Millions Worldwide Celebrate Falun Dafa Day


On May 13, 1992, in a humble schoolhouse in northeastern China, Mr. Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa), introducing to modern China a practice with roots extending back thousands of years. By early 1999, there were 70 to 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China alone, their slow-moving meditative exercises visible at dawn in parks across the country.

Nineteen years later, Falun Gong has transcended cultural and national boundaries to bring physical health, joy and peace of mind to the lives of millions
 around the globe. From Cape Town to Cannes, Bangledesh to Berlin, Tokyo to Tehran, Falun Gong is practiced in over 100 
countries, its teachings freely available in 30 languages. Even under harsh persecution, tens of millions in China continue to practice. Continue reading

(Photos) Taiwan: 6000 Members Celebrate World Falun Dafa Day


By Ao Manxiong, Epoch Times Staff, May 10, 2009 -

More than six thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the Puding Prairie in Kenting, southern Taiwan, and did the five Falun Dafa exercises together, May 9, 2009 (The Epochtimes)

More than 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the Puding Prairie in Kenting, southern Taiwan, and did the five Falun Dafa exercises together, May 9, 2009 (The Epochtimes)

PINGTUNG, Taiwan— May 13, 2009, is World Falun Dafa Day and the seventeenth anniversary since Falun Dafa‘s founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, began teaching in China. There will be celebrations all around the world.

Six thousand Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan gathered at the Puding Prairie in Kenting, in southern Taiwan, on the morning of May 9—lining up to form an image of Mr. Li’s book Zhuan Falun. The activity was to celebrate and commemorate the spread and blessing of Falun Dafa as well as to show their respect and gratefulness to Mr. Li.

May 9, 2009, over six thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the Puding Prairie in Kenting, Taiwan, and lined up to form the book Zhuan Falun.

May 9, 2009, over six thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the Puding Prairie in Kenting, Taiwan, and lined up to form the book Zhuan Falun.

Cheng Chi-Mei, organizer of the activity said, “Lining up to form the book Zhuan Falun is the first time practitioners in Taiwan composed the three Chinese characters ‘Li-Hong-Zhi’ and formed a three-dimensional Zhuan Falun book. Also, we have broken the record with the largest number of people joining in an activity of forming these Chinese characters……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

China Cover Up as Beijing Olympic Dancer Crippled in Fall (photo)


liu yan olympic dancer crippled in fall

Though Ms. Liu Yan was to perfrom the lone solo in the Games' opening ceremonies, news of her serious injury was suppressed.

By Xin Fei and Jason Loftus, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 12, 2008-

The Chinese Communist regime repressed news of a tragic fall that left the lead dancer for the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games paralyzed from the waist down.

Dancer Ms. Liu Yan was seriously injured during a rehearsal for the opening ceremonies on July 27. Anger swelled in Chinese internet forums after news of the accident—not posted until August 6—was hurriedly removed by censors.

Pressed by reporters at a news conference in Beijing the day after the opening ceremonies, director Zhang Yimou admitted a dancer had been injured but did not name Ms. Liu. On August 11, the dancer’s devastating injury was confirmed by Mainland Chinese media, and photos of the hospitalized dancer appeared online.

Ms. Liu, 26, fell more than 3 m when she leapt to a moving platform controlled by People’s Liberation Army soldiers, according to accounts of the incident published Monday in the Yangzi Evening News and online. The platform moved before she could plant her feet, web postings say, and Ms. Liu fell to the ground, landing on her back.

Ms. Liu was to be the lone solo dancer in the opening ceremonies, the Shanghai Daily confirmed on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The ceremonies included 14,000 dancers, 9,000 of them PLA soldiers.

The Shanghai Daily quoted doctors at the No. 206 People’s Liberation Army Hospital in Beijing who said the young woman would likely spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and would rely on others for care. It offered no explanation for why the news had been held until two-and-a-half weeks after the accident.

Incensed bloggers circulated reports that it took over an hour for paramedics to arrive and take Ms. Yan to the hospital, where doctors reportedly operated on her for six hours.

According to the Hong Kong-based Wenhui News, Liu Yan was born in Inner Mongolia in 1982. She graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy and was a celebrated dancer, winning top honours in a 2004 national competition.

Her parents—a government cadre and medical worker—were reportedly devastated by the news and rushed to Beijing from Huhehaote City, the capital of Inner Mongolia.

When organizers of the opening ceremonies did finally come forward to admit the accident, deputy director Zhang Jigang had warm words for the fallen dancer.

“We will keep your name on the list of performers for the opening ceremony forever,” he was quoted as saying.

- Original: The Epochtimes

Photos: Hong Kong Parade Supports 40 Million Chinese Quit the Communist Party


Grand parade was held in Hong Kong on Sunday Jul. 12,  to support 40 million Chinese people quitting the Communist Party and its affiliates. Photos are from the Epochtimes-

(Above Banner: Quit the Party is the step for  the Chinese Communist Party’s disaggregation)

(Above banner: stop torture ! )

(Above Banner:  Communist China harvest people’s organs)

(Above banner: Support 40 Million Chinese Quit the CCP)

( Support 40 million Chinese quit CCP)

(Above banner: disaggregate Communist Party, bless Chinese nation)

(above: Falun Gong marching band)

(Above banner: Global say goodbye to CCP)

Photos: Audience in The Chinese Splendor 2008 Show, New York


On Saturday Feb. 9, 2008, Chinese Splendor concludes its 11 day 15 shows in Radio City Music Hall, New York City.

Performed by two companies, Divine Performing Arts of New York and Divine Performing Arts on Tour, the show will next tour to the world by two different routes: one goes to Asia and Oceania, the other goes to Europe.

Detail show time and schedule is available on the official website of Divine Performing Arts: www.DivinePerformingArts.org

Audience (3) in the Chinese Splendor 2008

Audience (5) Chinese Splendor 2008

Audience (7) Chinese Splendor 2008 New York

Audience (4) Chinese Splendor in New York

Audience (8) Chinese Splendor 2008 in New York

Performers

Auience in Chinese Splendor show 2008

Audience (6) Chinese Splendor 2008 in New York

Audience in Chinese Splendor 2008

(All photos are from the Epochtimes)

New York Times Readers ‘intrigued’ by ‘overly critical’ Coverage of Chinese Splendor


By Matthew Robertson and Jason Loftus, Epoch Times Staff, Feb 10, 2008- Penny Cohn (R) and Sheila Chase (L) (Dayin Chen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—An unusual and highly critical New York Times story on the Chinese New Year Splendor playing in Manhattan failed to dampen audience interest in the show— but it made some curious.

The finale of 15 shows at the famed Radio City Music Hall played to a full house Saturday night. New York Times reader Penny Cohn, an account executive and building manager, came with her friend Sheila Chase, a psychology professor at Hunter College.

(photo: Penny Cohn (R) and Sheila Chase (L)/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Cohn said Radio City was an appropriate venue for a show with such large-scale dances.

“I thought the drummers were wonderful,” she said. “I enjoyed that. And I loved the scene at the Buddhist palace; I thought that was excellent, too.”

