06 February 2008

The New York Times reports of people getting ambushed by a sneaky Falun Gong performance at Radio City Music Hall:

Before long came a ballet piece in which three women were imprisoned by a group of officers, and one was killed. At the end of the number, more members of the audience, in twos and fours and larger groups, began to walk out. At intermission, dozens of people, perhaps a few hundred, were leaving.

Apparently, this part of the program wasn’t advertised:

Advertisements for the show, which have appeared on Metro-North trains and in The New York Times, among other places, make no mention of Falun Gong. Nor do the show’s Web site or the brochures being handed out on Manhattan sidewalks. The brochures include what appears to be an endorsement quotation from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: “Brings to life the rich traditions of ancient China right here in the Big Apple.”

However, a spokesman for the mayor, John Gallagher, said that Mr. Bloomberg had neither seen the show nor praised it, and that the quotation may have been taken from a greeting card Mr. Bloomberg sent to Chinese-American organizations in which he saluted Chinese New Year celebrations in general.

The Chinese Embassy, shockingly, comes out sounding downright, um, reasonable and accurate:

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy criticized the network for trying to “inveigle the public into watching the show,” and said, “The truth is that the so-called ‘galas’ were nothing but a sheer political tool used by ‘Falun Gong’ organization to spread cult and anti-China propaganda.”

But the New York Times ends on this interesting quote:

Joe Wei, national editor of the World Journal, a Chinese-American newspaper that is based in Queens and that takes no position on the practice and its teachings, said he saw one of the group’s shows about one year ago and detected no Falun Gong imagery. “This would be a major change,” he said. “I don’t know why they want to do this.”

Uh, Joe? It was the same last year. You might want to think back…

Falun Gong Show Called Propaganda
Oakland Tribune January 20, 2007

…Performances of the popular “Chinese New Year Spectacular” are being held at high-profile venues in 28 cities worldwide, including Radio City Music Hall in New York City and San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, where audience members paid up to $168 per ticket earlier this month.

The variety show, now in its fourth year and themed “Myths and Legends,” features singers, musicians and dancers in elaborate costumes and celestial settings. Several segments reference Falun Gong’s spiritual beliefs and persecution in China. One dance depicts a practitioner who is jailed, beaten and killed by Chinese policemen who are later punished by supernatural beings.

All of it is the same, including “endorsements”:

The show’s program features letters of support from a long list of American officials, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aides for Schwarzenegger and Boxer said they had simply responded to requests for Chinese New Year greetings, and hadn’t seen the show and weren’t aware of its Falun Gong connections.

Sneaking political content into Chinese New Years performances? Gosh, who else would do something like that? Yknow, I think Americans should go see this show at Radio City. They’d actually be getting a more genuine modern Chinese experience than they realize.

  • I missed the CCTV snore-a-thon this evening, but I’m willing to bet they stuck in an extra special something about collectivism in the face of adversity due to the recent weather problems. Can anybody tell me if they had any ham-handed messages of old school socialist unity?


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