China Crackdown

A recent production by American residents of Beijing fell victim to China’s recent crackdown on illegal foreigners in the capital.

The theater group, called the Beijing Playhouse, was to perform the musical “Oklahoma!” at the MAKO Arts Display Center May 18, the Wall Street Journal reported.

An hour before curtain time, the cast, which included both foreign and local actors, was told by authorities that they couldn’t go on.

The reason given was a building-code violation.

Eventually, the Playhouse found two alternate venues, including one at an international school, but in the process they had to cut down the number of performances from a planned eight to five.

A diplomat told the WSJ that “it appeared” the code infraction was simply an excuse to “close down the production.” Officials at the Foreign Ministry wouldn’t respond to the WSJ’s requests for a comment.

The city’s 100-day crackdown on illegal foreigners has seen considerable support from locals after videos surfaced online showing foreigners being rude to Chinese people, including one purported sexual assault.

In a similar development, the participants of an English-language dance performance were forced to find a new venue when a local theater manager refused to sign a rental contract without explaining why.

The director of the dance group said it was because the manager discovered some foreigners were involved.

And an electronic music festival sponsored by a local record label was also forced to find another venue when police suddenly told they couldn’t hold the event within the Fifth Ring Road, a popular arts center, even though the festival had been there without incident the previous three years and the Ministry of Culture had given prior approval. No reason was given for the police action.