KIEV, Ukraine—Chinese diplomats in Ukraine have demanded that local authorities cancel the Shen Yun Performing Arts show in the southern city of Odessa, set for late May.
The organizers of the show found out about the diplomats' actions a month ahead of when the agreements were signed. Tickets for the critically-acclaimed performance are currently being sold and the show is being promoted.
“I have read a protest note written by Ms. Wu from our Chinese Consulate in Odessa, which, in point-blank tone, says that she will not let Shen Yun perform in the city,” said Svetlana Vetryak, director of For Children of the New Century, the philanthropy organization hosting Shen Yun.
Officials from Odessa’s regional administration confirmed the information, but refused to provide copies of any letters.
Officials told The Epoch Times that they received letters from the Chinese Consulate addressed to the Ukrainian prime minister, the minister of Foreign Affairs, and the head of the national security service.
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization that is independent of China’s communist regime and it seeks to revive the five-millennia-old artistic tradition of China that was largely destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Cultural Revolution.
The company has performed more than 500 shows around the world to millions of audience members since 2007.
OperaOnline said the show “gave a glimpse of a culture and its history that was at times hypnotic in its presentation, sensual in its fluid movements, and inspirational in its theme … and flawless musical performances … simply astounding to watch and a pleasure to the ear.”
The CCP puts pressure on authorities in most of the countries that the show performs, through the use of its consulates, embassies, and community organizations in attempts to get the show canceled.
Shen Yun takes as its mission to revive China's artistic tradition that thrived before decades of suppression by the CCP. The show also includes dance programs set in contemporary China that portray the persecution of Falun Gong—a peaceful meditation practice persecuted by the regime since 1999. These portrayals are an irritant for CCP diplomats.
Two performances of Shen Yun were canceled in Kiev in April last year under the same scenario. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not grant visas to the show’s performers and the president’s office made unavailable the dates set for Shen Yun in the country’s renowned theater, the National Palace “Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s top officials declined to speak with The Epoch Times and the show’s organizers. Ticket selling has been suspended in the theatre where the show is set to be performed.
Despite the threats, residents of Odessa are waiting for Shen Yun to come in their city.
“Odessa is a free and lovely city and it is worth hosting Shen Yun,” said Alyona Kuzina, a fashion designer. “No political aspects can impact this event being fulfilled. I think the show will take place, I have been waiting for it for two years already.”
With additional reporting by NTDTV.