This is a transcript from AM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 08:00 on ABC Local Radio.
PETER CAVE: A dancer from Australia’s prestigious Sydney Dance Company has been deported from China.
The company is rehearsing in Shanghai ahead of a collaborative performance with a Chinese troupe beginning later this month.
But it’s now one short, after an Australian dancer was hurriedly deported, apparently for his support of the outlawed Falun Gong movement.
China Correspondent, John Taylor, reports.
JOHN TAYLOR: There are limits on free expression in China, even for visiting Australian dancers.
Two days ago Sydney Dance Company dancer, Xue Jun Wang, was taking part in rehearsals with the Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble for a joint work to open in a few weeks time.
Now the 43-year-old China-born Australian is back home after being deported.
Chinese security officials detained him during rehearsals despite the intervention of Sydney Dance Company artistic director, Graeme Murphy.
XUE JUN WANG: And is standing in front of me, and told the Chinese police “you can’t take Xue from here, because he is my employee, I have to protect him, and he’s Australian citizen.”
JOHN TAYLOR: The Sydney Dance Company says it doesn’t know why Mr Xue was deported.
But Mr Xue is a practitioner of the spiritual movement, Falun Gong. It’s outlawed in China as an illegal, evil cult.
XUE JUN WANG: They ask me are you a Falun Gong practitioner? I said yes I practice, but they didn’t say it’s just because I’m a Falun Gong practitioner I’ve been kicked out.
JOHN TAYLOR: Mr Xue did say he told officials that he had two books on him critical of Chinese authorities, and he’d lent one to a friend.
XUE JUN WANG: And I want to give the people and let the people know, because there’s no freedom in China, I want the people to know what’s happened.
JOHN TAYLOR: A spokesman for the Australian Embassy says the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises travellers to China that Falun Gong activities are banned.
Participants can expect penalties including detention, arrest, imprisonment and deportation.
This weekend China’s Communist leadership meets in Beijing, and has already listed building a harmonious society as a strategic goal. That doesn’t mean a society whose members or visitors are free to speak, worship, or dance as they please.
This is John Taylor in Beijing, for AM.