“Oh, I loved it,” added Ms. Chase, though she had more difficulty naming a favorite performance.

“I can’t tell you … well the first one [a performance called 'Creation'] was so remarkable. I hadn’t seen anything like that.”

The two also raved about the sets projected on digital backdrops, and about the athleticism of the classical Chinese dancers.

Ms. Cohn found the live orchestra—a combination of Eastern and Western instruments—”wonderful.”

“I always had a different vision of Chinese instruments,” she said. “But it’s tuneful, more so than I first anticipated … I think the combination is really quite good.”

While the two shared much praise for the show, neither seemed able to grasp why a New York Times article published earlier in the week had been so one-sidedly critical of it.

That story drew most of its quotes from a handful of audience members—including one unnamed—who criticized content in the show related to Falun Gong, a spiritual group heavily persecuted in China by the communist regime. The group’s peaceful response to this persecution is depicted in the show.

While the Times story belittled this content, others have responded differently. Audience surveys on this year’s tour have shown 97 percent positive response to the show. Many of those interviewed by Epoch Times reporters have singled out the Falun Gong performances for praise.

Rather than be deterred by the critical article, Ms. Cohn said it made her want to learn more.

“In fact, it piqued my curiosity,” she said. Cohn agreed the story was “overly critical.”

“And not only that, it had a lot of space, too. I was quite intrigued with the amount of space it was given, I have to confess that.”

The Divine Performing Arts international touring companies land next in Germany and Japan.

For information on all upcoming shows, please visit: http://www.DivinePerformingArts.org/

- Original report from the Epochtimes

‘I would give 10 to every category’ of the Chinese Splendor, Says Company Vice President


By Dalia Or and Joshua Philipp, Epoch Times Staff, Feb 09, 2008-

NEW YORK— “I am very impressed with the elegance and the movement of the dancers, and it is absolutely so gorgeous. The choreography is phenomenal, the singing, the voices are absolutely spectacular. The musicians are incredible, everything is absolutely breathtaking. I would give 10 to every category,” said Dennis Hemmerich, vice president of American Mech Tech in New Jersey.

Hemmerich attended the February 8 showing of the Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City Music Hall with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Mariana. “It’s fantastic. It’s very engaging and beautiful. I have never seen anything like that before. I have seen shows, but nothing like that. It is very, very entertaining, very wonderful from the physical, mental aspect, and from the culture, and the choreography too,” said Mrs. Mariana.

Mrs. Mariana continued by saying, “The background is beyond words. Everything is stirring. Everything in the show is beyond words for me. The girls are beautiful, the boys are talented, the singers were excellent. Whatever, it’s breathtaking. The first time I have ever seen anything like that.”

One segment of the show, “The Risen Lotus Flower,” tells of a story of three women imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong in China. “Falun Dafa Hao,” said Hemmerich, meaning “Falun Dafa is good” in Chinese (Falun Dafa is another way of referring to Falun Gong). He said that Divine Performing Arts is “making a very good message. It appears to me that in China, there are very good people, but they are misled. The message of the show to the younger generation like compassion and love and faith and peace is very good.”

“I really enjoyed it, and I’m so impressed that I’m coming tomorrow with my wife and my mother-in-law. We are very impressed,” said Hemmerich. “We are impressed with everything here. Everything, everything. The dancing, the action, the choreography, the music, and the culture.”

The Chinese New Year Splendor continues in New York through Saturday, Feb. 9. For other shows in the Divine Performing Arts world tour, please visit: http://www.DivinePerformingArts.org/ .

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Splendor.

Chinese New Year Splendor Surpasses the Broadway Shows, Says Insurance Employee


By Zheng Tingwei, Epoch Times New York Staff, Feb 07, 2008- An employee of the New York Life Insurance Company, Ms. Qiu Qinzheng watched the seventh Chinese New Year Splendor show in New York on the evening of February 4. (Dai Bing/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—On the evening of February 4, the Divine Performing Arts company gave another breathtaking performance at their seventh Chinese New Year Splendor show in New York.

One theatre goer—Ms. Qiu Qinzheng—works for the New York Life Insurance Company, and is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). She used to perform both Chinese ethnic dance and modern dance.

“The show is very good. The dances are very polished and the pictures are so beautiful. The colors are good too,” explained Qiu. “I especially liked the drums of the Tang Court, and the dancing and music were also enjoyable. The entire show is so delicate. I have never seen such a beautiful picture before. It touches upon themes of philosophy and belief. It integrates Chinese culture and popular legends, using dance and music to present them perfectly.”

“The performance level is very high,” Qiu continued. “I feel that it surpasses the Broadway shows—it actually outdoes them. I just watched ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ and I think that tonight’s show has an even higher performance level—it is four to five times that of the ‘Phantom.’” Qiu added.

“China has five thousand years of history so they can draw from many good topics. The choreography was well done too. What they have done is beyond imagination, it is hard to imagine that they could have done such a fine job,” Said Qiu.

“Because I have performed Chinese ethnic dance and modern dance before, I can tell they have incorporated many movements and skills from Chinese dance such as leg splits in air, and the unique hand gestures and steps. They use these forms to successfully present China’s history and culture,” stated Qiu. “The well-designed background scenery enables the audience to easily understand what they are trying to portray.”

“I feel that the choreographers are very imaginative. The entire production has a powerful artistic expression. It not only has classical beauty, but also a modern touch. It uses traditional Chinese colors in harmony, giving people a very pleasant feeling,” Qiu explained.

“When I was watching, I cried quite a few times; it was so touching. From the lyrics, I could hear deep calls to restore the Chinese traditional truth, compassion and beauty. I could feel the pain of the Chinese nation. I feel it very deeply,” said Qiu.

“I believe this show will win a great response among large audiences in the U.S., causing them to reevaluate their view of Chinese people. They will realize that some media characterizations about the Chinese people are only narrow picture created by a few people, and not what we hope to see. What this show presents is the true image of the Chinese people,” Qiu said.

The Chinese New Year Splendor continues in New York through Saturday, Feb. 9. For other shows in the Divine Performing Arts world tour, please visit: http://www.divineperformingarts.com/ The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Splendor.

- Original report from the Epochtimes: Million Dollar Round Table Member: ‘I feel that it surpasses the Broadway shows’

(photos) Chinese New Year Splendor Show at New York Radio City Music Hall


All photos are from the Epochtimes-

The Chinese New Year Splendor Show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall is the flagship performance of the 2008 Divine Performing Arts global tour, which encompasses more than one hundred dancers, singers, and musicians from around the globe.

All choreography and musical scores are original creations, produced just for this event. Critics call it “brilliant” “tremendous” and “resplendent.”

The Splendor show continues in New York through Saturday, Feb. 9. 2008.

