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纽约时报:一场有人难以看下去的中国文化演出(中英对照)

发布日期:2008年02月13日   文章来源:山东新闻网   作者:
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  美国中文网报道:《纽约时报》星期三(02/06)在大纽约版头条位置发表了一篇题为《一场有人难以看下去的中国文化演出》的署名新闻特写,本网全文翻译如下,并附录英语原文“A Glimpse of Chinese Culture That Some Find Hard to Watch ”。

 

 

《纽约时报》文章原文配图

 

  【美国《纽约时报》2008年2月6日,作者:Eric Konigsberg】节目一开始贯穿着一些杂技和舞蹈演员,他们身着饰有宝石的丝绸,随着乐团的各种颂歌起伏,这就是上周开始在无线电城音乐厅上演的“新唐人全球华人新年晚会”。

 
  接着是一些歌唱表演,歌曲的歌词唱的是中文,但是在节目中被翻译成了英语,并开始提到“迫害”和“压迫”。每一次当声乐敲击到这些词时,一些观众就开始收拾东西,朝出口处走去。
 
  不久,是一幕芭蕾舞演出,三名女子被一群官员送入大牢,其中一人被杀害,在这一幕的结束时,有越来越多的观众,三四人一批以及大批人开始退场。在演出中场,数十人一群,也许有好几百人一群陆续离场。
 
  他们已意识到,这一节目不只是庆祝中国新年,而是在中国被禁止的法轮功的活动。三年来,法轮功的信徒涌进纽约各个角落和地铁站传播中国政府对其的镇压,但是只有这一次,它在纽约楼层最多的音乐厅无线电城,牵涉了化装的舞蹈人员和付费的观众。
 
  虽然经常在街头演出时采取直接的手法控诉被迫害和展示被害人的照片和录影,这场新年演出却采用了慢慢揭示的手法,直到演出进行一段后才提到法轮功。
 
  第一批离场者之一、儿童书作家Elizabeth Levy说:“这个演出让我感到不舒服”,“进场时,我不知道这是有关法轮功的。”
 
  在演出后又出现了《觉醒》一幕,这标志着在节目中首次明显地提到了这个运动。在这一幕中,共产党警察穿过公园向一对母女动粗,在她们的横幅上写着法轮功的“真善忍”。一大批人推搡和驱赶着这些遭到辱骂的警察,这对母女对唱,随后“富有诗意地领着众人练习法轮功”。
 
  包括出现在大都会North火车和纽约时报上的各类有关这场演出的广告均不提法轮功,这场演出的网站或者在曼哈顿人行道散发的小册子上也都未提及。这些小册子还印有看似来自纽约市市长迈克尔·布隆伯格背书的引语:“将古老中国丰富的传统在纽约复活。”可是市长的发言人John Gallagher说,布隆伯格市长从未看过演出,也未予以褒奖,这句引语也许取自布隆伯格先生给华人团体祝贺中国新年的贺词。
 
  一直持续到本周六的这场演出是由新唐人电视台制作的。新唐人电视是法轮功信徒在纽约设立的一个非营利的卫星电视台。该公司雇佣了两个艺术团,2008 年计划有大约200 场演出。它估计将有大约60 万人次观看这些演出(该公司表示,2007 年观众人数大约为20 万人次)。这个经常批评中国政府的电视台,因为这些演出节目,一直不断地跟北京恶语相加。在去年无线电城的演出(首次演出在2006 年)之前,该电视台抱怨说,中国一直向他们的赞助商施压,在其他一些进行演出的城市也有这种说法。
 
  中国大使馆在一项声明中批评该电视台千方百计“诱骗公众去观看这场演出” ,并说晚会纯粹是被法轮功组织利用的政治工具,目的是传播邪教和进行反华宣传。
 
  法轮功是一种气功,是一种古老的呼吸健身法,但是也纳入了精神元素和一些独特的信仰,包括信奉者相信在他们的肚子里有一个法轮,可以驱恶扬善。1999 年,其创办人李洪志告诉《时代周刊》杂志一名记者说:外星人通过现代科学的方式来腐蚀人类。自90 年代初创办起,这个运动以及李先生知名度不断增加,但1999 年中国政府将其定为“邪教”。
 
  有人权团体支持“中国政府虐待、囚禁或者杀害数千名法轮功信奉者”这样的说法。李先生移民至美国,据说他曾住在皇后区。
 
  曾撰写过一本有关法轮功书籍的内华达州大学瑞诺分校政治学荣誉退休教授张霞(Maria Hsia Chang,译音)说:“无线电城音乐厅演出是一种公关门面,旨在使得法轮功形象正常化,这样人们不会认为它是某种邪教。”但她又补充说:“至于他们为何在演出中加入这些元素又不事先告诉大家,我只能认为这样做对他们不太好。”
 
  新唐人电视的一名发言人以及同意接受采访的几名演出成员都说,他们并不认为将法轮功与这次演出的联系公诸于众是必要的。编舞和领舞者李维娜(Vina Lee)说:“要是我们提及法轮功,那么我们为何也不说这次演出有西藏舞蹈、蒙古舞蹈和韩国舞蹈呢?”“中国文化不止是龙和爆竹。”
 
