New Tang Dynasty Dance Competition in Hong Kong Proceeds Despite Hostile Front Group

August 18, 2012 5:00 pm Last Updated: September 22, 2015 8:30 pm
Judges for the competition Vina Lee, Wang Xuejun, and Zhang Tiejun (L-R) walk toward the competition venue on Saturday. The NTD Chinese traditional dance competition's preliminary round went ahead despite the menacing of a Communist Party-linked front group. (Sun Qingtian/The Epoch Times)

HONG KONG—Hooting, hollering, holding up banners, and blocking passage, a group that acts as a proxy for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Hong Kong attempted unsuccessfully to derail a traditional Chinese dance competition here Saturday.

The group, which is led by a member of the CCP’s United Front Department, has disrupted events held by independent Chinese cultural and religious groups in Hong Kong for the last few months, beginning soon after its establishment in June. The Party sees such independent groups as a threat because they provide an alternative experience of Chinese culture and nationality to that propagated by the regime.

A Dance Competition

The occasion this time was the Asia-Pacific Preliminaries of New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television’s Fifth International Chinese Classical Dance Competition. NTD is primarily a Chinese-language broadcaster that holds competitions in various forms of traditional Chinese culture.

Chinese communist authorities recently went to great lengths to discourage and in many cases forcefully prevent dancers in China from participating in the competition. The action moved to Hong Kong closer to the date of the competition—starting at the airport.

When the judging panel, some of whom were senior members of the Shen Yun Performing Arts dance company, were moving through the security checkpoint at the airport on Aug. 16, airport personnel seemed to identify them and eyed them while talking into their walkie-talkies. The individuals proceeded through customs without incident, but reported being followed in Hong Kong.

Association Agitators

The Hong Kong Youth Care Association, responsible for the recent disruption, then sprang to life. They hung banners slandering Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline that is persecuted by communist authorities and that many of the judges and organizers of the dance competition adhere to. The banners were near the hotel where the judges for the competition were staying, and near the competition venue.

Lin Guo-an (L), identified as the leader of the disruptive group, argues with police on Saturday. Lin maintains ties with the Communist Party's United Front Work Department in China, and is thought to carry out his activities in Hong Kong to advance that agenda. (Sun Qingtian/The Epoch Times)

The association has made its presence known in Hong Kong since June by disrupting the many stands set up by volunteer Falun Gong practitioners to show mainland Chinese tourists about the persecution of the practice inside China. Association members hung banners over the Falun Gong banners, and in one case produced a large knife or cleaver in an attempt to intimidate some of the practitioners.

It was subsequently discovered that the group leader, Lin Guo-an, shared close ties with the Communist Party in China, particularly as an operative in the Party’s United Front apparatus. The association aims to build alliances with organizations that appear not to be part of the Party and use those organizations to isolate and attack those declared as enemies.

About 30 individuals, wearing lime-green polo shirts to show their affiliation to the Youth Care Association, engaged in further nuisance-making activities outside the competition venue on Aug. 18. For example, they yelled and cried out near the judges as they were making their way to the venue, at the Caritas Community Center in Kowloon, Hong Kong; they also attempted to block the path of the judges by plunking themselves down on the pavement or on the steps of the venue.

Annoying Guests

They also harangued and bayed at some of the guests invited by competition organizers. These included Community Director of the Hong Kong Democratic Party Chow Wai Tung, who at one stage attempted to quiet the antagonists, but was cursed at by them. Police officers nearby intervened, and helped him back to the venue.

The troublemakers struck again at lunchtime: as audience members who had left for a break attempted to re-enter the auditorium, association members hooted at them and tried to block their paths.

Association members also bought tickets, in an apparent attempt to enter the venue and cause further disruption. Some of them tried to force their way into the building. When they complained that they were not allowed in after their conduct outside, they were given refunds by the organizers.

The group had backup from across the block and at a nearby footbridge, where individuals apparently affiliated with their group stood with telescopic camera lenses and video cameras, shooting the scene. Others with them were often seen talking on their cellphones while watching the disruption. When an Epoch Times reporter approached them to photograph their activities, several of them covered their faces with their hands and beat a retreat.

Bullying Contestants

The intimidation of potential contestants in China meant that many scheduled to perform were unable to attend. There was only one contestant in the afternoon adult division competition, because of the interference with the competition. There were five female and eight male dancers participating in the morning junior division competition, according to organizers.

Ma Lijuan, director of the NTD Competition Series, said that there was a total of 42 people registered for the junior and adult competitions, and far more than that who had expressed a wish to participate but were prevented from doing so by Chinese security forces.

Some performers were prevented from leaving Shenzhen, a nearby city in China, to participate; relatives of Chinese performers in Hong Kong received threatening phone calls; and one dancer in China was asked to act as a spy for the Chinese secret police, according to anecdotes relayed by competition organizers.

The judges, including Vina Lee, Wang Xuejun, Zhang Tiejun, all senior members of Shen Yun Performing Arts, which shares NTD’s approach to Chinese traditional culture, and supports NTD’s dance competitions, and Ma Lijuan, were sanguine about the outcome of the event despite the intensive disruption. “The fact that the preliminaries were held here in Hong Kong is significant,” Ma said. “We believe the dance competition will achieve success.”

Read original Chinese article.

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