For details please visit the event’s website

For  audience feedbacks, please watch this Youtube video

Chinese New Year Splendor (2)
Chinese New Year Splendor (3)
Chinese New Year Splendor (4)
Chinese New Year Splendor (1)

The Chinese Spectacular Shaw “absolutely entertaining but also very beautiful”: U.S. Senator


By Luke Buthman, Epoch Times Minneapolis Staff, U.S. Jan 25, 2008-

MINNEAPOLIS—Of the many distinguished guests attending tonight’s show of the Divine Performing Arts Company in Minnesota, the Honorable Senator Mee Moua was among those in attendance. Accompanied by her husband Yee Chang and her two children Chase and Sheng, Senator Moua’s family found some of the themes “enlightening” and the show to be “colorful and uplifting.”

“I think the performers are great, they’re world class,” said Chang. “This is a part of our community and we are here to ring in the new year and celebrate the new year.”

When asked if his Asian background gave him some connection to the show, Chang replied that “a lot of spiritual themes are similar, the themes of ancestry, culture and tradition and the spiritual world and the physical world being one and the same. That resonates with our culture.”

Senator Moua said “that the costumes were beautiful, the different themes were educational and I learned a lot.”

Chase, her eldest son, loved the drumming, while her daughter Sheng loved the dancing.

Both Senator Moua and her husband enjoyed that the show was great for families. Senator Moua said, “I think some of the messages are more adult but it was done in a way that it made our kids curious. That’s what something like this should be; it should allow both adults and children to be able to ask questions and be curious”.

Senator Moua remembered that “We grew up watching Chinese movies, watching a lot of the Kung Fu movies, the Jackie Chan movies, and the traditional Hong Kong Chinese-style movies where people fly through the sky and they have on these beautiful costumes.

“Hearing the classical music in the background and watching it being performed brought back those visions of the movies that I’ve seen. It was absolutely entertaining but also very beautiful.”

In conclusion, Senator Moua said simply, “It’s a very good show, from the artistry to the beautiful dancing.”

Following this Minneapolis performance, Diving Performing Arts will play three shows in Chicago on January 25 and 26. The Spectacular is also playing January 23-26 in San Francisco. See Bestchineseshows.com for details. The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

- Original report from the Epochtimes: A Show that ‘Resonates with Our Culture’

EPIC PROPORTIONS- ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’: Heavy on history and tradition, in San Francisco


Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle, USA, Wednesday, January 23, 2008-

As if the Chinese New Year parade and celebration weren’t grand enough, this year San Francisco is hosting the traveling “Chinese New Year Spectacular,” an enormous show in its second year that is being billed as “the largest Lunar New Year celebration” outside China. It’s presented by New Tang Dynasty TV, an independent, nonprofit Chinese-language television broadcaster that operates outside of China.

The show’s choreographer and principal dancer, Vina Lee, laughs when asked what her favorite parts of the epic show are. “Oh, there’s so much!” she says. There are 40 separate “programs” in the show, each of which portrays a part of Chinese history or showcases traditional Lunar New Year stories. The Imperial Palace is evoked, warriors clash, goddesses descend from heaven. Modernity hasn’t been ignored in this production either: Lee says that one program deals with contemporary Chinese society and critiques the government’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. “Elements of this story,” she notes, “are happening now.”

Lee fled China after the Tiananmen Square conflict and says that one of the primary motivations for this show was to spotlight pre-Maoist Chinese history. “Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate family. It’s pretty much like Christmastime,” Lee says. “We thought about doing it not just to be entertaining but to review our history, to bring back the principles of the country.”

Those principles include “compassion, tolerance, beauty. … These very fundamental principles to Chinese culture have been lost and damaged during the Communist regime,” she says.

Another challenge in plumbing Chinese history was to create a show that would interest Chinese and non-Chinese alike – people who would know the old stories by heart and those who didn’t have a background in the traditional performances. “It is both ways,” says Lee, noting that there will be dialogue and lyrics in English and Chinese throughout the show. “I think people, no matter the background, will find it easy to follow the show’s ideas.”

With 60 performers onstage and an orchestra, there’s much to see and hear during the “New Year Spectacular.” “The opening act, don’t miss the first one,” she counsels. “It’s such a stunning picture. The opening scene is bringing a message from a long time ago.

“Of course, people like the drum dance, it’s very powerful, and some audiences would say they like softer, more traditional parts. … Some people say they like the myth stories, some like the lyrics. And some people, they say they love every single piece.”

8 p.m. today, 2 and 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Through Sat. $28-$98. Orpheum Theatre, 192 Market St., S.F. (415) 512-7770. http://www.shnsf.com.

- Original report from San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’: Heavy on history and tradition, show stops in San Francisco

Chinese New Year Spectacular ‘A Feast for Your Heart’: Los Angeles audience


By Ben Bendig, Epoch Times Los Angeles Staff, Jan 19, 2008- Marta Loera, Martha Fierro-Romero, Sally De La Peza, and Sonia Mir. All are teachers, though Loera is retired. (Mark Zou/Epoch Times)
LOS ANGELES─ The Chinese New Year Spectacular finished its second showing on Jan. 19 at the Nokia L.A. Live Theater in Los Angeles to an enthusiastic audience. The Spectacular is a showcase of China’s 5000-year-old traditional culture, portrayed through dance and music performance.
Marta Loera, Martha Fierro-Romero, and Sally De La Peza, all from Hacienda, CA., and Sonia Mir, from Ontario, CA., saw the show together.

“I loved the costumes, the vibrant colors, and the movements, the gracefulness in which they moved,” said Fierro-Romero, a teacher. “The music was very soothing, to go along with the beautiful vibrant costumes.”

De La Peza, a first-grade teacher, said she enjoyed “the gracefulness, the delicacy, and at the same time strength and power” of the performances. She also said she “enjoyed the differences between traditional ballet and this kind of [dance].”

Mir, an art teacher, said she liked the Water Nymph performance, saying that it was “beautiful, so creative. Our ballet … we could learn something from them.”

De La Peza also said she hoped to make arrangements to bring her entire first-grade class to see the show, “I think it would be great, just to introduce them to this culture.”

Fierro-Romero eloquently stated, “In conclusion, it was a feast for the eyes, a feast for the ears, and a feast for your heart.”

The Spectacular will show again tonight at 8 p.m. in the Nokia L.A. Live Theater, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday before going to Las Vegas on Jan. 21, then to Detroit on Jan. 22, and San Francisco from Jan. 23–26.

- Original report from the Epochtimes 

Ontario’s Education Minister Says the Chinese Spectacular Is ‘Wonderful’


By Matthew Little, Epoch Times Staff, Jan 19, 2008- Ontario's education minister Kathleen Wynne said she is 'very much enjoying the show.' (The Epoch Times)

Ontario’s education minister took in the Divine Performing Arts Chinese New Year Spectacular on Saturday and said she thoroughly enjoyed the show.

“I’m very much enjoying the show,” said Minister Kathleen Wynne during the intermission. “The color, the athletic ability and the precision of the dancers, it’s very compelling and very beautiful.”

“I love the drummers,” she added. “I think that the drums strike a very deep place in all of us. I think it’s wonderful.”

(photo: Ontario’s education minister Kathleen Wynne)

The minister said she enjoyed learning specific Chinese traditions through the spectacular and that she saw connections between the dance and music in the Spectacular and other cultures. “It’s quite interesting.”

