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洛杉矶时报:与法轮功的关系使新唐人新年晚会备受争议(中英对照)

发布日期:2008年01月09日   文章来源:凯风网   作者:Diane Haithman 李芬 张涤非(编译)
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  编者按 新唐人电视台举办的所谓“全球华人新年晚会”一直以来颇受争议,海内外人士尤其是广大海外华人对法轮功“文化搭台,邪教唱戏”的强烈政治色彩多次质疑。《洛杉矶时报》1月7日报道直言不讳地说,“法轮功现在的所作所为是在给中国,甚至全体华人抹黑。”

 

  【美国《洛杉矶时报》2008年1月7日,作者:Diane Haithman】在中国农历新年到来之际,新唐人电视台不惜奢靡,将于1月18日起在诺基亚剧场举行耗费数百万美元的“奇观”晚会。晚会的促销传单上称晚会是对“非凡中华艺术复兴”的庆祝。装帧华美的传单正中,是穿着中国传统服装的舞蹈演员,置身于旋转的彩带中。传单“引述”评论说整台晚会“精彩”、“美丽”和“震撼”。

 
  宣传广告上没有提到的是,新唐人电视台属于纽约市一个由一群法轮功成员经营的非营利性的卫星广播公司。由于这台中国农历新年晚会与法轮功组织千丝万缕的关系,致使这个节目可能在巡演中的每一站都会遭受非议。
 
  1992年起在中国公众中传播的法轮功或法轮大法,是一种身体和精神的练习方法,一直被中共政府明令禁止。中国农历新年晚会国际巡演迄今为止已经五个年头,这是第三次在洛杉矶举办。中国政府谴责这个晚会,并向各公司施压,以期撤消对晚会支持。
 
  来自中国政府的压力已在南加州抬头:12月17日,中国总领事馆在信中要求奥兰治县不承认在洛杉矶和其他地方举行的中国农历新年晚会表演。这台表演原计划于1月中旬在加利福尼亚Escondido艺术中心举行。今年早些时候,当地一位州议员在办公室收到一封信,信上力劝其联合抵制这个纽约晚会。
 
  中国农历新年晚会的代表没有透露节目的成本,包括电脑特效和烟花表演,仅仅提到约花费数百万美元。“一切都是精心准备的”,晚会发言人詹姆斯·怀特(James White)自称:“这是一个国家级表演。”
 
  节目制片人之一,西蒙娜·高(Simone Gao)说,晚会的核心是规模宏大的中国古典舞蹈,多达60个舞者,伴以现场管弦乐队演奏,之后是特色乐器表演,其中包括一种弦乐——中国二胡独奏。
 
  晚会还包括叙述中国传说或历史人物和事件的“小型舞蹈剧”。部分剧目描写法轮功成员在中国遭受迫害。高说,其中一幕中,“警察闯进来,拖起练习者并殴打他们。练习者中包括小女孩。这是真实的,许多类似的故事现在正在中国发生。随后,公园里的人们开始站起来阻止警察,最终警方撤退。”
 
  “然而,”高补充说,她不觉得这些内容在一台关于中国历史和文化的晚会中有什么不妥。“演出者并没有灌输什么东西给你,使你皈依法轮功。根本不是那样的。”她说。“法轮功的内容是非常好的,与中国传统文化一致。它是中国价值观和传统的一部分。”
 
  战术质疑
 
  实际上,法轮功早已在美国华人主流社区中引发不满,一方面是有些人认为法轮功是边缘性组织或邪教;另一方面是由于法轮功不断地当着人们的面传播其训示。那些法轮功练习者经常聚集在公共场所,悬挂标语横幅,或走上街头散发印刷品,有时还包括身体被虐待的图片及解说。法轮功练习者通过这些方式声称他们在中国遭受迫害及人权受到侵犯。
 
  邝治中(Peter Kwong)认为:“我觉得法轮功所采用的有些方法并不受欢迎。”邝目前任纽约市立大学的研究生中心社会学教授,同时在亨特学院进行亚裔美国人研究。“他们过于积极地推动他们的进程,以致于有些人认为这是在给中国,甚至全体华人抹黑。”
 
