Shen Yun Performing Arts began taking shape in New York in 2006. At that time, a group of talented artists had the desire to revive the ancient Chinese culture, capture its essence, and present it to the world in a way it could be appreciated.
It was also a way of telling the world what is happening in modern-day China through the arts, as their program spans thousands of years of Chinese culture, right up to the present day—including the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), which is a peaceful mind-body practice that became hugely popular in the 1990s.
The CCP has resorted to desperate measures to try to conceal from the world the truth of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, and how countless numbers of these meditators are tortured, murdered, and subject to forced organ harvesting for their belief.
Shen Yun performances that touch upon this subject may be the reason why the CCP has continued to harass the company on its worldwide tours and incessantly attempt to influence politicians and many others to not see the performances.
What exactly is behind this constant agitation?
There are many avenues the CCP has used in its attempts to sabotage Shen Yun performances.
In their first year of touring the world, the CCP organized around 60 performing groups to compete with Shen Yun; however, once patrons were exposed to the purity and authenticity of Shen Yun, nothing else could compare, and Shen Yun’s reputation was quickly established as the best in the business.
The opposing shows would often be right across the street from the Shen Yun performance, but their quality just could not compete.
By their third year, the CCP began pressuring theaters in the United States, Europe, and Asia to cancel Shen Yun contracts, or not accept them.
In a case that took place earlier this year, the Chinese embassy was exposed by Danish radio station Radio24syv for influencing the Royal Danish Theater from hosting Shen Yun.
Bus tires have been slashed on Shen Yun tour buses, fuel tanks have been tampered with, performers have been harassed at airports, and the CCP’s misinformation campaign to tarnish Shen Yun’s reputation has even made its way into Western mainstream media at times. Moreover, politicians have received threatening letters advising them not to go see the shows, even theaters have come forth to say they’ve received calls from Chinese consulates to demand the shows be cancelled.
However, there are many politicians who have seen the shows, and sing their praises.
“I have been to the performance before with my family, and my children loved it,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). “It’s really magnificent, and there is no reason in the world why people in various countries should not be seeing this.”
Shen Yun tours to five continents, performing in around 150 venues, and its popularity is growing.
In February through to March, Shen Yun performed 34 shows in seven cities across Taiwan. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, along with 100 elected officials, warmly welcomed the Shen Yun performers to Taiwan. This was the twelfth time Shen Yun has performed in Taiwan. Taiwanese officials praise the performance, and applaud their mission to revive traditional Chinese culture.
In 2010, Shen Yun accepted an invitation to perform in Hong Kong, but when the Hong Kong government refused entry to six key production personnel by denying them visas, the company had to cancel their seven shows, which were sellouts.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, says the Hong Kong government should still be encouraged to invite Shen Yun back, although he is not sure the outcome will be a positive one.
“This is a cultural event that I think will be uplifting to the people of Hong Kong. Why would a government in Beijing be fearful of it?” Smith said, as reported by The Epoch Times. “It would be wonderful not only for those in Hong Kong, but also in Beijing, for this performance to be allowed.”
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