By Xu Haiqing for The Epoch Times
HONG KONG—Shen Yun’s performances in Hong Kong will be cancelled this year, local organizers announced at noon on Jan. 23, citing the refusal of Hong Kong authorities to issue visas to six key production staff.
Hong Kong public figures have criticized the decision, claiming that it was a result of political pressure from Beijing. Shen Yun’s artists include practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned and persecuted in China, and its performances include artistic representations of Chinese citizens standing up to end the persecution in China.
Six days before the show’s debut, scheduled on Jan. 27, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department informed the company that seven production staff would be denied entry, saying they could be replaced by Hong Kong local workers. Later, one of the staff members was granted entry after the presenter made repeated entreaties for a reevaluation.
Kan Hung Cheung, a spokesperson for the organizers, remarked that four of the six production staff played irreplaceable roles in the performance, including lighting, sound effects, technical backdrop. Their roles were specified in the visa application, he said.
“A complete staff is essential to any performing arts group. This is just common sense,” Mr. Cheung said. “It is obvious that the Immigration Department denied their entry because Beijing wants to interfere with the show.”
The show’s organizers, the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and local bureaux of New Tang Dynasty Television and The Epoch Times, said that the Hong Kong government must “bear the consequences” of the decision. “Unfortunately the Hong Kong government has chosen to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party to stop the show,” Mr. Cheung said. “We strongly protest this.”