Pressure from the Chinese Government on politicians to boycott a concert by the Shen Yun Performing Arts group is disturbing, Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
The Chinese Consul General in Auckland, Liao Juhua, has sent a letter to Auckland Councillor Cathy Casey requesting she “stay away” from performances by Shen Yun in Auckland’s Aotea Centre in early February. The Shen Yun Performing Arts group has affiliations with the Falun Gong movement – a movement banned in China and whose followers have been subject to arrest and torture.
Mr Locke also received a letter, on January 24, from 29 Auckland-based Chinese organisations, with a similar message, asking him not to attend the performances.
“It is objectionable that the Chinese Government is trying to pressure New Zealand politicians in this way,” said Mr Locke.
“While some politicians might laugh off this ham-fisted attempt to stop them from attending a cultural performance, others may feel pressured to avoid the event worried about what their presence at the concert could do to sister city or parliamentary relations with China.
“The language in the letter to Councillor Casey is quite extreme, describing Falun Gong as ‘heretical’ and ‘an anti-society cult’.
“It is quite dangerous for China to try to export its censorship of anything to do with Falun Gong to New Zealand,” said Mr Locke.
“I am also concerned that some Chinese organisations in Auckland may be acting in league with the Auckland consulate in this matter.”