Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-shing rules out inquiry into Hong Kong Ballet 'censorship' row

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 6:14pm

The Secretary for Home Affairs has ruled out the possibility of a probe into the Hong Kong Ballet censorship row, saying the government would not intervene in local creativity.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-shing attended the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum on Thursday with culture ministries from 10 Southeast Asian countries to exchange ideas about promoting local culture and arts.

When asked if he would investigate allegations against Hong Kong Ballet of cutting a sequence depicting the dark side of communist history from its latest co-production for political reasons, he said, “We would not intervene in local creativity but tend to promote cultural development.”

Also attending the forum was China’s minister of Culture, Cai Wu, who said that he hadn’t had a chance to watch the Hong Kong production.

He failed to comment on whether the Cultural Revolution was too politically sensitive to feature in a creative performance but said, “Artists should be given a free hand to do their work.”

The premiere of The Dream of the Red Chamber, a joint production with Germany’s Ballett Dortmund, included a 12-minute projection sequence depicting different stages in China’s history. But one part, in which dancers in Red Guard uniforms waved copies of Mao Zedong’s “little red book”, was cut from subsequent performances.

The German newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten reported that several officials pressured the production team to cut the Cultural Revolution scenes. The newspaper did not make clear if the officials were from Hong Kong or the mainland. Beijing’s liaison office chief Zhang Xiaoming reportedly attended the premiere.

Hong Kong Ballet said the decision was taken for technical reasons, and later restored the sequence to the show.

 

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