Chinese Consulate Tries to Prevent Shen Yun from Performing in Odessa, Ukraine

The Odessa State Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy in Ukraine is scheduled to host a Shen Yun performance on May 28, 2010. However, the Chinese Consulate has recently exerted pressure on the theatre, which has temporarily halted all ticket sales for the Shen Yun performance. The show's presenter and people from all walks of life are indignant at the Chinese Communist regime's behaviour and look forward to the arrival of Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Svetlana Vetriak, head of "For the Children of the New Century" Foundation, has been engaged in finding talented young musicians for more than 20 years and has organized all kinds of performances in Odessa. She saw the Shen Yun performance for the first time in 2008 in Bucharest, Romania. She said, "When I saw the performance, I realized that it was something special. In my everyday work I deal with different performing groups--dance and musicals that are highly professional--but Shen Yun is different from all of them, because it is concerned with morality and virtue."

After a long period of negotiation, she managed to invite the company to perform at the Odessa State Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy on May 28, 2010, during Shen Yun's European tour. Huge posters announcing the performance have been posted everywhere in the city. Many locals heard about it and bought tickets in order to see Shen Yun's exquisite performance.

Elena Silkina, manager of the booking office, said in an interview, "People are quite interested in the event. At present, only the most expensive tickets are left. We have had many phone calls--this is one of the most popular projects."

But one month before the arrival of Shen Yun Performing Arts, Ms. Vetriak learned that the show may be cancelled. She said, "Today I read the letter of protest from Ms. Y of the Chinese consulate in Odessa. In the letter she demanded and even ordered that the Shen Yun show be banned in Odessa. I think this is intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine and in my work and business activities. I have signed a contract, and I will lose my money if the concert is cancelled, and the citizens of Odessa will be hurt."

To our knowledge, the Chinese authorities have tried to keep Shen Yun from performing in many cities around the world. The reason is that some programs deal with the Chinese Communist Party's totalitarian persecution of people with faith. But "everything is shown in an allegoric way, and what is shown is really the persecution. Culture has to enlighten. And Shen Yun shows five thousand years of ancient history. This is a noble endeavour," said Ms. Vetriak.

After getting the letter from the Chinese embassy, Odessa city officials also received letters from different state establishments. An official who did not want to reveal his name said, "They (the Chinese Consulate staff) demand that the show be banned." Although the show hasn't been cancelled officially, the box office has stopped selling tickets.

People from all walks of life condemned the Chinese Communist regime's intervention into the artistic performances in other countries. After Yirii Vasiuchenko, leading choreographer of the Opera House, heard the news about the ban on Shen Yun, he said, "If Shen Yun Performing Arts arrives, I will be extremely honoured to see it."

Aliona Kuzina, fashion designer, said, "I think this is a free city, and Odessa is worthy of this event. No political points of view can influence this performance. I think that the show will take place. I've been waiting for it for two years. "

Petr Volkov, regional council deputy, said, "I think I will find time to see this show with my colleagues, and not only them. I think that everyone would be interested in getting to know this culture better and to enrich their inner lives."

Valeriy Tsytsak, head of the Aristocrat Union, said, "These people are estimating everything that is happening in China from the universal point of view. That's why we are waiting for them, and I am sure that all the intellectuals will be very interested in the artists and will receive them warmly, the same way as we receive the other 137 nationalities in Odessa. "

It's yet to be seen if the Ukrainian government will ultimately resist pressure from the Chinese regime and if the people in Odessa will have the opportunity to see Shen Yun.

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