  邝补充说,法轮功素以隐瞒其诸多政治事件和机构而著称。“在街头,有他们简直囊括各种语言的免费报纸;同时,他们正试图让自己所涉足的事务成为主流社会的一部分。新年晚会是他们已经采取的行动之一。”
 
  有些人认为主宰法轮功新年晚会的是政治,而不是文化。其他人也称虽然法轮功学员号称自己是一个宗教团体,但他传递的主要信息已经表明他们是一个政治团体。
 
  “华人社区大多数人认为新年晚会与政治有太多的联系”,洛杉矶中华会馆主席张自豪(Michael Cheung)说,“我去年在柯达剧院观看了演出。一些节目影射了政治和人权,这并非艺术。”
 
  关于春节晚会的新闻材料送到《洛杉矶时报》,材料清楚地表明,尽管没有具体提到新唐人电视台与法轮功的关系,但晚会与该电视台有关。
 
  但从一个新闻代表提供的关于演出主持人,今年29岁以色列出生的林理善(Leeshai Lemish)的采访得知,2001年,来自12个国家的36人参与了首次外国人在北京的所谓抗议虐待法轮功学员活动。林理善讲述了他作为其中之一是如何遭受“殴打,拘留和驱逐”的一些细节。
 
  毫无新意
 
  至于为何法轮功向市民分发宣传单时,没有提到这点,晚会代表对此辩称没有必要。虽然节目有涉及法轮功,但法轮功不是这台晚会的资助者,经费是由新唐人电视台和一些私人投资的。
 
  “法轮功是一种社会实践活动,并不拥有任何公司或组织。”高说。对于为何感觉二者有关联,她说,是因为“新唐人电视台以报道在中国发生的迫害活动、政治腐败、检举严重侵犯人权,包括法轮功受迫害的真实故事而著称。”
 
  张自豪认为虽然他不相信该晚会的导演正积极使观众们皈依法轮功,但“他们试图在节目中传达讯息。”然而,美国华人社会认识到新唐人电视台与法轮功学员之间的关系,所以知道法轮功在期待些什么。“当我们观看晚会时,对于法轮功试图传递的训示并不感到惊讶。因为我们知道法轮功是些什么人,所以据我们所知,大部分观众并不因他们所看到的而感到意外。”(完)
 
diane.haithman@latimes.com

  原文来源http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-chinese7jan07,0,2804410.story?coll=la-headlines-calendar

Los Angeles Times: Ties to Falun Gong add controversy to the Chinese New Year Spectacular

By: Diane Haithman

PROMOTIONAL fliers for NTDTV's Chinese New Year Spectacular -- a lavish multimillion-dollar production opening Jan. 18 at the Nokia Theatre -- describe the show as a celebration of "The Renaissance of Divine Chinese Arts." Featured on the colorful handout are dancers in traditional costumes, whirling ribbons and review quotes that deem the show "fabulous," "beautiful" and "astonishing."

What the fliers don't say is that NTDTV -- New Tang Dynasty Television -- is a New York City-based, nonprofit satellite broadcaster operated by a staff that includes members of a relatively new spiritual sect called Falun Gong. The production has met with controversy at virtually every stop of its tour because of the perceived connection between the Chinese New Year Spectacular and the religious group.

Falun Gong or Falun Dafa -- system of mind and body cultivation that was introduced to the public in China in 1992 -- has been banned by China's communist government. The Chinese government has denounced the international touring production of the Chinese New Year Spectacular -- now in its fifth year and visiting Los Angeles for the third time -- and has pressured companies to cancel their support.

Pressure from the Chinese government has reared its head in Southern California: In a Dec. 17 letter, China's consulate general asked Orange County not to recognize the Chinese New Year Spectacular performances in Los Angeles and others scheduled for mid-January at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Earlier this year, a letter urging a boycott of a New York show arrived at the office of a state assemblyman there.

