Tyrants versus freaks

We all know that Voltaire said: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  I would add: “Mind you, when it’s a paranoid communist dictatorship grappling with a bunch of tedious and creepy mystical wackos, I tend to just sit back and watch the fun.”

On the face of it, what we have here is an outrageous infringement of Hong Kong’s supposed autonomy in immigration affairs.  The US-based Shen Yun Performing Arts company is cancelling seven ‘traditional Chinese dance and music’ shows here because the Big Lychee won’t give certain members visas.  According to the artistes, officials said that personnel with those particular members’ technical skills are already available in Hong Kong.  This would fool no-one; artistic groups bring their own lighting, sound and other crew all the time.

The troupe is linked with the anti-Communist Party, quasi-Buddhist, qigong-style cult, Falun Gong.  Although local FLG adherents are free to practice their weird breathing and other exercises, their overseas brethren are routinely turned away at Hong Kong’s borders.  This is, although no-one admits it, on the express orders of Beijing.  Led by the vaguely sinister Master Li Hongzhi in New York, FLG is the nearest thing China has to an opposition, having pulled such stunts in the past as hijacking mainland satellite TV broadcasts.  After the group suddenly revealed its organizational capacity in protests in the late 1990s, members were ruthlessly persecuted, and the movement now presents two faces: one of menace, to Beijing, and one of innocent victimhood to the rest of the world.

It claims millions of members in over 100 countries, and certainly has impressive resources, including newspapers like Epoch Times, a TV channel and websites in every language on such intriguing matters as Fa Rectification Cultivation (followers’ righteous thoughts) and Truth Clarification to Save Sentient Beings (press releases, basically).  Its members also mount various forms of street theatre and silent protest about FLG members’ treatment in China; in photogenic spots in Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and elsewhere (though Singapore bans them) they pester horrified mainland tourists by handing out gory leaflets showing practitioners’ mutilated corpses.  Chinese diplomats overseas maintain running battles with the movement, even assaulting them at gatherings – and urging foreigners to avoid the evil cult and its performing arts groups.

Shen Yun (formerly Divine) Performing Arts blends anti-CCP and pro-FLG propaganda into its works, and not very subtly, by some accounts.  It would have known all along that it would not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.  Although China promised Hong Kong autonomy in immigration affairs, only a naïf would imagine that Beijing would keep its word where FLG is concerned.  To the central people’s government, it is a national security matter; allowing Hong Kong to admit FLG is as thinkable as Washington DC letting Puerto Rico invite Osama Bin Laden to visit.  So the returning of cash to ticket-holders and laments about the shows’ cancellation are part of the script.

The FLG and CCP have more in common than either would think.  They are both prone to irrational, mouth-frothing diatribes. Both rely on the use of impenetrable code to avoid facts or admission of a lack of them.  Both claim a morally pure lineage and ideology but are run by people at the top who (I would wager) are stuffing their pockets at the expense of the little people.  One difference: the Hong Kong Immigration Department can’t turn the CCP away.

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6 Responses to Tyrants versus freaks

  1. Mike says:

    It the midst of the referendum/reform debate, is it any surprise that the higher ups have made the knee jerk reaction of barring potential “subversive” elements? They may just be funny Tai Chi wannabes to us, but obviously they are as dangerous as Al Qaeda to Donald and his masters.

    Seriously, there is brainwashing to consider… blind nationalism may not be enough if we let conflicting views into the picture.

  2. R Lloyd says:

    To be honest the less of these pseudo-religious wack jobs around the better. Freedom of speach is one thing but the lurid torture photos they post around hong kong are of themseleves horific and very disturbing cant we clear these wack jobs out of our public areas?

  3. Da Docta says:

    Voltaire say that! More rigour please…It was most famously wrongly ascribed to him by Evelyn Beatrice Hall (who wrote under the name Stephen G Tallentyre) and thus another urban myth arose:

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    Ch. 7 : Helvetius : The Contradiction, p. 199; because of quote marks around the original publication of these words, they are often attributed to Voltaire, though Hall was not actually quoting him but summarizing his attitude with the expression. The statement was widely popularized when misattributed to Voltaire as a “Quotable Quote” in Reader’s Digest (June 1934), but in response to the misattribution, Hall had been quoted in Saturday Review (11 May 1935), p. 13, as stating: I did not mean to imply that Voltaire used these words verbatim and should be surprised if they are found in any of his works. They are rather a paraphrase of Voltaire’s in the Essay on Tolerance — “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.”

  4. Sam says:

    I think Da Docta needs a scarf.

  5. Da Docta says:

    You are dead Falun Gong, mate.

    Falun Gong is Cockney rhyming slang for wrong…

    Maybe I need a Tung instead…

    Tung Chee Hwa = Bra…

    Straight up, Guv!


  6. smog says:

    That’s a spam comment too… Have you got the Spam filter turned on?

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