“I really believe that experiencing arts happens on a number of different levels. It happens on an intellectual level, but it’s a physical and emotional one as well. I’ve enjoyed it on everyone of those levels.” The Spectacular, a world-class production performed by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company, features an international cast of dancers, singers, and musicians devoted to reviving the authentic traditional culture of China and bringing it to new heights of excellence.

The show’s programs draw content from the myths, legends, and other extraordinary stories of China from ancient to contemporary times, spanning China’s 5,000 years of history.

Integral to the extravaganza of aesthetic beauty and grace are themes of courage and righteousness, loyalty and filial piety, honesty and trustworthiness, compassion and faith—themes that are true to the reverent and divinely inspired traditional culture of China.

“I think its very worthwhile seeing. I’m very glad I’m here. It’s just wonderful, said Wynne, and thanked the organizers and everyone involved in the Spectacular.

The Saturday matinee was the second of five shows in Toronto. After Toronto, the Spectacular will continue on its global tour, which includes an 11-day run at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York, called the Chinese New Year Splendor.

The Spectacular returns to Canada in the spring to play in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. By the end of its tour, it will have played to a total live audience of 650,000 in over 60 cities and 14 countries.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.

- Original report from the Epochtimes

The Chinese Spectacular Show Aids ‘Cultural Development’, Says Human Rights Lawyer David Matas


By Cindy Chan, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 15, 2008-Prominent human rights lawyer David Matas

After seeing the Divine Performing Arts Chinese New Year Spectacular in Ottawa this year, human rights lawyer David Matas had high praise for the show’s professionalism as well as its important contribution to cultural development.

“It’s a very high-quality show, the costumes were wonderful, the music was terrific, the choreography was imaginative and very pretty to look at. It was a very professional show,” said Matas.

(photo: Prominent human rights lawyer David Matas)

Matas noted “the lessons of faith” portrayed in the Spectacular and “the continuity between the show and ancient Chinese cultural traditions.

It is “a continuation of Chinese culture as a living entity rather than just a museum artefact,” he said. Ethnic Chinese will benefit from the show because it helps them connect with their identity, while non-ethnic Chinese will benefit from the presentation of cultural diversity and the richness of the Chinese civilization.

Matas commended Divine Performing Arts, the company that presents the Spectacular , “for their commitment to continue, preserve, and develop [Chinese] culture.”

“It isn’t just the preservation,” he said, because the show contains elements “that would normally help cultural development and don’t just replicate the past, but bring the past up to the present.”

Matas pointed to the combination of modern instruments and ancient Chinese instruments as an example. “That in itself is an important cultural development—important for the Chinese culture, important for global culture.”

“Culture that is meaningful is going to be insurrectionary, not in a violent sense, but rejecting established cultural norms. Otherwise you just get a regurgitation of the old stuff.”

Keeping Chinese Culture Alive Despite Obstacles

The Divine Performing Arts promotes the Spectacular as a show that revives the authentic traditional culture of China, with its emphasis on moral values and spiritual quest, without any elements of communist party culture.

“That comes across pretty clear,” said Matas, adding that communism is a “controlled system” that thwarts culture.

Communism is “antithetical to culture and spirituality,” he remarked. “The way it relates to Chinese culture is simply by trying to destroy, obliterate, and suppress it, so any continuity of Chinese culture like what we see through the show is something that has no connection to communism whatsoever.”

Each year the Chinese embassies and consulates contact government officials and attempt to discourage attendance at the shows and/or prevent them from taking place. Matas called these attempts “a form of cultural destruction of one of the richest cultural heritages in human history and human civilization.”

He further explained that culture cannot come from a government or political system; it must come from the people. By its very nature, culture is a grassroots phenomenon, he said, whereas a communist society is a “controlled system,” and “any controlled system thwarts culture.

“The whole notion of central control, which is essential to the notion of communism, is antithetical to cultural development from the people.”

It follows that “you can’t have a meaningful Chinese culture while the CCP remains in power in China,” said Matas.

“The community putting on this show is not just providing a lot of entertainment but adding to contemporary cultural diversity and keeping alive this rich and diverse Chinese culture in the face of huge obstacles.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.

- Original report from the Epochtimes: Spectacular Aids ‘Important Cultural Development,’ Says Prominent Human Rights Lawyer

Every Child Should See Chinese Spectacular, Says Ontario MPP


By Matthew Hildebrand, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 15, 2008-Ontario MPP Lisa MacLeod

The Chinese New Year Spectacular , presented by Divine Performing Arts, drew a full house and a standing ovation at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa last night.

Among the dignitaries who took in the show was Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament Lisa MacLeod, who found special meaning in the lyrics of one of the songs.

“What an inspiring message to start the New Year with, which is truth—when you find it—means renewal, and I think that that’s a great message for a politician to hear, but I wish every kid in Ontario could see this display. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

(photo: Ontario MPP Lisa MacLeod. /The Epoch Times)

MacLeod said she especially found one line in the song to be “most inspiring.”

“If I can ever find the line translated into English again, I would really appreciate it, because it’s absolutely amazing,” said MacLeod. “And it is a real phrase that I think impacts everyone’s life, regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture, whatever—I think it’s just a really nice message to have.”

Would she like to come back?

“I have a small child and I can’t wait to bring her next year when she’s old enough to attend,” she said. “I think it’s just amazing. The dancers, the music, it’s something that every child should see. It’s something that if anyone has the opportunity to see it, should. It’s a great message—a great message for truth, divinity, and sense of purpose.”

The depiction of principles through artistic performance was also remarkable, MacLeod said.

“To do it through artistic means—I think it must be one of the most wonderful skills to have … To see people be able to speak about truth and sense of purpose through music and through dance and other artistic means, it’s very wonderful. I congratulate the organizers and I congratulate those participating in the show.”

“I think that the Chinese-Canadian community must be very proud of this Spectacular New Year special.”

- Original report from The Epochtimes

Chinese Traditions Take Centre Stage– New Year Show Combines Ancient And Modern With Spectacular Pageantry


By DENIS ARMSTRONG, the Ottawa Sun, Canada, Sat, January 12, 2008-

China’s former leader Chairman Mao couldn’t stand public holidays.

He thought they distracted the people from the sober utopia of the communist revolution. So Mao and his Gang of Four eliminated New Year’s, or any celebrations that might inspire pleasure or national pride, during the cultural revolution between 1966-1976.

But since trading Mao’s communism for some western-style capitalism, the Chinese have been not-so quietly reviving their holiday traditions in spectacular style.

To bring in the new Year of the Rat (which begins officially on the Chinese calendar on Feb. 7), New Tang Dynasty Television is throwing a Chinese New Year Spectacular, an Olympic-sized pageant of 100 dancers and musicians including a live symphony orchestra at the National Arts Centre, Sunday and Monday (in Ottawa).

