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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Swatch caved in to China: NTDTV

Join us in our letter campaign to NTDTV's sponsor, Swatch, explaining the facts about Communist China’s intention to block the NTDTV Spectacular world-tour by slandering them (NTDTV). See a letter below and contact information for the Swatch Group.

U.S. stage show says China meddling with sponsors by Tom Hals

NEW YORK (Reuters) - China's government is pressuring companies to cancel their sponsorship of a Chinese New Year stage production on global tour because its U.S. promoter follows the Falun Gong spiritual group, the promoter said Monday.

Companies sponsoring the U.S.-produced show have been urged to pull out because the promoter, Samuel Zhou, practices Falun Gong, which is banned in China, according to a letter sent to the show's sponsors by China's Los Angeles consulate. The show combines dancing, music and singing. In one scene a young female practitioner of Falun Gong is murdered by a Chinese official and revenge is taken on the killer.

"They're pressuring our sponsors" to drop their financial support, said Zhou. The "Chinese New Year Spectacular" will be staged next month at New York's Radio City Music Hall as part of an ongoing global tour.

The letter was released to the media by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), a New York-based cable broadcaster that is promoting the tour to 29 cities around the world. The tour has already visited many of the cities.

"It is our sincere hope that your business retreat from any support for or involvement with 'Falun Gong' or 'NTDTV' now and in the future for your own interest," the letter said.

The Chinese consulate did not comment on the letter, but said in a statement that the show was "a sheer political tool used by the 'Falun Gong' organization to expand its influence and spread cult and anti-China propaganda."

Zhou, who is also senior vice president of programming with the television station, said watchmaker Swatch canceled its sponsorship for the event.

"We stand by the content," said Zhou, who added the loss of a sponsorship would not threaten the Radio City show.

China banned Falun Gong in 1999 for what it considers illegal activities. Zhou said he follows Falun Gong practices, which combine exercise and meditation, as do many of the staff at the station.

He said Falun Gong does not pose a threat to China and equated Beijing's ban to "the United States banning jogging."

The Chinese-language broadcaster has blamed China for meddling in its shows before. Two Australian Ballet dancers quit an event promoted by the station and a Chinese consular official told an Australian newspaper it advised the dancers not to perform.

Take action now - write to the Swatch Group. Thanks!

Dear Swatch Group:

Just the other day, I received a disturbing email from a friend visiting in the States about the NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular coming up in New York from February 14-17. I had seen the show in Canada and thought it was simply amazing. My friend was pointing at possible interference from the Communist regime to try and block this cultural event. She went on to say how Swatch had pulled out as one of the sponsors. I admit it’s shocking but not surprising as I recalled seeing in the news, how the producer of the show, NTDTV, had their show cancelled in Korea due to pressure from the Communist party. The question is: could this be happening here in America?

As far as I know NTDTV has a fine reputation. It describes itself as an international, independent and non-profit Chinese language television station. The station employs over 60 reporters in more than 50 cities around the world and is currently available in North America, Australia, Asia and Europe, reaching over 200 million viewers worldwide. NTDTV has been banned from broadcasting in China by Beijing because it carries news from the free world. But China also forbids, CNN, BBC, etc from broadcasting on their airwaves as well. NTDTV claims to be the first TV station to have broadcasted about SARS and is concerned about bridging the gap between the East and the West.

Their Spectacular has sold out everywhere it went so far with raving reviews. What a reality check it is though, to think that the Communist regime is capable to not only convince the world that it is glorious and that its crimes against humanity should be forgotten, but it is able through calculated tactics of convincing well established firms, such as Swatch, that NTDTV is political. The fact that some of the atrocities committed by the Chinese regime were re-enacted in the show is nothing unusual; interpretative dance is a feature of all great symphonies, operas and ballets.

At this point, I find it sad that Swatch caved in to the Communist regime. This is certainly not the kind of company I would choose to deal with in the future. Needless to say that this kind of action is undoubtedly damaging to its reputation. However, it is not too late for Swatch to remedy the situation and stick to sound business ethics. BTW Swatch has it wrong--it's not NTDTV that is backed by a political group, but the Communist Party. Either way, the show must go on!

Swatch Group contact information:

"Swatch Group Info"

"Swatch Group Press"

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