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PKU cancels talk after free speech play

(Global Times)

08:57, December 05, 2011

Peking University (PKU) cancelled the post-performance discussion after a play based on a historic US First Amendment litigation debuted on its campus.

Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, produced by L.A. Theatre Works, California, US, dramatized the epoch-making moments in 1971 when the Washington Post flouted the Nixon administration and published materials from US government documents about the Vietnam War.

The play's Beijing premiere came to an anticlimactic end without the scheduled Q&A at the Peking University Hall on Friday, when the university suddenly called it off, according to the play's China tour manager, Alison Friedman.

"I hadn't been told [of the cancellation] until during the intermission," Friedman said. "Lu Ying, from PKU, said to me 'We have to cancel it. We are not doing it.'"

Lu, a staffer at Peking University Hall's public relations office, would not say why, she said.

During the second act, Friedman received a text message from Zhu Jing, a project manager of China Arts & Entertainment Group (CAEG), the Chinese company that secured government permission for the show in Beijing, telling her "The university wants the discussion cancelled to avoid any unforeseen consequences," according to Friedman.

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