The wholesome, family-friendly musical revives cultural holiday traditions, some dating back 5,000 years, which had all but been forgotten. Stylized ancient dances, Chinese and western orchestral music and fable storytelling with state-of-the-art digital video and live animation blend in an epic tale of good versus evil meant for both Chinese and Western audiences.

“We are trying to revive the culture and courageous spirit of the country,” explained the show’s local coordinator Jean Zhi. “We want to celebrate a traditional Asian way of life in which the family is central.”

BEAUTIFUL PICTURE

“As long as the curtain is raised, you see a perfectly beautiful picture,” Zhi adds. “The music and movement are gentle but there is also choreography based on martial arts, taken from ancient dynasties that have been thoroughly researched. Many of our cultural traditions were lost during the cultural revolution. We’re proud of our heritage and want to share it with the rest of the world.”

After generations of cultural repression, it’s not surprising that the show is both extravagant and a showcase for unabashed national pride.

Zhi notes that China’s historic transformation into one of the globe’s dominant economies and being chosen to host the 2010 Olympics has caused a renaissance in Chinese arts, and finally they’ve begun ramping up their cultural exports. Performed by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company, the multi-lingual show has become a popular annual holiday event in 34 cities worldwide, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton since it began touring 2004. Ottawa was added to the tour in 2007.

“Good values are universal,” Zhi concludes.

A complete program is listed on the show’s website at http://bestchineseshows.com/

Tickets for “Chinese New Year Spectacular” are $158-$38 at the NAC box-office and online at www.nac-cna.ca and www.ticketmaster.ca

- Original report from the Ottawa Sun

In Pasadena China Wins, Human Rights Loses


Newswire Services, via California Chronicle, December 29, 2007-

When, those who understand the deplorable state of human rights in China heard that Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard had invited Beijing to submit a float in the internationally famed Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, they immediately formed a coalition to oppose the float or at least to give human rights equal time.

However, no matter what the coalition proposed, it did not satisfy the City of Pasadena.

On Christmas Eve, Pasadena City’s Public Affairs Office issued a press release, alleging, “Human Rights Coalition Requests, then Rejects ‘Torch Relay Proposal.’” The City’s press release, which is attached hereto, contains disinformation, and deliberately mischaracterizes the spirit and letter of the interaction the human rights coalition had with the city.

The Pasadena Coalition for Human Rights in China provides the following synopsis and chronology of the 6-month saga.

I. Mayor Bogaard Invites a Beijing Float to Participate in the Rose Parade

On May 21, 2007, at a Tournament of Roses press conference, a Chinese government official formally announced that Beijing would have a float in the Rose Parade.

In 2004, Pasadena City’s Sister City Committee first invited China to participate in the 2008 Rose Bowl Parade. After two years of Beijing’s inaction, Mayor Bill Bogaard revived the invitation in 2006.

The Chinese government-controlled media saw the propaganda value of being in the Rose Parade, and immediately pumped out articles, calling it the kick-off event of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

II. China’s Broken Olympics Promise

The Olympic Charter proclaims that the “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on … respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”

Olympic Games that disregard these ethical principles face Olympic shame –just as the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin did.

The Beijing Olympics is the only Olympics awarded to a host country based on a promise to improve human rights. However, since that promise was made in 2001, human rights in China have not improved; they have, in fact, deteriorated for the many different groups of the oppressed in China – Falun Gong, Tibetans, Christians and others. In addition, China supports repressive regimes such as those in Sudan, Burma and North Korea, helping to plunge people there into worse human rights conditions. The inclusion of the Beijing Olympics float in the internationally famed Rose Parade, viewed by 300 million TV viewers, sends the wrong message to the world and assists China’s propaganda game of masking its extensive and severe human rights violations.

A coalition of human rights groups quickly formed to ask Pasadena City and the Tournament of Roses Association to reject the Beijing float and give human rights a voice in the Rose Parade.

III. The Pasadena City Council Rejects Human Relations Commission’s Recommendations

In response to the victims’ and the human rights groups’ appeals to the Pasadena City Council during its July 16 meeting, Councilman Chris Holden proposed, and the Council approved a review of controversy by the Human Relations Commission.

The Human Relations Commission report submitted on September 29, recommended that the City Council issue a strong statement decrying China’s human rights abuses and present it to the officials of Pasadena’s Chinese sister city, Xicheng. The commission also called on council members to arrange a meeting between all parties in order to have tournament officials and float sponsors take action to support human rights, make the float less offensive to rights advocates, or include a pro-human rights figure or group in the parade.

Although members of the City Council praised the report as being the best that any commission had ever submitted, it rejected every recommendation. Because of his role in inviting Beijing to submit a float, many had called on the mayor to recuse himself from the matter but the mayor has steadfastly refused.

IV. The Tournament of Roses Allowed a Pre-Parade Human Rights Torch Relay

In response to the coalition’s request and public outcry over the City’s rejection of its own Commission’s recommendation, the Tournament of Roses Association met with representatives of the coalition on November 13, 2008, invited the coalition to submit a plan for a well organized, first class, Human Rights event, to take place on January 1, 2008, prior to the 8 a.m. start of the Rose Parade.

From November 13 until December 11, the coalition met with the Tournament of Roses multiple times. To ensure that the pre-parade could finish in time for the Rose Parade, the coalition agreed to move the event up to 6:30 am. On December 11, the Tournament of Roses accepted the fourth version of the plan and timesheet, named Plan C, and had faxed it the City’s Police Department. The coalition also submitted the same plan to the City Manager.

On December 6, 2007, the City Manager called the coalition and said that she will be happy to assist in getting the city’s approval once the coalition worked out the plan with the Tournament of Roses. In all interactions prior to December 18, the City had never indicated there was a problem with the plans for a human rights event on New Years Day.

V. The City Rejects the Pre-Parade Human Rights Torch Relay at the Last Minute

On December 18, just two weeks before the event, in a meeting set up by the City Manager, Police Chief Melekian cited “security concerns,” completely tore up “Plan C”, and gave three “options” to the coalition, all of which would minimize the visibility of human rights actions on New Year’s Day. Representatives of the coalition, still concerned that human rights needed a voice, rejected the three options.

Chief Melekian told a journalist that the police would allow the coalition a pre-parade march, with no limit to number of people participating. When the coalition asked about the option of the pre-parade march, Commander Gales flatly rejected it. The coalition made repeated inquiries about what might be acceptable, and was told a small vehicle might be used, and no more than 500 hundred people would be allowed to march.

The coalition devised Plan D, which combined the three elements that chief Melekian had proposed. It included a 100-man marching band, a 13.5 x 5-foot Cushman Super Truck equipped with microphone and loud speakers, and ethnic communities carrying their various banners. Plan D, significantly down-sized version of Plan C; all elements that the police had explicitly objected to, were removed.

Plan D was sent to Commander Gales on the morning of December 20. He rejected it and would only consider a plan that was “significantly scaled back” and turned in before 5 pm that same day. The coalition felt that the police were not negotiating in good faith, and did not submit a further revision.

On the night of December 20, once again through a journalist, the coalition learned that the only objection the police had to Plan D was the “super-sized truck.” The coalition then sent an email to Commander Gales, offering to replace the 13 ½-foot Cushman Super Truck with a hand-pushed four-wheel cart. The coalition never received a reply.