  拥有无线电城和麦迪逊广场花园的MSG 娱乐公司在一项声明中说:“当接受预定场地时,MSG 娱乐公司不会基于政治、宗教、文化或种族的观点或信仰的不同而区别对待。”
 
  除了提及法轮功的困境之外,这一历时两小时的精心编排的演出是对中国传统的宣扬。除了舞蹈以外,演出还包括两名女高音、两名男高音和一名女低音的独唱,以及二胡独奏。巨大的显示屏幕上播放着各种中国景观的各种雄伟壮观的背景图像。
 
  但是在演出前和演出中场,从无线电城鱼贯而出的观众说,他们对这类素材感到不安。与家人一起来看演出、家住新泽西的中国移民Steven说:“来之前,我是一点都不知道它是法轮功,但已太晚了,这真的让我很不爽。”Steven是第一批离开的观众之一,他要求不要提到他的姓。“这有点太政治,太宗教了,尤其舞蹈里包括了一些女孩在监狱里受到虐待的内容,对于中国人过新年,特别是我们的小孩也在场,这太过分了。”
 
  这次活动的票价由58 至150 美元不等。一名从达拉斯来纽约旅游的中国移民也提前离场,她说就在演出之前,正好经过洛克菲勒中心,一名男子送给她一张免费票。这位拒绝提供姓名的妇女说:“我很不喜欢虐待的内容。”
 
  来自新泽西的一名父亲Cary Chiang说,他妻子过去就不喜欢法轮功的题材,对于他们的三个小孩而言,“他们更是一点也看不懂。”
 
  儿童书作家Levy小姐 说:“我特别不喜欢被法轮功在街上拉扯,我不喜欢碰到这种事。”
 
  在整个演出过程中一直愉快地坐着的电脑系统经理Charles Wyne 说,他很喜欢这个节目,他说:“虽然我对法轮功并不是很了解,但是我不喜欢XX党对待人民的方式。” 随后他又补充说,言论自由是他离开中国的理由之一。
 
  《每日新闻》日报是演出赞助商之一,该报负责宣传和社区事务的副总裁John Campi 说,该报以一个整版广告交换演出场刊封底版面,他说:“我曾听说他们与某个政治团体有联系,我告诉主办单位,如果有政治目的,我就不会参加,他们则说演出没有政治。”
 
  设在皇后区的华文媒体《世界日报》新闻编辑魏碧洲(Joe Wei)说,他在大约一年前曾看过这个团体的演出,未觉察到有任何法轮功的形象。“这一次将是一大转变,我不知道他们希望这样做的原因。”(完)
 
A Glimpse of Chinese Culture That Some Find Hard to Watch

 

By: Eric Konigsberg

Each of the first few numbers was more elaborate than the last, teeming with acrobatic dancers, awash in jewel-toned silks, swelling to the anthemic strains of the orchestra. It was the opening night of Chinese New Year Splendor, a music and dance production that began at Radio City Music Hall last week.

From left, Pearl Chen, Shiu Ying and Ernie Li set up an advertising banner in Midtown on Saturday for the Chinese New Year Splendor show at Radio City Music Hall.

Then the lyrics to some of the songs, sung in Chinese but translated into English in the program, began referring to "persecution" and "oppression." Each time, almost at the moment a vocalist hit these words, a few audience members collected their belongings and trudged up an aisle toward the exit.

Before long came a ballet piece in which three women were imprisoned by a group of officers, and one was killed. At the end of the number, more members of the audience, in twos and fours and larger groups, began to walk out. At intermission, dozens of people, perhaps a few hundred, were leaving.

They had realized that the show was not simply a celebration of the Chinese New Year, but an outreach of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice of calisthenics and meditation that is banned in China. More than three years after flooding city corners and subway stations to spread the word about the Chinese government's repression, Falun Gong practitioners are again trying to publicize their cause. Only this time, it involves costumed dancers and paying audiences in that most storied of New York concert halls, Radio City.

While the street theater, which often included live simulations of torture and videos and photographs of beaten victims, took a direct approach, the Chinese New Year Splendor show involves a slow reveal. It is not until the performance is under way that any reference is made to Falun Gong.

"I don't feel comfortable here," said Elizabeth Levy, an author of children's books who was among the first to leave. "I had no idea when I came that this was about Falun Gong."

"The Power of Awareness," a piece that occurred late in the event, marked one of the first overt mentions of the movement in the program. In that number, Communist police officers walking through a park rough up a mother and daughter whose banner carries the Falun Gong message of "truthfulness, compassion and tolerance."

The abusive officers are pushed back and chased away by a large group. The mother and daughter duo then "poetically leads the multitudes in learning the exercise of Falun Gong."

