Falun Gong practitioners have been banned from performing at the Perth Christmas Pageant on Saturday, December 4, due to a fear of the group highlighting “international political issues,” even though the group itself is non-political.
Billionaire Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media offered the Falun Dafa Association a spot in the parade in an email cited by WAtoday; however, ten days later, they revoked the invitation.
Seven West Media, denied that it intended to or made any attempt to remove Falun Gong from the parade, but did confirm that it told the Falun Dafa Association they could not show any identifying material during the pageant, The Australian reported.
Last month, Mark Hutchison, a Falun Gong practitioner, unexpectedly got an email from Seven West Media informing him that the group had been permitted to join the Perth Christmas Pageant.
However, he was later told that they would not be permitted to join the parade in another email.
According to organizers, Falun Gong practitioners were barred from participating in the Pageant because the spiritual organization was judged too political and could create an “airing of international political issues” at the event.
“The pageant is not a forum for those involved in such issues to be represented, and it gives rise to potential conflict and security issues for the event,” said an email sent to the organization on Monday, Nov. 29.
However, Hutchison claimed that the group’s performance included 40 drummers and dancers and a golden dragon. They are not political figures or practitioners who fled to Australia in fear of persecution and imprisonment by the Chinese government.
“I think most West Australian people would be concerned if they knew that a very peaceful and kind group of people could be squashed by a single phone call from the Chinese Consulate in Perth,” Hutchison said according to The Age.
“These people are there to embody the beauty of their practice and the calmness that emanates. When you strip them of their identity, and you do that at the command of the Chinese Communist Party, fundamentally the persecution has made it across Australian shores.” he went on to say.
Falun Gong is an ancient Buddhist meditation practice that promotes truth, compassion, and tolerance. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has banned and persecuted Falun Gong in China, imprisons and tortures many, and even harvests their organs for sale to those willing to pay.
Before 2018, they were frequent performers at one of Perth’s most popular events organized by Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media and attract over 200,000 people each year.
However, in 2018 Falun Gong practitioners were informed that they could not participate in the parade on the eve of the event, which they claim was due to influence from the Chinese Consulate in Perth on Seven West Media organizers.
After being turned upside down for eleven hours, the group was finally permitted to perform. However, they were not allowed to wear anything that would recognize them as Falun Gong, especially their motto of “truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance,” written on their drums.
The Chinese Communist Party has also exerted its influence over other Australian events.
After ten months, organizers of a prominent Brisbane market have relocated a Hong Kong craft stall off the main road due to space limitations. The owners, however, said that they were forced out due to pressure from pro-Beijing individuals.
The WA State Theater Center apologized to the Chinese government in February 2020 after a Taiwanese dance troupe rented out their venue and displayed a banner that “did not align with the Commonwealth’s one-China policy.”
The Seven Network’s Perth managing director, Mario D’Orazio, said he had not received any request from the Chinese regime to remove Falun Gong from the parade, The Australian reported.