Open Letter Calls on Chinese Regime to Stop Obstructing Dancers

August 8, 2012 6:52 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 12:39 pm
International Classical Chinese Dance Competition gold medalist Ren Fengwu
International Classical Chinese Dance Competition gold medalist Ren Fengwu. (Michelle Ren) (Ji Yuan/Epoch Times)

After China’s security forces were implicated in interfering with artists attempting to attend an international dance competition, a US-based Chinese community leader has stepped forward to ask the country’s top leaders to intervene and stop the abuse.

Yang Sen, president of the World Falun Dafa Association, addressed a letter to the Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to make them aware of the problem and ask them to intervene. Falun Dafa is a spiritual practice based on the universal values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, according to the group’s press office,

China’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) issued a secret order to all performing arts companies and organizations in China, requiring that registrants from those organizations be interfered with, especially students from the Beijing Dance Academy, The Epoch Times previously reported.

Beginning in late July, contest organizer, independent New York-based broadcaster, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television, received information that registered contestants were being tracked and monitored by security agents in China. Some registrants have been refused visas.

One contestant who planned to participate in the Hong Kong preliminaries was forced to back out due to pressure from the PLAC. The contestant told an NTD staff member that he had been asked by public security agents to act as an informant. The dancer said he did not wish to spy, but also said he could not attend the competition.

NTD’s uncensored coverage of China news, including human rights issues related to Tibet, democracy advocates, and Falun Dafa, is broadcast via satellite over most of China and has for years been an annoyance to the Chinese regime.

The Fifth International Classical Chinese Dance Competition is part of a series which also includes martial arts, piano, and vocal. The competitions attract talent from around the world, but due to the series’ mission of promoting Chinese cultural arts, China is the most important source of contestants. The contest preliminaries begin in Hong Kong on August 18, and wraps up in New York in October. This year’s top prize in the dance contest will award $10,000.

In an opinion piece published in The Epoch Times, director of the NTD competition series Ms. Lijuan Ma argued that the NTD competitions revival of China’s traditional culture have “undermined the ideological and cultural base that the CCP has relied on to maintain its control over the Chinese people,” which has led the CCP to try to obstruct participation in the competitions.

The Epoch Times obtained a copy of Yang Sen’s letter, dated July 12. What follows is the letter in full, translated from its original Chinese:

Dear Mr. Hu Jintao and Mr. Wen Jiabao,

New Tang Dynasty Television’s Fifth International Classical Chinese Dance Competition has officially kicked off. Details can be found at here.

The dance competition is held in New York, USA every year. For the convenience of mainland Chinese contestants, preliminaries for the Asia-Pacific region will, for the first time, be held in Hong Kong in mid-August. Some dancers in mainland China are eager to participate in the competition, but they have encountered many undue obstructions with their applications to enter Hong Kong.

The mission of the Competition is to encourage cultural exchange, to recover and promote Chinese classical dance, and to introduce this ancient Chinese art form to the world. It is the responsibility of every Chinese to promote our cultural heritage. There is nothing political about the competition.

In previous competitions, artists from Shen Yun Performing Arts [a US-based performing arts company] have not met rivals. We hope students from the Beijing Dance Academy can join in this challenging yet fair contest, not only to compete and learn from other contestants, but also to take this opportunity to embody the essence of Chinese dance on a world stage.

Therefore, we would like to bring your attention to this issue. We urge you to help ensure that contestants from mainland China, especially students from the Beijing Dance Academy, can freely participate in the competition. By doing so, you will be helping traditional Chinese culture shine and grow in the world.

With best wishes,

Yang Sen
President, World Falun Dafa Association

July 11, 2012

PS: If no response is received within 15 days, we will publicize this letter.

[email protected]

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