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China keeps Taiwanese choir out of United Nations building in Vienna

Nantou school choir takes part in World Peace Choral Festival

A Taiwanese choir has been barred from performing at a UN building in Vienna.

A Taiwanese choir has been barred from performing at a UN building in Vienna. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Bullying by China led to the cancellation of a performance by a Taiwanese high-school choir at a United Nations building in the Austrian capital Vienna, reports said Friday.

A choir from the Min Ho Junior High School in Nantou County was in Vienna to participate in the World Peace Choral Festival, and one of the items on its schedule was a performance scheduled for Friday at the city’s UN Center, the Central News Agency reported.

However, due to pressure from the Chinese embassy in Vienna, the Taiwanese choir’s appearance was canceled. The official reason was that only a maximum of 500 people were allowed inside to perform, but all parties concerned knew clearly that Chinese pressure was the real reason, CNA reported.

The choir is still performing at the opening and closing ceremonies for the World Peace Choral Festival, and at other events in the city.

For a while, officials thought of canceling the trip to Austria altogether, but in the end, they still decided to go ahead, as the choir still had other opportunities to sing apart from the UN location.

In the runup to the event, the students held private performances in Taiwan and sold CDs in order to fund the NT$4-million (US$122,500) price tag for the journey, according to CNA.

The past week has seen several examples of China’s bullying of Taiwan, most notably the sudden cancellation of Taichung City’s right to host next year’s East Asian Youth Games and the removal of Taiwan’s name from 44 airline websites.