Politiken (Danish newspaper): Censorship at Danish festival

19th September 2002
by Marie Boe-Hansen and Michael Rothenborg


The Chinese meditation movement Falun Gong was excluded from the festival Asian Comments, which started today in Copenhagen.

Falun Gong is banned in China, because the system caused nervousness in case its many millions of practitioners could become a power. And the Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen was discontented that the movement originally was in the picture at the festival, even though it just wanted to perform a [traditional] Chinese dance.

“The Chinese embassy was very interested(in it). They said that they did not like Falun Gong’s participation”, says Olaf Gerlach, leader of the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) that arranges the festival in collaboration with Copenhagen municipality and the Foreign Minister.[..]

Falun Gong in Denmark emphasizes that the movement was aware that is was a cultural festival.

“We told the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) that we would abstain from handing out leaflets or show banners, if that were their demands for us to take part in it”, says the spokesman of the Danish Association of Falun Gong, Marco Hsu.

The exclusion is met with political frowns. “It is reprehensible and very non-Danish, if the Chinese authorities have taken part in the censorship of a Danish cultural festival”, says Peter Skaarup, The legal spokesman of The Danish Peoples Party, who has asked the Foreign Minister for a statement of the Chinese authorities’ role in the case.

Also the chairman of the Committee of Justice (of Parliament), Anne Baastrup, (SF, The Socialist People´s Party) thinks that it is, “Very unpleasant if Danish citizens are under pressure from the Chinese State”.

It has not been possible to get a comment from the Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller (K)(The Conservative). Nobody at the Chinese embassy wanted to speak about the case yesterday.

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