Representatives for the Chinese New Year Spectacular would not reveal the cost of the show, which contains computerized visual elements and live fireworks, except to say it is in the multimillions. "Everything is very elaborately prepared," says spokesman James White. "It is a state-of-the-art show."

At the core of the spectacle, according to Simone Gao, one of the show's producers, are large-scale classical Chinese dances with as many as 60 dancers backed by a live orchestra. The production features instrumental performances, including a soloist playing the erhu, a stringed Chinese instrument.

The show also includes "mini-dance-dramas," with narratives about Chinese legends or historical characters and events. Some of these dramas depict the persecution of Falun Gong members in China. In one piece, Gao says, "Policemen come in and drag the practitioners off and beat them, including little girls, which is very true -- many similar stories are happening in China right now. Later on, the people in the park start to stand up and block the police, and eventually the police retreat."

Gao adds, however, that she does not see the content as out of place in a show about Chinese history and culture. "It is not something that the producers squeeze in to get you to convert to Falun Gong; it's not like that at all," she says. "The Falun Gong content is very well in line with the traditional Chinese culture; it is part of Chinese values and traditions."

Tactics questioned

Falun Gong members have raised hackles in the mainstream Chinese-American community -- in part because some consider Falun Gong a fringe group or cult religion and in part because of the group's in-your-face approach to spreading its message.

Those who practice Falun Gong frequently congregate in public places, display banners or take to the streets to distribute printed materials that detail ways in which Falun Gong practitioners say they have been persecuted or subjected to human rights violations in China,sometimes including graphic images of physical abuse.

"I think some of the tactics used by the Falun Gong are not very welcome," says Peter Kwong, a sociology professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and professor of Asian American Studies at Hunter College. "They are very aggressively pushing their agenda to the extent that some people think it is giving China -- and the Chinese in general -- a bad name."

The Falun Gong, Kwong adds, has a reputation for being less than open about its connection to events or institutions. "They have their free newspapers on the street corners, in every language possible; at the same time, they are trying to get themselves involved in issues that project them as part of the mainstream," he says. "This show is one of those moves they have taken."

Others say that though Falun Gong practitioners call themselves a religious group, their main message has been political -- and some believe that politics, not culture, dominates in the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

"Most of the Chinese community think it's linked too much with political events," says Michael Cheung, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Assn., based in downtown Los Angeles. "I saw the show last year at the Kodak Theatre. Some of the content reflects politics and human rights; it is not exactly art."

Press material sent to The Times about the Chinese New Year Spectacular makes clear its connection to New Tang Dynasty Television -- although no specific mention is made of the broadcaster's relationship to the Falun Gong.

But one letter from a press representative offers as an interview subject the show's emcee, 29-year-old Israeli-born Leeshai Lemish, detailing the story of how Lemish was "beaten in detention and deported" for joining 35 other people from 12 countries in 2001 in "the first international protest" of the abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners.

No surprises

As to why the Falun Gong is not mentioned in fliers being circulated to the public, representatives for the Chinese New Year Spectacular say that such mention is not necessary. Although some involved in the show practice Falun Gong, they say, the religious group is not a fi- nancial backer of the show, which is funded by New Tang Dynasty Television and private investors.

"Falun Gong is a social practice, it doesn't own any corporations or organizations," Gao says. The perceived connection, she says, is because "NTDTV is known for reporting true stories of persecution in China, of political corruption, and reports heavily on human rights abuses, including the persecution of Falun Gong."

Cheung of the Chinese Benevolent Assn. says that while he does not believe the show's producers actively seek converts to Falun Gong, "they try to send a message." He adds, however, that the Chinese American community is aware of New Tang Dynasty Television's ties to Falun Gong so it knows what to expect.

"We are not surprised, when we see this show, that they are trying to send a message," Cheung says. "We understand because we know who they are, and most people are not surprised by what they see."

diane.haithman@latimes.com

(Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2008)

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