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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Festival’ Category

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

Posted by Author on January 24, 2008


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

Posted in all Hot Topic, Artists, celebration, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Event, Festival, history, News, People, Social, Spiritual, the Chinese Spectacular, tradition, USA, World | Comments Off on EPIC PROPORTIONS- ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’: Heavy on history and tradition, in San Francisco

Scores of Tibetans in Southwest China Detained for Protesting at Traditional Festival

Posted by Author on August 3, 2007


Radio Free Asia, 2007.08.02-

KATHMANDU—Chinese authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan have detained scores of people for protesting at a traditional holiday picnic, sources in the region say.

Rongyal Adrak, of the Yonru nomadic group, called at a festival in Lithang (in Chinese, Litang) on Aug. 1 for the Tibetan exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, to be permitted back into Tibetan territory under Chinese control, sources told RFA’s Tibetan service.

“Rongyal Adrak is generally a religious and good person, but because he was frustrated at being unable to meet the Dalai Lama…he shouted in the midst of all the people that the Dalai Lama must be invited home,” one source said.
Many people detained

“[He said,] ‘If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet.’”

“He raised a protest and then others joined him” at a traditional picnic Aug. 1, the day Chinese citizens celebrate the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the source said. Aug. 1-15 also marks a fortnight of horse-racing and other celebrations among Tibetans, when the local weather is ideal.

“About 20 persons, young and old, belonging to the Yonru group are now behind bars. Then others from outside the jail also raised a protest…and now some 200 Tibetans have been taken into custody,” the source said.

Another source who witnessed the protest said Yongyal Adrak had thrown a khatak, or ceremonial white scarf, into the crowd before “snatching the microphone from the Chinese [official] on the ceremony platform and asking, ‘Should the Dalai Lama return home or not ?’”

“The crowd yelled ‘yes,’” the witness said. “He then asked, ‘Should the Panchen Lama be released ?’ Everyone responded, ‘Yes.’”

“Then the Chinese official snatched the microphone back, and a monk from the local monastery who had earlier called the Dalai Lama a ‘splittist’ was verbally attacked by the crowd,” the source said.

Local Chinese security officials, contacted by telephone, reported that the incident had been brought under control, but they declined to comment further.
Last year’s horse festival cut short

Sources in the area reported hearing gunshots near the local jail, but they said no one appeared to have been injured.

A year ago, Tibetan nomads ransacked a local police station in Lithang after a dispute over the results in a major annual horse race.

The Lithang Horse Race Festival, which drew tens of thousands of spectators, was cut short because of clashes over who won third place. Four men were beaten by police, according to witnesses, when they tried to complain about cronyism. They refused to seek medical attention and instead commandeered a stage at the festival that was to have been used for a cultural performance.

The festival is a major event in the region and has drawn up to 50,000 participants and spectators from all over China in previous years.

At 4,000 meters above sea level, Lithang is one of the highest human settlements on Earth. It is home to the 16th-century Lithang Monastery, now rebuilt after being bombed in the 1950s.

– Original report from  Radio Free Asia: Scores of Tibetans Detained for Protesting at Festival

Posted in Asia, China, ethnic, Event, Festival, Human Rights, Incident, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Religion, Religious, Social, Spiritual, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World | Comments Off on Scores of Tibetans in Southwest China Detained for Protesting at Traditional Festival

California Rose Parade: Beijing Olympics-themed Float Cause Concern

Posted by Author on July 19, 2007


By Joe Piasecki, Pasadena Weekly, California, USA, 07-19-2007 –Roses are red

Human rights groups push the City Council and Tournament of Roses to rethink a controversial Chinese Olympic-themed float (picture from Pasadena Weekly website)

If China is to take the world stage on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, so will its authoritarian government’s tragic record of human rights abuses.

What began in this newspaper as local outrage voiced over a Rose Parade float designed to celebrate the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing has quickly snowballed into an international campaign urging the Tournament of Roses Association and elected city officials to take a public stand for civil liberties in China.

On Monday, advocacy organizations and members of social groups that are suppressed by the Chinese government gathered at City Hall for a second time to call on Pasadena City Council members to officially advocate for improved conditions in China.

Meanwhile, three international humanitarian organizations — Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — have added their voices to those pressuring the Tournament and the council.

In a letter sent last week to Tournament President CL Keedy, Secretary General Robert Ménard of the Paris-based press freedoms group Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontiéres) urged the organization to refuse hosting a float until China releases its political prisoners, especially those associated with media.

