Shen Yun Performers Shocked by Show Cancellation

Chinese communist regime believed to pressure Hong Kong authorities

By John Nania for The Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Shen Yun performers got word while still in costume at the final rehearsal before taking off for Hong Kong: seven sold-out shows in Hong Kong had been canceled. Seven crew members for the company had visas denied at the last minute.

Dancers and other company members for New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts said the cancellation of the sold-out shows was most likely due to pressure on the Hong Kong government from Chinese communist authorities.

“The news was brought to us after our final dress rehearsal prior to departure,” said principal dancer Leon Chao at a press conference near Times Square Monday. “There was a long moment of silence, faces of devastation. Everyone was in complete shock. I had my bags packed already. Everybody’s dream on our team was to bring back Chinese culture to China.”

Shen Yun performs Chinese classical and folk dances, covering the many dynasties and ethnic groups that make up the nation’s 5,000-year heritage. Much of the traditional culture presented by Shen Yun has been lost, buried, or altered under the current regime in China.

The much-anticipated performances in Hong Kong were scheduled for Jan. 27-31. However, show organizers in Hong Kong were informed on Jan. 21 that visas for seven technical crew members were denied by immigration authorities, saying the jobs could be filled by local labor. One of the seven did later receive a visa to enter Hong Kong.


Shen Yun Shows in Hong Kong Cancelled Due to Visa Refusal

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.”