Re-dedication of Torturer's Jail exhibit
As on more than thirty occasions in the previous six years, Citizens Against Communist Chinese Propaganda held a protest demonstration on the 18th of December. This event signalled the sixth anniversary of the opening of the Chinese government owned and operated propaganda theme park known as Florida Splendid China.
Despite the cold temperatures and rainy conditions, almost twenty brave souls stood together to demonstrate against the improper exhibition of non-Chinese exhibits in the failing theme park.
Repeating an old gesture, members of CACCP again set up a forgotten exhibit, that of the 'Torturers' Jail', to demonstrate the link between the dictatorship of the People's Republic of China and the unpopular Florida theme park.
Reports in the press about Chinese government intimidation of demonstrator's family members, their subsequent jailing and rumors of torture brings the issue close to home. We are greatly concerned about the health and well-being of Rebiya Kadeer, an aging mother of ten. Her husband, Sidick Rouzi was told about threats to her safety if he were to attend a conference / demonstration in Florida in May of 1999. In August of the same year, she was arrested on her way to have dinner with members of a US Congressional Research delegation in Urumchi.
A banner constructed by the University of Central Florida Students for a Free Tibet chapter reading 'Free Rebiya Kadeer' was prominently displayed throughout the demonstration and due to an incredible lack of security, we were able to take many pictures under the 'largest Chinese style gate in Florida' with the banner.
The demonstrators were completely ignored by park employees, at most of the previous demonstrations at least the little golf cart would come out and wave, but not this time. We did see 'Ambassador Al' drive out the gates in the FSC van with an astonshed look; we did not see any others.
A gentleman in a passing vehicle, who worked in the 'vacation planning center' housed in 'ChinaTown', mentioned that there was no tourist business there anymore. The only reason that people came in was to attend the 'vacation planning seminars' and head out for Disney and a Condominium tour. They further implied that the park was being used to launder Chinese government money. On the surface, this appears to be a wild accusation, but how can a business continue to sustain a loss of $25,000 a day ($9 million a year, quoted in the Far Eastern Economic Review, May 1999) and not close the doors ? The irregularities of business dealings with Florida Splendid China or it's parent company should be investigated more thoroughly, especially with the connections to Chinese Military owned companies that have been scrutinized by the Congressional Cox Committee report.
(Note: As reported a year ago, the areas which held the Video Game Parlour, movie auditorium, and the information booths have been turned into offices for Orlando Tourism and others selling Condominiums.)Demonstrators also noticed the general positive change in the upkeep and maintenance of the flowers beds at the main gate of Florida Splendid China and that the back of the exhibits have been mowed. The rose bed and the annuals have all been replaced by perennial shrubs; it seems that the high-maintenance gardening policies have changed after six years, posturing now for a long-term, low-cost maintenance budget.
After Meagan Gainer, of UCF-Students for a Free Tibet read the statement, the demonstration continued for one hour in the rain and when it began to pour, the demonstrators reluctantly returned to their cars. One unique final spectacle, hopefully caught on film, was the arrival of an enormous moving van.
Given all the controversy, were we the last witnesses to an open Florida Splendid China theme park? Will the next year dawn with the Chinese bases in Cuba and Panama good enough to keep an eye on America, so they can afford to drop the theme park front in Florida?
Joint Statement in Protest of Florida Splendid China's Sixth Anniversary
Gathered here on the sixth anniversary of Florida Splendid China we: