In yet another sign that Taiwan is the last remaining free society in the Chinese-speaking world, a Chinese dance competition has been forced to relocate to Taiwan after the last-minute cancellation of a contract by the managers of a venue in Hong Kong.

The preliminary round of the seventh New Tang Dynasty International Chinese Classical Dance Competition was set to begin at Macpherson Stadium, in Mong Kok District, on Aug. 1. However, as the Epoch Times reports, “rowdy” and “aggressive” members of Chinese Communist Party front groups had been protesting outside the venue since July 18. Some of the protesters are said to have used loudspeakers and megaphones to hurl abuse at the organizers and the Falun Gong spiritual group, which is closely associated with NTD and is outlawed in China proper. By July 25, eight front groups were reportedly protesting outside the venue.

In a statement, NTD wrote that “under a climate of coercion,” management at Macpherson Stadium decided to unilaterally cancel the contract, stating “safety issues.” According to the organizers of the competition, all tickets had been sold.

Despite requesting police intervention, the organizers of the dance competition complain that law-enforcement authorities turned a blind eye to the protests and allowed them to continue.

So the show will move to Taiwan. The Taipei City Youth Development Office will host the dance competition at a location in Zhongzheng District. No date has been given yet.

“The performance will likely be welcomed by audiences in Taiwan — long a protector of traditional Chinese culture, and more wary of mainland agitation,” Epoch Times wrote.

While some pro-Beijing groups based in Taiwan, such as Chang An-le’s (張安樂) China Unification Promotion Party (中華統一促進黨), could also attempt to disrupt the competition by protesting, Taipei police is unlikely to prove as permissive as has Hong Kong law enforcement.

The use of CCP-linked pressure groups to target the artistic community in Hong Kong and Taiwan is reminiscent of the recent online attacks by the Chinese Communist Youth League against Taiwanese actors whom they accuse of having a pro-Taiwan independence ideology, resulting in a film studio’s decision to remove Taiwanese actor Leon Dai (戴立忍) from a movie project.

Edited by: Olivia Yang