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Utopia Talk / Politics / UK OUR BITCH
CHINA RULZ USA SUCKS
| Sat Apr 07 08:51:55|
OWNE DONWD OWND ODNW OWNED!
Royal Court dropped Tibet play after advice from British Council
UK’s cultural diplomacy arm said the play would affect work in China, previously unseen correspondence shows
The Royal Court theatre pulled a play about Tibet after the British Council privately advised that it would coincide with “significant political meetings” in China and could jeopardise the theatre’s ability to work there.
The West End venue – which had been criticised by the play’s award-winning Indian author, who claimed the play had been shelved – said in February it had had to postpone and then withdraw the production for “financial reasons” in 2017 and that it was now committed to producing the play in spring next year.
Correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act now reveals details of discussions about the play, Pah-La, between the theatre and the British Council, the UK government’s cultural diplomacy arm.
The play’s scheduled West End run, from October to November last year, would have had an impact on a joint arts programme being run in China as well as coinciding with “significant political meetings” in China, the theatre was told by a high-ranking British Council official serving as a first secretary in the UK’s embassy in Beijing.
Pah-La deals with life in contemporary Tibet, drawing on personal stories of Tibetans with whom the playwright, Abhishek Majumdar, worked in India, which is home to a substantial community of Tibetan exiles including the Dalai Lama.
Tibet has long been governed as an autonomous region of China – which sent in troops in 1950 to enforce a territorial claim and has staged a large-scale relocation of Han Chinese civilians into the region – but the allegiances of many in the largely Buddhist territory lie with their exiled spiritual leader.
The Royal Court sent the British Council official, Nick Marchand, a draft of the play and sought advice on how it could affect a project that it and the British Council had been running with 16 writers in China.
“All we can do is give you a feel for the sensitivities and potential consequences,” wrote Marchand, the British Council’s “director arts, China and North East Asia. “It is considered advice, based on recent similar situations. It has to be up to the Royal Court to decide where the balance of artistic interests lie.
“Frankly, we do feel that Pah-La will likely jeopardise the Royal Court’s ability to do further work in/with China for some time. By extension, we suspect it would be the end of the writing project.”
Marchand mentioned there had been “a slightly similar situation” with the presentation of something else where they had “to pull the work with a week to go” – although details of this are among parts of the correspondence that have been heavily redacted.
The British Council told the Guardian it had made the redactions because disclosure could affect the likeliness of the Chinese government to engage with activities organised by the body.
The correspondence sheds light on the tightrope that UK arts have to walk in terms of ongoing outreach work with artists in states such as China where democracy is limited but which are being wooed by the British government as it attempts to strike post-Brexit trade deals.
Vicky Featherstone, the Royal Court’s artistic director, told the Guardian it was vital that vulnerable artists did not become “collateral damage” in what she described as “the intersection between foreign and economic diplomacy and culture”.
“It is evident to us, in a post-Brexit era where cultural diplomacy is being used as a bridge to trade, that we must protect potentially silenced voices more than ever,” she said.
“The writer is at the heart of everything the Royal Court does. Internationally we have been navigating the complex, fragile and varied circumstances within which our writers work in countries like Cuba, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Syria, South Africa, India, China and Russia for more than 20 years.”
Majumdar had criticised the theatre’s decision to put the play on ice, saying the matter “encapsulates many deep questions of censorship and internationalism”. He later praised an apology issued by the theatre and its announcement that the play would be produced in spring 2019.
The freedom of expression group English PEN said last month that the controversy revealed how China sowed anxiety among artists and arts organisations. It described it as “a chill on artistic freedom”.
The affair has echoes of previous controversies. The British Council was accused in 2012 of excluding Chinese dissident and independent voices from the London Book Fair when it was focused on the Chinese market. In 2010 it cancelled a performance of a ballet created for the Shanghai Expo because it was dedicated to the people of Tibet.
| Sat Apr 07 09:35:29|
fuck these hippies. britain genocided hundreds of thousands of tibetans so they got some fuckin nerves pointin fingers at china.
britain is a racist colonialist
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