China asks Seattle Leaders to Skip Dance Troupe Performance

January 30, 2012

SEATTLE — The Chinese government has asked Seattle’s elected leaders to skip an upcoming performance by a New York-based Chinese-American dance troupe.

Last week, Seattle City Council members received a letter from the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, asking them not to attend Shen Yun Performing Arts’ upcoming performances, February 7 and 8 at McCaw Hall.

Shen Yun is a non-profit dance group that tours the world, reviving China’s 5,000 years of culture. In the show, dancers performs skits about the Chinese government’s persecution of religion and spirituality, specifically, a religious philosophy and practice known as Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa.

The letter urged the city to avoid promoting or attending the show, writing that Shen Yun is, “an evil cult that preaches heretical fallacies and exercises extreme mental manipulation on followers…and has for years engaged in anti-China activities in the United States.”

“I see beauty, I see elegance,” said Michael Green of the Falun Dafa Association. “I feel like it’s a clear picture of what ancient China was really about.”

Falun Dafa advocates say the show is not a cult and they’re appalled that the Chinese government would send such a letter.

“I find that unacceptable, I’m offended,” said Green. “At the very least, come see the performance, see what it’s about.”

A Seattle City Council spokesperson said council members do not plan to attend the show, and not because the Chinese government asked them not to.

Tickets range from $70 to $200

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