A traditional Chinese performing arts show scheduled for the National Theater of Korea in Seoul last weekend was abruptly canceled just a few days before opening. Organized by NTDTV, a broadcaster run by ethnic Chinese residents in the U.S., it was supposed to be a simple New Year’s gala celebration.......
On its homepage, NTDTV said the National Theater unilaterally canceled the performance under pressure from the Chinese embassy in Korea. At first the theater claimed that China had simply informed them that NTDTV was an enemy organization and that they were lodging a strong protest with Korea’s Foreign Ministry. The theater blamed the Korean Culture Ministry for requesting the cancellation. But later the theater backtracked, saying it had received no such request from the Culture Ministry. It has since been revealed that NTDTV is on a Beijing blacklist for airing reports on China’s human rights abuses.
This isn't the first time that pressure from Beijing has had an impact in Korea. Last June, the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, was invited here to attend a global religious leaders' conference and a summit of Nobel Laureates in the southwestern city of Gwangju. The Dalai Lama visited 13 different countries last year alone, traveling to Japan 13 times. But the Korean government rejected his visa application.
When Australia invited the Dalai Lama for a visit 1982, China threatened economic sanctions against that country. But Australia refused to give in -- and there is no evidence that China ever acted on those threats.
Any act of Chinese meddling in Korean internal affairs, such as telling us who can perform here or who should not be allowed, would not be possible if our government stood firmly by the principles of fair bilateral relations. The pride and joy of this administration is its stated independence from external influence. But why an independent government would volunteer to perform each and every one of China’s biddings is unfathomable. Jan.8,2007
How nice of Korea to follow Chinese warning!
NTD is scheduled to perform at Hyougo in March in Japan.