An open Letter to the Premier - Objection to the performance of the Red Detachment of Women Ballet in Melbourne

Australian Values Alliance (AVA)  05/02/2017

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced last year that he had invited the Chinese Opera Ballet to perform The Red Detachment of Women in Melbourne in February 2017. The Australian Values Alliance (AVA) strongly objects this decision which we consider as grossly inappropriate with regards to the Australian values and is offensive to our community. At worst it has become a channel for the Chinese political propaganda spreading in Australia.

The background of the Red ballet is based on a novel that depicts the story of a peasant woman Wu Qinghua, who, after joining the Red Army in Hainan Island, proceeded to carrying out a revenge on her landlord Nan Batian, as well as robbing and brutally killing a number of countryside gentry. The main theme is to celebrate and glorify the formation of the Chinese Red Army which was a terrorist organisation in China in the 1930s and is the origin of the Chinese Liberation Army nowadays.

History can tell that the Red Army committed numerous crimes and acted against humanity (Attachment 1). More importantly, the Red Army promoted class hatred, brutal killings and terrorist acts; it was the ISIS, the Nazi SS or the Khmer Rouge in China during that time. Allowing the “Red” Ballet to perform in the Melbourne’s most prestige theatre is equivalent to allowing terrorist groups to showcase their work or the Nazi Germany to celebrate their achievements on our land.

Contrary to the promotional materials that the ballet celebrates heroine and promotes women freedom, the fact is, during that time, many young women in the Communist army were forced to marry much older senior officers. Famous examples included: 17 years old Kang Keqing married to 43 years old Red ArmyCommander-in-Chief Zhu De, 24 years old Jiang Qing married to 45 years old party-leader Mao Zedong and 25 years old Xue Ming married to 46 years old senior Red Army commander He Long. Young women were even forced to become ‘temporary wives’ of foreigners in the Red Army and all marriages and divorces had to be arranged or approved by the ‘Party’.

The theme and choreography of the Red ballet incite violence, agitate revenge, and advocate autocracy and praise brutal killing as laudable acts. Hidden in the format of ballet, the Chinese Communist regime engages in political propaganda and inserts its ‘soft power’ in the world stage.

In artistic format and in the name of cultural exchange, the Red ballet sponsored by the Chinese Communist state is imposing its ideology on our community by luring our citizens into accepting the Chinese Communists’ “values” and infiltration into our other parts of lives.

Based on our own experience, the AVA is very concerned that the Chinese media in Australia has been directly or indirectly infiltrated by the Chinese Communist state and had exercised self-censorship by filtering out media information not in favour of the Chinese authority. Our education system has gradually accepted and normalised funding from the Chinese government for the rapid growth of ‘Confucian’ classrooms and institutes in our tertiary, secondary and primary school systems.

Needless to say, many Australian Chinese are disgusted by the Chinese propaganda in the form of culture and arts, as the Red Ballet reminds them of the suffering during successive political campaigns and persecution, such as, the Suppression of  Counter-revolutionaries, the Land Reform, The Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Massacres and so on. Many have families or friends imprisoned or killed from the 1950s to 1980s. While they can settle in Australia as citizens, the Red Ballet is like a ghost haunting them in our home and misguiding our fellow citizens to form an impression that what the Red Ballet depicts is normal and worth glorifying.

We urge that the Victorian government to reflect and learn from this experience and exercise with caution of the exploitation of the Chinese propaganda that preys on our open, easy-going and tolerant multicultural society. We also urge the Victorian government to be sensitive to the feeling of a sector of the Chinese Australians who find this Red Ballet distasteful as it reminds them of their past suffering.

It also makes sense in our open society that we do not welcome extreme thinking such as revenge, murder, class hatred that the Red Ballet promotes. We have to reject the Red ballet which is very harmful to Chinese Australians and the Australian society in general.

Should we need to provide more information or comment on the Red Ballet or our concern in general on the infiltration of the Chinese political propaganda into our community and its consequences, please contact the AVA on: email  or phone 0414 816 751.


John Hugh  (0414 816 751)
Australian Values Alliance (AVA, previous known as Embracing Australian Values Alliance)


Like a Bright Colourful Rattlesnake, Like a Brilliant Poppy Flower
Further commentary on the ballet The Red Detachment of Women               by Sun Baoqiang

As the ballet “The Red Detachment of Women” is scheduled to be performed in the Melbourne’s Asia TOPA on 15 February, advertisement of this program had been widely known half a year ago.

Claire Spencer, CEO of the Arts Centre Melbourne said that "We are excited to be presenting this flagship production as one of our highlight programs for the inaugural Asia TOPA."
The ballet depicted the story of a peasant woman Wu Qinghua, who, after joining the Red Army, proceeded to carrying out a revenge on landlord Nan Batian, as well as robbing and brutally killing other countryside gentry. So, exactly what kind of organisation was the Red Army?

