The managing director of a Munich-based concert agency has become the target of threats from local Chinese diplomats over a show he’s running at Prinzregenten Theatre.
Helmut Pauli of Tonicale Concert Agency in Munich says his office has received "not very charming" calls from the Chinese consul since he agreed to put on the Shen Yun Chinese Spectacular April 18-19.
"I was told to stop the shows or I’d never deal with Chinese companies again, but I can’t do that as I’m only a local promoter and I can’t just cancel everything," Pauli told Pollstar.
He also said he wasn’t aware that he might have gotten himself stuck in something of a propaganda spat between the Chinese government and a newspaper vehemently opposed to it.
The Epoch Times broke the story about the threats, although it’s since been taken up by Munich-based daily regional Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and centres on the fact that the production could be seen as a plug for Falun Gong, a spiritual practice whose devotees stand against the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese officials have attempted to interfere with the Shen Yun spectacular on quite a few of the stops on its global tour. During its recent three-day run in the Czech Republic, the Chinese Embassy in Prague published a front-page advertisement in the local Chinese-language press warning people not to attend the show.
Czech TV, the country’s largest television station, reported that it also received a letter from the Chinese Embassy warning it not to cover the performance.
The Epoch Times, which is banned in China, is a fierce critic of the CCP and a strong supporter of Falun Gong.
Although it’s on record as saying "we are not funded by Falun Gong, we don’t speak for Falun Gong, and we don’t represent Falun Gong," a U.S. congressional report said the paper is "affiliated" with the practice.
In 2006 a former Epoch Times reporter, Wang Wenyi, made international headlines by yelling insults to Chinese president Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush during a White House lawn press briefing.
The paper later apologized and the journalist claimed that she undertook the action on her own.