“Mr. Chairman, it is not too late to get the Chinese [Olympic Committee] organizers, who are for the most part also senior political officials, to release prisoners of conscience, reform repressive laws and end censorship. It is time to add your voice to the international pressure and to say clearly to the Chinese authorities that you will not allow the Rose Parade to be associated to the Olympics and to have the celebrations marred by the human rights violations committed in China,” wrote Ménard, who described China as “by far the world’s biggest prison for journalists, press-freedom activists, cyber-dissidents and Internet users,” where more than 100 media figures are being held without access to a court.

A similar letter was sent to Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, who in May spoke at a Tournament ceremony announcing the float that was attended by Olympic Committee officials and members of the Chinese-language press.

Although they could not be reached to discuss the letter, Keedy and Tournament Chief Operating Officer Bill Flinn met last Wednesday with Jianzhong (John) Li, a Caltech laboratory technical aide who first raised concerns about the float based on the Chinese regime’s persecutions of the Falun Gong movement, of which he is a member.

This week at City Hall, members of the Southern California-based Visual Artists Guild, the Los Angeles Friends of Tibet and other groups leveled criticism at Tournament officials and appealed to council members for action.

That pressure is likely to keep growing, as council members decided Monday at the urging of Councilman Chris Holden to officially discuss the matter in 90 days after a recommendation by the city’s Human Relations Commission.

The meeting attracted reporters from television stations KTLA Channel 5 and KABC Channel 7, KPCC-FM 89.3 and the Chinese Daily News. (…… more details from Pasadena Weekly : Roses are Red )

Posted in Beijing Olympics, China, Entertainment, Event, Family, Festival, Human Rights, Life, News, Politics, Social, Sports, USA, World | Comments Off on California Rose Parade: Beijing Olympics-themed Float Cause Concern

Chinese film “Tuya’s Marriage” wins in Berlin

Posted by Author on February 20, 2007


By Erik Kirschbaum and Mike Collett-White, Reuters, Feb 17, 2007-

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chinese movie “Tuya’s Marriage”, which explores the environmental and human cost of the country’s rapid economic growth through the lives of Mongolian herders, won the Berlin film festival’s top honor on Saturday.

The Golden Bear for best picture makes it a pair for Chinese cinema at Europe’s top film festivals, after similarly themed “Still Life” won the Golden Lion in Venice in September.

“Tuya’s Marriage” is set against the desertification of remote parts of China, which is forcing traditional shepherds into towns and cities, while “Still Life” concerns the upheaval caused by the giant Three Gorges Dam project.

“I think that it is important, particularly in this time when the economy is booming, to ponder and reflect on what we’re losing,” director Wang Quan’an said of “Tuya’s Marriage”.

“Once we’ve lost them (culture and tradition), we’ll never be able to get them back,” he told reporters after the prize ceremony.

“The best films aren’t those that solve problems or give answers, but those that simply show things as they are … that portray life authentically. That means we start to think about the lives of other people.”

Tuya, the shepherdess who seeks a new husband after hers falls ill, is played by Yu Nan, who was among the favorites to win the best actress Silver Bear in Berlin this year.

That prize eventually went to Nina Hoss for “Yella”, the third German actress to win the award in three years.

Yu learned to ride a horse and camel and herd sheep for the part.

“It was my first time in (inner) Mongolia and I needed four to five months to get accustomed to life there,” she said. “It may well be that these people have to move into the towns and cities, and I really appreciated the chance to make the film.” ……

more details from  Reuters

Posted in China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Economy, Environment, Europe, Event, Family, Festival, Life, News, North China, People, Rural, Social, TV / film, Women, World | Comments Off on Chinese film “Tuya’s Marriage” wins in Berlin

More than Just a Pretty Show: Chinese New Year Spectacular at Radio City

Posted by Author on February 15, 2007


PR Newswire (press release), NY , 13 Feb 2007-

NEW YORK, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With elegant court ladies in opulent Tang fashions, lovely heavenly maidens, and energetic drummers, all backed by an all-new 45-piece live orchestra, NTDTV’s Chinese New Year Spectacular at Radio City, February 14-17,  promises to be a sumptuous feast for the senses. But there is more to the show than meets the eye.

As The San Francisco Chronicle wrote after a tour performance in January, “New Tang Dynasty Television’s ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’ has spectacle to spare — and a mission to lift the spirits.” That mission is to revive authentic traditional Chinese culture in all its beauty, richness, and depth.

The show’s producers have drawn their inspiration from what they feel are the core values of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, including the belief in a moral universe, that good is rewarded with good and evil with evil. These are the kinds of universal values espoused by ancient Chinese legends, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and also the spiritual discipline Falun Dafa.

