. Everyone knows that the Hong Kong Youth Care Association is a front for the 610 Office.”
The 610 Office is an extralegal Party organization that was founded in 1999 by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and given the mandate of overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.
According to a 2012 investigation by pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, the Youth Care Association’s offices are located in the same building as a 610 Office-affiliated agency in the Chinese city of Shenzhen across the Hong Kong border.
Since its inception, the green vest-clad Youth Care Association members have singled out practitioners of Falun Gong for harassment. They have also targeted events held by the Hong Kong branches of NTD and Epoch Times. NTD and Epoch Times are independent of the Chinese regime, and broadly cover human rights abuses in China such as the persecution of Falun Gong. NTD is a media partner of Epoch Times in the New York-based Epoch Media Group.
In early June, NTD first encountered difficulties in holding the dance competition. An influential Hong Kong rural organization cancelled a legal-binding contract with NTD for the use of its theater after receiving a last minute priority booking from the Hong Kong government.
Hong Kong rights activists and artists, as well as lawmakers in Hong Kong and the European Parliament, have censured Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying and his government for blocking NTD, and have expressed their support for the dance competition. Several United States Senators NTD interviewed have also expressed concern over the declining freedoms in Hong Kong.