VI. The City’s Offer to Hold the Human Rights Event in the Dark

In the afternoon on December 21, Dr. Tim Kelly, a consultant for Avery Dennison (co-sponsor of the Beijing Olympics float), called a meeting between representatives of human rights, the mayor, the police chief, and Tournament of Roses. Two options were discussed. However, both options had the event moved earlier to 6:00 a.m. Since the sun would not rise until 6:58 on January 1, 2008, the event would have to take place in near-total darkness.

The two sides agreed to a deadline of 12 noon on December 22 for the coalition to give the City a reply. The two sides also agreed that neither side would disclose the meeting to the media before Monday, December 24th. The mayor also indicated that he had participated in the meeting as a private individual, but that if the coalition disclosed the meeting to the media, the city’s offer would be nullified. The meeting was tape-recorded, and the city agreed to provide a copy of the tape to the coalition on December 24.

On the morning of December 22, the coalition held a meeting. They thought there could be no other explanation for the city’s “offer” but to force the coalition to hold its human rights event in the dark so as to minimize its visibility and impact. The coalition decided to reject both of the 6 a.m. offers. Since clearing the street was one of Police Department’s main concerns, the coalition counter-offered a simple march one minute before the Rose Parade, as the police would be clearing the street anyway.

This proposal also was rejected.

The City then issued a press release, which claimed that the coalition had agreed to the two options, even though there was never an agreement. The mayor also disregarded his own claim of acting as a private person at the negotiation meeting and used the mayor’s office to issue the release.

Although the coalition has requested the promised tape of the meeting on December 21, to date, the coalition has not received it.

VII. Remarks and Questions

While there have been moments of good will and hope, it is unfortunate that the wishes of kindhearted people and the victims of China’s abuse will not be heard. It is a situation, however, that China’s human rights abusers want.

The heart of the matter is: How can a democratic city government invite a propaganda float from a despotic regime, but refuse victims of that despotic regime a dignified platform? The City can spin it however it wants; the City can even say that the options given to the coalition were adequate. However, the City will never be able to justly answer how can this free country allow a tyrannical regime’s propaganda vehicle to gain international publicity, but force human rights supporters to speak only in the dark?!

To justify his acts, the mayor has used various excuses. Although he invited the Beijing float, he claims the voters only mandated him to address local issues. He has dismissed China’s human rights violations as mere “allegations.” In spite of the Beijing float controversy, the mayor, on August 9, 2007, pledged to the Consul General of People’s Republic of China that, “Pasadena will do its best to cooperate with Beijing’s needs for the Olympic Games.” Is that also in the voters’ mandate?

It remains for the reader to determine from our synopsis whether the City acted in good faith, whether the City ever intended to provide a voice for human rights in the face of the despotic regime it invited to Pasadena, and whether the City has a firm commitment to human rights. We hope all people everywhere will choose human rights over kowtowing to despotic regimes whenever that choice presents itself. The City of Pasadena has failed to do so.

- Report from California Chronicle

Bad news for Halloween: 440,000 lead-tainted China-made toys recalled in U.S


AFP, Oct. 31, 2007-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US authorities recalled some 440,000 Chinese-made toys Wednesday because of high levels of lead, just hours before US children were set to use some of them while celebrating Halloween.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 380,000 Galaxy Warriors figures, 43,000 sets of plastic disguise teeth, 16,000 sets of military-style Elite Operations action figures distributed by the global Toys R Us chain, and 1,500 Ribbit board games.

The toys were the latest in a raft of Chinese-made products aimed at children which have been removed from shelves in the United States because of high lead levels.

Surface paint on the poseable Galaxy Warrior spacemen figures, the “Ugly Teeth,” the frog-shaped wooden pieces in the Ribbit game sets, and the Elite Operations toys contained excessive levels of lead, prompting those recalls, the CPSC said in separate statements.

The consumer protection agency did not give details of the quantity of lead found in the toys.

Lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system of children, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and headaches, and is particularly dangerous if ingested.

The recall of the “ugly teeth,” which were found by an independent test team to contain 100 times the permissible level of lead, was the latest in the run-up to Halloween, which has already seen a record number of products recalled by the CPSC for lead violations.

But two Halloween items which were found by an independent test team to be tainted with the heavy metal were still on the market, hours before children in the United States went trick or treating.

“These are two small baskets decorated with painted ornaments — one a witch, the other a pumpkin. Paint on both ornaments was highly leaded,” Dr Jeffrey Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, who tested 54 children’s items for lead in the weeks leading up to Halloween, told AFP.

“Both were part of my the formal complaint I sent to the CPSC,” he said.

The latest round of recalls came amid calls for the resignation of CPSC chief, Nancy Nord, who has been accused by Democratic lawmakers of doing too little to stem the flow of dangerous toys from China into the United States.

Nord, an appointee of President George W. Bush, has followed the Republican executive’s deregulatory line and stood firm against proposed legislation seeking to increase the CPSC’s authority and staff.

The safety watchdog has one full-time toy tester, an expert report has said.

The CPSC was not immediately available for comment after Wednesday’s recalls.

- Original report from AFP : US recalls 440,000 lead-tainted Chinese-made toys

Talk about human rights: Issue of China Olympics Float In U.S Rose Parade


by Kenneth C. Hardy, Chair, City of Pasadena Human Relations Commission, Via Pasadena Star-News, CA, U.S. 11 Oct 2007-

The city of Pasadena Human Relations Commission recently issued a report regarding the controversy over the issue of human rights in China and the presence of a float commemorating the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the upcoming Rose Parade. The Commission recommended that the City Council: 1. Issue a statement promoting human rights improvements in China and 2. Talk with float opponents and supporters to discuss the furtherance of human rights.

The recommendations have upset some people. We review the commission’s rationale here so the public may understand it.

We disagreed that the matter was outside the city’s jurisdiction or competence. The city has previously reacted to issues beyond its borders. It adopted a purchasing policy boycotting businesses tied to apartheid South Africa. Last year it passed a resolution against a federal bill proposing harsh amendments to immigration law. And by entering into a sister-city relationship with the Xicheng District of Beijing, the city has already stepped outside its borders and within those of the nation whose human rights record is questioned. And China has stepped within ours via the officially approved float.

Now to the heart of the matter. There was no serious challenge to the fact of serious human rights violations in China. We received statements from protestors and float supporters and reviewed reports issued by Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department and other credible entities. The reports document illegal imprisonments, torture, repression of religious and press freedom and other injustices.

What particularly troubled us, however, was the lack of concern with these issues – intentional or unintentional – exhibited by most Chinese supporters of the float. Most of them dismissed the complaints as the “political opinion” of protesters and not appropriate for discussion. Others simply reported good experiences in China.

Certain fundraisers stated that the protesters represent small dissent groups and not the majority of Chinese who are “very happy for China.” The chair of Pasadena’s Sister Cities Committee stated that our recommendation was “foolish” and that “if we were lily-clean, we might have the right to take a stand. All it does is stir up a tempest in a teapot.”