The Chinese government is apparently not pleased by what NTDTV is doing. Chinese consular officials in the US and other countries have even harassed theaters and sponsors and blocked the ticket hotline in an effort to prevent people from seeing the show.

NTDTV Senior Vice President Samuel Zhou says the situation can be seen as a cultural conflict because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was actually a Soviet import into China. “Ever since it entered into China, the CCP has wanted to wipe out Chinese traditional belief systems and replace them with Marxist and Maoist ideology. That’s the only way the leadership can maintain control over the Chinese people. They’re out to destroy a lot of things that are actually quite good.” Zhou quips: “I think the CCP’s really upset because this year’s show is more than good-it’s great!”

Cyril Dabydeen, Professor of English Literature at the University of Ottawa saw the show in Canada and agrees. “It was tremendous; one of the best shows I’ve seen at the National Arts Center … wonderful, superb choreography and beautiful soprano singing.”

For complimentary media accreditation to the show, please contact NTDTV media contacts.

February 14-17, 2007 (two shows daily at 11am and 8pm, 2pm/8pm show on Sat)

Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Avenue @ 50th Street
shows.ntdtv.com
Tickets: $38 and up
Reservations: 888.260.6221 or Ticketmaster or at Radio City Box Office

About the Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dog comes to an end in February 2007, ushering in The Year of the Boar, on February 18, 2007. Those born in the year of the Boar are regarded as models of fortitude, sincerity, and honor.

original report from  PR Newswire

Posted in celebration, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Entertainment, Event, Festival, Life, News, USA, World | Comments Off on More than Just a Pretty Show: Chinese New Year Spectacular at Radio City

Richard Gere Speak Out for China Human Rights at Berlin Film Festival

Posted by Author on February 13, 2007


By Tristana Moore, BBC News, 12 February 2007, Berlin-

Berlin is flogging its stars these days.

TV camera crews from all over the world are in town because the 57th annual Berlin Film Festival – the Berlinale – is under way.

But amid all the glamour and film premieres, there is another event vying for media attention – Cinema for Peace, which has been described by Bob Geldof as “the Oscars with brains”.

The international charity gala, which takes place annually at the Berlinale, is the place to be seen for any Hollywood star who is proud of having a social conscience.

At a news conference at the plush Adlon hotel on Monday, there was a star-studded line-up as Richard Gere and Catherine Deneuve rubbed shoulders with Christopher Lee and Bob Geldof.

With Germany holding the presidency of the G8 group of eight powerful nations, their message was simple – the German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, has a responsibility to take action to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as ending poverty and tackling human rights abuses.

Tibet challenge

“Please forget the fact that I make movies,” Richard Gere told the audience. “I am here as chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet.”

He showed journalists excerpts of a video made by the Romanian cameraman Sergiu Matei.

According to campaigners, the video reveals a group of Tibetan refugees who came under fire from Chinese guards at the Nangpa Pass on the border between China and Nepal last September.

The border incident, in which a nun was killed, prompted an international outcry and human rights groups called for a UN investigation.

“The Chinese authorities said they were acting in self-defence, but that is not true,” said Gere.

“As you hear on the video, the Chinese border guards were shooting at the Tibetan refugees like dogs.

“I am calling on Chancellor Merkel to encourage China to become part of the modern world.

“These actions cannot be tolerated,” the Pretty Woman star, 57, said.

“Tibet should be ever-present in any discussion with China.”

China has exercised harsh rule over Tibet since communist troops marched into the country in 1950.

The chancellor has publicly raised the broader issue of human rights with Chinese leaders, saying during a visit to Beijing last May that they were “an important issue of bilateral dialogue”.

Poverty plea

Gere, along with Geldof and other artists, has launched an initiative to raise awareness of global poverty and human rights issues in the run-up to the G8 summit, which is being held at the seaside resort of Heiligendamm from 6-8 June.

“Here we are, a fading Irish pop star, sex gods and sex goddesses,” Geldof told the news conference, “but we are here for a reason.

“Germany made a historic promise to help end poverty in Africa at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

“Chancellor Merkel has reiterated her commitment, but the question is: ‘How are you going to meet your commitment, and when?’

“I can’t understand how Germany, with its huge GDP, has difficulty keeping its commitment to poverty,” he continued.

“The G8 leaders set their own goals in 2005. We’re not asking for more money. We’re just asking world leaders to keep their promises.” …… (more details from BBC News)

Posted in Africa, Celebrity, China, Economy, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Festival, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Religion, Social, Tibetan, USA, World | Comments Off on Richard Gere Speak Out for China Human Rights at Berlin Film Festival