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Chinese Embassy Pressured Theater to Cancel Shen Yun in Spain, Investigation Reveals

2019-01-29 18:25
A top-level official from the Chinese embassy in Spain admitted in a recent phone call that he made a personal visit to the general manager of the Royal Theater in Madrid in order to pressure him into canceling a popular traditional Chinese dance and music performance slated to run there, according to a recent investigation. The New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts—whose mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through music and dance, according to its website—had booked the Royal Theater in Madrid to perform on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. Shen Yun performances include pieces that portray contemporary China, including the ongoing persecution of the banned spiritual practice Falun Gong—a topic considered taboo by the Chinese regime. Just weeks before the scheduled performances, the theater canceled the shows due to “technical difficulties.” The Royal Theater confirmed this reasoning in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times. The U.S. branch of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a non-profit organization that investigates human rights abuses perpetrated against Falun Gong adherents, said it decided to conduct an investigation into the cancellation after seeing media reports about possible Chinese embassy interference to pressure the theater into canceling the show. As part of its undercover investigation, on Jan. 22, WOIPFG made a phone call to the Chinese embassy, posing as a high-level Chinese government official. The person who took the call identified himself as the Chinese Ambassador to Spain, Lü Fan, according to a press release issued by WOIPFG. The organization released an audio recording of the phone call on its website on Jan. 28. “The investigation confirmed that the cancellation of the theater’s contract with the Shen Yun organizers was entirely the result of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) interferences,” WOIPFG said in its statement. “Lü Fan personally put pressure on the theater to cancel the contract with Shen Yun Performing Arts. By using the CCP’s control of the large Chinese market as an enticement, Lü Fan and the theater’s director jointly planned to cancel the Shen Yun performances under the pretext of technical difficulties.”