These statements are troubling. We acknowledged the importance of cultural and national pride and its place in the hosting of the Olympics. We recognized the economic strides China has made and the difficulty of analyzing human rights issues, especially in other nations. But none of these prior statements or the aforementioned complexities justify refusal to even broach the subject of human rights.

To equate expressed concerns over illegal imprisonment and torture as mere political opinions – even if one believes the Olympics has nothing to do with politics – suggests a profound insensitivity to the plight of fellow Chinese.

To say the Olympics has nothing to do with human rights is incorrect. The Olympic Charter proclaims that the “goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” and that any “form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” These values are the very ones enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

We did not understand why one’s own good experience in China should logically preclude concern for others who suffer. And since when did the measure of morality and justice merely depend on majority view? If only we could ask the 10 percent of the population enslaved in early America.

Although the desire for justice often burns brightest in the hearts and minds of victims of injustice, the true test of progressive development is whether such desire attaches to the hearts and minds of those who are not victims.

Finally, to justify inaction due to the unclean hands of the U.S. exhibits a seemingly false and self-serving humility that flips moral responsibility on its head. China’s human rights issues are very much worse than ours. And rather than be silent, we must be vigilant about human rights issues at home and, when necessary, abroad. To equate the false imprisonment and torture of human beings as a “tempest in a teapot” is appalling.

The commission did not ask the City Council to seek rejection of the float or the discontinuation of its sister-city relationship. It asked the City Council to voice concerns and take some action over principles that we are supposed to cherish.

Kenneth C. Hardy

Chair, City of Pasadena Human Relations Commission

Pasadena

- Original report from Pasadena Star-News : Don’t sell out principles

Don’t sell out principles: Concern Over China Official Float in U.S Rose Parade


Joe Brown, President of Pasadena NAACP, Via Pasadena Star-News, CA, U.S, 11 Oct 2007-

In spite of the “human and civil rights violations,” for the past year, I have wrestled with this matter of granting Communist China a platform for its political maneuver and propaganda. I cannot be outraged about the lead-coated toys and remain numb to Beijing’s propaganda float.

As it currently stands, on Jan. 1, 2008, a Beijing-authorized float is to be paraded down Colorado Boulevard in the internationally famous Rose Parade, glorifying the Chinese communist regime in the name of the Olympics to an estimated 400 million television audience.

It is against what I believe the founding principles of our nation are, what I stand for as president of the Pasadena NAACP and what I served my country for – as a U.S. Army sergeant.

Some have defended the Beijing float citing previous floats celebrating Olympic Games in Athens, Mexico City and Los Angeles in the Rose Parade. It has been said by one elected officials that he supported the Beijing Olympic float because of “values represented by this long-standing, global tradition of athletic competition. The Olympics Games represent the finest value of human nature.”

I believe by allowing this communist country a float in the Rose Parade,

Pasadena is also giving China an opportunity to exploit the Olympics for its politics. Some people may argue differently. Our Tournament of Roses president (Mr. Keedy) has stated that, “The Olympics is the issue, not the politics, that sports are merely sports and we should stay clear of other concerns.”

In my opinion, the float and Beijing games, however, represent just the opposite of humanity, and is only comparable to the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin. The Beijing Olympics owns the conspicuous mark of being the only Olympics given to a host country based on a promise of improving human rights conditions. Since that promise in 2001, I have yet to read, hear about or see the human rights condition in China improved.

A Rose Parade float cynically used as a propaganda tool for the Republic of China would become a float of shame that would forever taint not only the image of the Rose Parade but the image of the city of Pasadena as well.

Some have embellished the float as a cultural exchange. Alan Lamson, chair of the China Subcommittee of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee, has said, “Our position is that it’s much better to get to know someone, even if you disagree with them.”

Elected Pasadena and TofR officials, are we simply following the money and forgetting how this will gravely weaken our moral stand and principles? I hope this doesn’t allow us to sell our principles, just to receive another cheap product, lead-coated toys and toxic food.

Many continue to inform me that the U.S. is not perfect when it comes to human and civil rights. This, I agree with. But there is a vast difference between imperfections in a democracy and deliberate crimes in a dictatorship. Others have tried to find a good thing or two to say about the Beijing Olympics. They have argued that the 1936 Olympics are best remembered for the heroics of Jesse Owens instead of Hitler’s exploitation of the Olympics. That is the same as finding a bright spot in the Holocaust in the heroics of Schindler. It is unconscionable to use the heroics of others to excuse our own inaction.

Some have also tried to justify their support of the Beijing float by citing their good intention toward China. Just remember, support to oppressors, in any form, is a cruelty to the victims.

For Pasadena’s honor, for the Olympic spirit, for the men and women who have served in this country and most importantly, for our own conscience, there is a choice: Re-visit our position on this communist country and its propaganda float. I thought (and many other veterans agree) I was serving my country to defend against this type of tyranny.

As late as the hour is, there can be no excuse to not act; it is time to add our voice to the international outcry. Many people have already taken actions. Congressional representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Maxine Waters have independently introduced resolutions calling for boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Mia Farrow’s letter opposing a “Genocide Olympics” has already slowed the Chinese regime’s aggression in Darfur. Steven Spielberg is reconsidering his role as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics. Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu is considering boycotting the Beijing Olympics over China’s support of Burmese despots.

The words of Dr. King still ring loudly in my ear, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Joe Brown

President, Pasadena NAACP

Pasadena

- Original report from pasadenastarnews.com : Don’t sell out principles

Torch for China Human Rights Reaches the Heart of the EU


Epoch Times Belgium Staff, Oct 01, 2007-The Belgian Human Rights Torch Relay Ambassadors assemble on stage.

BRUSSELS, Belgium— After a morning of pouring rain, the skies cleared for the welcoming ceremony for the Human Rights Torch relay at Schumann Place in Brussels, Belgium. Members of almost all the parties in Belgium’s Parliament supported the event.

The Human Rights Torch, which started its five-continent trek in Athens, Greece on August 9, arrived in Brussels, the administrative capital of the EU, on September 28. Brussels is the Torch’s twelfth stop. The torch brings with it the message that human rights violations cannot continue in China if the Chinese regime will be allowed to host the Olympic Games.

The Torch Relay was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG.) Many think the persecution of Falun Gong, affecting one hundred million practitioners, and involving torture, murder, and organ theft, is the worst human rights violation happening in China. CIPFG started the Torch Relay to tell the world about the persecution of Falun Gong, Christianity, Islam, democracy and freedom of belief, assembly and expression by the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr. Petitjean, local CIPFG representative, said in the opening speech: “The 2008 Olympics are less then 12 months away while according to reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGO’s, the Chinese communist regime has stepped up measures to further silence anyone suffering repression under their rule.”

He added “The torch relay is aimed at urging the international community to boycott the Olympic games in Beijing as we believe hosting the Olympics in Beijing would be a travesty of the Olympic spirit and a direct violation of the Olympic Charter”.