Inline images 1

1.       Merciless killers who targeted the rich in order to possess their lands
Here are a few famous slogans of the Red Army chanted during their recruitment:  “Do you want to have food? Do you want to farm your land without paying rent? Do you want to sleep with the landlords’ concubines? If so, don’t hesitate to join the Red Army!”

When He Long, the famous Red Army’s general attended the Party’s 7thNational Representative Meeting, his resume noted that: “By the end of 1917, we have expanded our force from just two “kitchen knives” to become an army of over one hundred people...”

According to the China Examiner, since the Red Army began their violent movement in autumn, 1927, it had rigorously followed the tactic of ‘target and kill the rich’ in order to feed and pay its army. Each time when they came to a new place, they would kill all the landlords there, followed by capturing all their riches for themselves.

After the Red Army captured the Chang Sha City, officials from the National Party government noted: “.... they burned the entire city for twenty-eight days; they looted properties and killed people regardless. Even worse they used extremely cruel and malicious methods of killing - some victims were flayed alive, while others were burnt to death. Those who were chopped to death by broadsword were considered as lucky... By the end of this torturous period, over five thousand people were murdered; all streets and rivers were filled with dead bodies.”

2.     Kidnapping, murder and utter inhumanity
On 6th of December 1934, Fang Zhimin, a subordinate of the Red Army, kidnapped American Christian missionaries John and Betty Stam and demanded a ransom of $20,000. Though under immense pressure, the missionary couple refused to cooperate. Enraged by their refusal, the Red Army marched the couple to the execution field and beheaded them. They also intended to kill Stams’ 2 months old baby, Helen, who was fortunately saved by a third party and remained alive.

After Fang Zhimin joined the Red Army, he became so addicted to killing that he even killed his own uncle who gave relief and saved his entire family. In 1925, Fang Zhimin ignored the pleading of his kneeling parents and personally beheaded his own uncle.

3.     Poppy cultivation and opium production
On 5th of September 1944 in the Ansai Province, Red Army Zhang Side was killed due to a sudden collapse of cave where he was processing opium production. Mao Zedong praised that his death was “weightier than Mount Tai”.

Around that time, Peter Vladimirov, the Soviet author of The Vladimirov Diaries, was stationed in Yan’an; headquarter of the Chinese Community Party as a liaison officer for the Communist International. In his Diarieshe wrote: “... there is illegal opium trading everywhere. For example, in Chaling which was the home front far away from the battle field, and where the Army Division 120 located, there was a house dedicated especially for the processing of opium products, and from which the opium was delivered to the market. The Politburo had also appointed Ren Bishi as the Commissioner for Opium.”

During the war between the democratic Allied Forces and the autocratic Axis Powers, the Red Army hid in the home front and produced opium to poison the people, rather than fighting in the blood soaked frontlines, it was apparently shameful of the Red Army.

4.     Joining force with the enemy and betraying the Republic of China
In November 2016, Honorary Professor Homare Endo of Tsubaka University, Japan, published the book on “Mao Zedong, the Man who colluded with Japan”. Based on original sources from China, Taiwan and Japan, Prof. Endo presented historical findings showing that while the National Party was engaged in resisting the Japanese invasion, the Communist Party, led by its Red Army leader Mao, was working with the Japanese special unit, Iwai Koukan, stationed in Shanghai, to undermine the power of the National Party.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Kakuei Tanaka visited China on 27th of September 1972. When he apologised for Japan’s invasion of China during the World War II, the Red Army head Mao Zedong, said: “Thank you Japan for invading China... during the eight years of Sino-Japanese war, our army expanded to 1.2 million people.” The Red Army’s most critical moment in history was joining forces with an evil autocratic nation to fight against fellow countrymen. Such crime and evil was so blatant, and evident.

In summary, the Red Army resembled today’s extremist or ISIS like group as they implemented the autocratic Nazism and Fascism. The main theme of the ballet ‘The Red Detachment of Women’ embraces obsession of violence, worship of hatred, glorification of autocratic power, and justification of killing as laudable acts.

The choreography of puffing-out chests, stomping feet, glaring eyes, and clenched teeth; lifting legs to imitate machine guns and bombs, the entire ballet encourages killing, promotes vengeance, turns away from core Christian beliefs, and is contaminating  the universe values which are embraced by Australia.

I remember the time when many Chinese were lured by the “Red” ballet.  One by one, they became the cold blooded “post Boxers’ who dared to kill regardless. My mother was one of them who were captivated by the “Red” ballet. At the time, she reported to the authority about her brother who tried to escape to Hong Kong. In the end my uncle died tragically in the China’s Gulag Archipelago.

The “Red” ballet is like a bright colourful rattlesnake, slithering into the Garden of Eden; it is also like a brilliant poppy flower, swaying and blooming on the Melbourne’s theatre stage. Is this an expansion of the “Red Tide” to Australia or is this just an “Exchange of Art”? Is this really an honour for Australia to have this ballet in our land, or is this actually a shame for Australia to comply with the values this ballet intends to present?

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