Advertisements for the show, which have appeared on Metro-North trains and in The New York Times, among other places, make no mention of Falun Gong. Nor do the show's Web site or the brochures being handed out on Manhattan sidewalks. The brochures include what appears to be an endorsement quotation from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg "Brings to life the rich traditions of ancient China right here in the Big Apple."

However, a spokesman for the mayor, John Gallagher, said that Mr. Bloomberg had neither seen the show nor praised it, and that the quotation may have been taken from a greeting card Mr. Bloomberg sent to Chinese-American organizations in which he saluted Chinese New Year celebrations in general.

The show, which runs through Saturday, is a production of New Tang Dynasty Television, a nonprofit satellite broadcaster started by Falun Gong followers and based in New York.

With roughly 200 performances planned for 2008 - the company employs two troupes - it estimates that about 600,000 people will see the shows (in 2007, the company said, the number was about 200,000).

The television network, which often broadcasts news critical of the Chinese government, has been sparring continuously with Beijing over the shows. Before last year's show at Radio City (the first was in 2006), the network complained that China was pressuring sponsors to withdraw their support, a claim echoed in other cities where the show has run.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy criticized the network for trying to "inveigle the public into watching the show," and said, "The truth is that the so-called 'galas' were nothing but a sheer political tool used by 'Falun Gong' organization to spread cult and anti-China propaganda."

Falun Gong is a form of qigong, an ancient practice of breathing exercises, but also incorporates a spiritual element and some unique beliefs, including one that followers have a spinning wheel in their bellies that pushes out evil and attracts good. In 1999, its founder, Li Hongzhi, told a Time magazine reporter that aliens from other planets were responsible for corrupting mankind by teaching modern science.

From its creation in the early 1990s, the movement, and Mr. Li, grew in popularity through the decade. The Chinese government branded it an "evil cult" in 1999, banning the practice and persecuting its members.

Human rights groups have supported claims that the Chinese government has tortured, imprisoned or killed thousands of Falun Gong followers. Mr. Li immigrated to the United States, and at one point was said to be living in Queens.

The Radio City event "is kind of a P.R. front to try to normalize Falun Gong's image, so that people don't think of it as some kind of a wacko cult," said Maria Hsia Chang, a professor of political science, emerita, at the University of Nevada, Reno, who wrote a book about Falun Gong.

But, she added, "I can only speculate as to why they'd put in these elements without declaring as much ahead of time, because it doesn't help their image much."

A New Tang network spokeswoman, and several members of the production troupe who agreed to be interviewed, said that they did not think publicizing Falun Gong's connection to the show was necessary. "If we advertise Falun Gong, then why don't we also say the show has Tibetan dancing and Mongolian dancing and Korean dancing?" said Vina Lee, a choreographer and a principal dancer. "Chinese culture is more than dragons and firecrackers."

MSG Entertainment, which owns Radio City as well as Madison Square Garden, said in a statement: "When booking a rental, MSG Entertainment does not discriminate on the basis of political, religious, cultural, or ethnic viewpoints or beliefs."

Aside from the references to Falun Gong's plight, the two-hour performance was an elaborately stitched homage to Chinese traditions. Complementing the dance routines were solos from two sopranos, two tenors, a contralto and a woman playing the erhu, sometimes known as a Chinese fiddle. A giant video screen put forth majestic background images of Chinese landscapes.

But audience members who filed out of Radio City before and during intermission said they were troubled by the material. "I had no idea it was Falun Gong until now that it's too late, and it really bums me out," said Steven, a Chinese immigrant living in New Jersey who, along with his family, was among the first to leave and asked that his last name not be published.

"It's a little too political, too religious, especially the dance showing some girls getting tortured in the prisons. That's too much for Chinese New Year, especially with our children."

Tickets cost $58 to $150, though one woman, a Chinese immigrant visiting from Dallas, said that as she was walking by Rockefeller Center just before showtime, a man offered her a free ticket. She also left the show early. "I didn't like the torture stuff so much," said the woman, who refused to give her name.

Cary Chiang, a father from New Jersey, said that his wife had objected to the Falun Gong material, but that as for their three children in tow, "It went right over their heads."

Ms. Levy, the children's book author, said, "I don't particularly like being accosted on the street by Falun Gong, and I don't like it happening to me here."

Charles Wyne, a computer systems manager who sat happily through the entire performance, said he enjoyed the program. "I don't know much about Falun Gong, but I don't like the way the Communists treated the people," he said, adding that freedom of speech was among his reasons for leaving China.

John Campi, vice president for promotion and community affairs at The Daily News, one of the listed sponsors, said the newspaper's sponsorship involved trading a one-page ad in the paper for a Daily News ad on the back cover of the program. "I had heard that they were connected with a political group, and I said if this show is political, I'm not getting into it," he said. "And they said it wasn't."

Joe Wei, national editor of the World Journal, a Chinese-American newspaper that is based in Queens and that takes no position on the practice and its teachings, said he saw one of the group's shows about one year ago and detected no Falun Gong imagery. "This would be a major change," he said. "I don't know why they want to do this."

(The New York Times, February 6, 2008)

(责任编辑:)

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