One of the Belgian Torch Relay ambassadors, Senator Vankrunkelsven, who carried out his own investigation into illegal organ transplanting in China in 2006, stressed in his speech the ongoing human rights violations in China. “The Chinese regime will use the Olympics for their image, while we should not cease to use this opportunity to expose the real situation in China,” Vankrunkelsven stated.

The ongoing persecution in China was sadly illustrated by this week’s arrest of renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in China, because of his open letter to the U.S. congress. Therefore the participants of the Torch Relay in Belgium wore yellow ribbons to show their support for lawyer Gao. “We have great appreciation and admiration for Gao’s determination and courage in issuing this open letter at a time when he was placed under extensive surveillance and subject to severe coercion from the Chinese regime”, as one of the speeches mentioned.

The list of support statements from political and cultural personalities presented at the ceremony was extensive. “I hereby announce that I will support CIPFG’s Global Human Rights Torch Relay. We will join all those who stand up for justice, and together we will light the torch and let the brightness of justice illuminate all corners of our world,” one of the Belgian mayors wrote.

- Original report from the Epochtimes : Human Rights Torch Reaches the Heart of the European Union

Chinese Groups in Australia Protest China Olympic Event


SOH Breaking News, Australia-

On 18th September, The Consulate-General of The People’s Republic of China in Sydney hosted a formal dinner to celebrate the arrival of the “Flame of Hope” for the Shanghai 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games. However, many human rights groups, including China Current Affairs, China Democracy Support Trust, protested at the site, they appealed for the Australian people not to be fooled by the Chinese Communist Party regime. The protesters called for human rights in China, as their slogans said “We Want Human Rights, Not Olympic Games” or “Democracy and Human Rights Prior to Olympic Games”.

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin said, the attempts by the CCP to take theChen Yong Lin Olympic Games as a life saver, will be all in vain.

Chen said it is only another game the CCP is playing to build up its so called good image at the Olympic related activities. The protesters would reveal its disguise, so that Australian people won’t be fooled by them.

Chen said [recorded]: “This Torch Relay is no more than another game played by The CCP to ¡®paint gold¡¯ on its face, and to build a fake image as if China is in great peace. We are here to reveal its disguise, and to let the public know how they severely violate the human rights in China, also the fact that they arrest people who hold different political opinions. “

Chen pointed out that, currently, Chinese people are not content with the CCP; hence, it is trying hard to build up a good image in the international society, so that it can stabilize the political power over China. However, their efforts will be all in vain.

He said [recorded]: “Now, the Chinese people are not happy with the CCP, especially the people who live in the lower social classes. They ask for rights on their land, and want justice on many other social problems, such as the appealers, whose cases still remained unsolved. Under this circumstance, The CCP wants to use the Beijing Olympic Games to turn things around; but it just simply won¡¯t work.”

Chen also said, the human rights Torch Relay has drawn great attention from the international society. The CCP has felt the crisis around the corner as the Beijing Olympic will be boycotted, so they spend a fortune to promote the Beijing Olympics overseas.

He said[recorded]: “When The CCP sees how the human rights Torch Relay has drawn more and more attention from the international society and media, they foresee the Beijing Olympics may be boycotted globally, so they urgently form teams to promote the Beijing Olympics overseas. Just think about it, in China, 2 billion people, the average income per person per day is less than US$2. However, The CCP can ignore this fact and spends huge amounts of money to promote the Beijing Olympics overseas. It is totally unacceptable for the Chinese people. “

After Chen Yonglin denounced The CCP in 2005, he engaged in the China human rights movement. He has helped to rescue people who had different political opinions with CCP.

- Original report from SOH breaking News: Protests against CCP’s “Flame of Hope” torch relay

Human Rights Torch For China Relays to Slovak


Press release, HumanRightsTorch.Org, September 13,2007-

BRATISLAVA — Human Rights Torch Relay, lit up in Athenes on 9th. august 2007, will come to slovak capital, Bratislava.  It`s its 7th stop on a journey through more than 25 countries and more than 100 cities of Europe, Asia, both American continents and Australia.  The main goal is the call to improve the situation of human rights in China with motto “Olympics and crimes against humanity can’t coexist in China at the same time.”

The Relay will come to Bratislava on the Hlavné námestie (Main Square) on Friday, 14th of September, where at 10:00 am the main ceremonial, passing of the torch to slovak V.I.P`s-runners will happen.

Runners will pass a symbolic length along the Danube river under the Devín castle. After 10 km, the Torch will finish near the Memorial of the communist regime victims, where it will be passed to the representative of Switzerland, where the Torch Relay will continue.

The following speakers will give their speaches on during the ceremony:

* Peter Osusky, vice-chairman of the Slovak Olympics Committee and vice-chancellor of the Comenius University in Bratislava
* Pavel Petrik, chairman of the Green Party
* Peter Tatar, chairman of the Civic Conservative Party
* Ladislav Svihran, anti-totalitarian writer
* Dorota Nvotova, slovak singer
* and others

From 7.pm, several music bands supporting the Torch Realy will perform on the Main Square: O.B.D., Smola a hrušky, Hvozd, Sako, Cliche and Vetroplach.

Human Rights Torch Relay is organized by CIPFG (Coalition to Investigate the Persecution on Falun Gong). The goal of the coalition is to unite all interested parties to conduct a thorough and independent investigation, to uncover the truth about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong, in particular the harvesting of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners, in secret concentration camps, prisons, labor camps, detention centers, brainwashing centers, psychiatric hospitals, hospitals and all other relevant facilities.

Main contact:
Marek Tatarko, organizer of the Torch Relay in Slovakia
Mobile photo: +421 902 050 420
email: marek.tatarko@nextra.sk

Event schedule:

10:00-11:00 – Official ceremony, speeches, reading of the support declarations. Main Square (Hlavne namestie), Bratislava

11:00 (approx.) – The beginning of the run with the Torch. All VIP’s runners will run together, making one or two circles around the Main Square. Then the Torch will continue towards the destination, while the main VIP’s should stay on the square for media inquiries.

between 12:30 – 13:00 (approx.) – The run will finish in Devin (around 10km from Main Square) near the Memorial of the Communist regime victims. Short speech will be given, then the Torch will be passed to Switzerland

19:00 – 22:00 – Benefit concert to support the Torch Relay. Six bands will perform: O.B.D., Smola a hrušky, Hvozd, Sako, Cliche and Vetroplach.

About the Torch Relay destination in Devinphoto of the memorial

The memorial in Devin (photo right) was built for remembrance of the men and women, who were killed during their run to freedom from the communist regime in Slovakia (Czechoslovakia at that time).  The place is on the confluence of the rivers Dunaj and Morava, near the boundary between Austria and former Czechoslovakia. Many people tried to run to West, attemting to swim through the river.

The inscription on the memorial reads:

Communist regime shooted, with mines and electric wire killed and using other means murdered, during their attempt to run through the “Iron Curtain” on the czechoslovakian boundaries in the years 1948 – 1989:

< followed by the long list of names>

- Report from official website of  Human Rights Torch Relay