I was in South Korea a couple months ago. And one thing that struck me is how much influence there is there from China. Chinese tourists. Chinese restaurants. Even knock-off Chinese toys.
Now by and large, South Koreans I spoke with were very welcoming to Chinese people. But you know whose influence most South Koreans don’t really like? The Chinese Communist Party. I mean, the only reason communist North Korea is still around to threaten the South is because they were backed by the Chinese Communist Party.
But China likes to play both sides. That’s why China is now South Korea’s biggest trading partner. But people there are still wary of the Communist Party’s influence. And they should be! Because there’s new evidence that South Korea’s national state-run TV broadcaster has sold out to China.
I’m talking about KBS. And the theater they own, KBS Hall. Back in December, KBS Hall signed a contract for this show, Shen Yun, to perform there. But then, in January, KBS suddenly canceled the contract, and fired the person who signed it.
But I told you in March, I don’t want to make wild accusations about what’s behind KBS Hall’s cancellation of Shen Yun.
Well now I do want to make wild accusations. And by wild accusations, I mean show you the hard evidence that the Chinese Embassy was behind it, and forced KBS to break their contract. And it involves millions of dollars.
But first, some background. Shen Yun Performing Arts is a Chinese-American nonprofit that does an annual classical Chinese dance show. It tours around the world. And while you might think that spreading Chinese music and dance would be just want Chinese leaders would want… You’re right. They do. But only if they can completely control the message. And with Shen Yun, well, the Communist Party can’t control it because, guess what? It was founded by Falun Gong practitioners, and a couple of its dance numbers depict contemporary issues, like Falun Gong meditators standing up to the Communist Party’s suppression.
Let’s just say the Communist Party is not a fan. So they try to kill it. Like sending a Chinese agent to slash a Shen Yun tourbus’s tire so it would explode while driving down the highway with 50 dancers inside. Which fortunately didn’t happen, but still.
The Communist Party also tried to stop theaters around the world from showing Shen Yun. Because apparently the greatest threat to China’s stability is freedom of expression in other countries.
Most theaters, of course, have stood up to the Communist Party—which is why you can watch Shen Yun in more than a hundred cities every year. Which brings us back to South Korea.
So as I told you, KBS Hall in Seoul cancelled Shen Yun in January. That was a breach of contract. So Shen Yun’s promotion company sued KBS.
And in April, the South Korean court ruled in favor of Shen Yun. The court wrote that KBS had no legitimate reason to break the contract, and that the show must go on! So organizers got to work, selling thousands of tickets for the shows, scheduled for May 6 through 8.
But then, on May 4, the court suddenly reversed its decision, cancelling Shen Yun once again. And it came just ahead of a long national holiday weekend, so there was no way to appeal. And the show did not go on.
You see, it turned out KBS Hall had lied in court. During the initial lawsuit, they told judges a “Shen Yun performance is unsuitable for KBS Hall,” but “denied China’s influence on its decision.”
…instead, saying it would damage KBS’s public image. Well you know what really damages KBS’s public image? Perjury.
Because in order to get the court to rule in its favor, KBS eventually ‘fessed up, and showed the court not one but two letters from the Chinese Embassy in Seoul—directly proving “China’s influence on its decision.”
Oe dated Jan. 22 contains some thinly veiled threats, including: “KBS is Korea’s largest television station and its influence on Korea is significant; it also has friendly ties with China Central Television,” and “[China] hopes that KBS will consider China-Korea relations when making decisions. Do not provide a venue for Shen Yun to perform.” But KBS covered it up at first. It only revealed the Embassy’s threats when it felt it had no choice.
Now you might think the South Korean court would have said, “A foreign government doesn’t get to threaten our country. And hey KBS, you just lied in court.” But instead it said, “Oh you’ve been bought out by China? Well then yes, absolutely! You can go ahead and break your contract.”
You see, in the final ruling, the South Korean court judge wrote that if KBS Hall were to allow Shen Yun to perform, KBS, quote, “may face a huge loss which can’t be compared with the income from ticket selling.” It also said that as a major TV broadcaster, KBS’s broadcasts to China are worth more than the equivalent of $8 million per year.
Because while it may be illegal to break a contract under normal circumstances, it’s OK if you’ll make lots of money from breaking it.
So after decades fighting against one brutal communist regime, the South Korean government simply sold out to another for a few million bucks.
So what do you think? And what would you like to say to KBS? Leave your comments below.