Under Shen Yun’s Glaring Brilliance the Chinese Communist Party
is in an Awkward Position
by Yang Senhong
A lost civilization is revived! This was the thought that flashed across my mind the first time I saw the Shen Yun performance. Afterwards I read on Shen Yun’s website the exact same statement, I realized that there are still people making valiant efforts to prove that the ancient empire (but now morally depraved) had once been grand and virtuous. The name “Shen Yun” clearly conveys a natural instinct of valuing heaven and earth in awe and reverence. The belief that Gods exist communicates a kind of gratitude with a spiritual mindset. The dedication of spreading such virtues and of giving people a sense of warmth that is untarnished, precious and tranquil.
All these are nonexistent in the Chinese Communist Party, (CCP or the Party) its leaders are declared atheists who have already turned the Party into a living hell of evil spirits with a despicable personality that is insincere, devoid of goodness and without mercy.
Several thousand years of Chinese civilization with its simple but refined cultural heritage, in the course of less than a half-century, under the Party’s revolution—have all been reduced to a lifeless trunk and a pile of ashes. Today, the real “Cultural China” is what Du Fu describes in his poem: “the country lies in ruins although the mountains and rivers remain. When spring comes, vegetation still grows.” The vast land of China is already not the same old “Cultural China.” If Shen Yun did not exist and did not tour the world for several years, the global memory of the 21st century would not have any impression of a “Cultural China.” Since 1949, “Communist China” has brought nothing to the world—but disasters, gloom, threats, war, and barbarism.
Some say, to date, that Taiwan has preserved the “Chinese culture.” This saying is not completely accurate. What is accurate is that Taiwan has preserved many precious cultural heritages in the Taipei National Palace Museum. Because fortunately back then, some people with foresight took the trouble to relocate them to Taiwan, thus saving them from catastrophe.
Furthermore, it’s accurate to say that the basic belief in Chinese culture, has become part of people’s lives in Taiwan. More accurate information is that Taiwan, in the second half of the 19th century, had already experienced direct exposure to world history. For more than a century, the influence from the South Island Aboriginal culture, along with the influx of cultures from the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan, the culture of the Taiwanese people formed a melting pot that is clearly distinct from that of the original “Chinese culture.” Viewed from the perspective of cultural anthropology, strictly speaking, Taiwan is not part of China, but China is indeed a very important part for Taiwan.
However, in this instance, the “China” that we are referring to is the “China,” which the Communist Party has never interposed or participated in. Taiwan’s fate and the spread of Shen Yun have a very similar pattern of development and karmic relationship.
In the process of continuous oppression by the Communist regime, Taiwan has never surrendered its basic elements of “Chinese culture.” For example, regarding the written Chinese characters, the Taiwanese have preserved what is often called the “traditional” style of written Chinese characters. These scripts were handed down since ancient times and have not succumbed to the Communist regime’s simplified Chinese version, which has in many respects become alienated from ancient Chinese culture.
However, Taiwan is constantly in the process of innovating and internationalizing its freedom to continue its coexistence alongside world civilization with a Taiwanese-style civilization and culture. Many Chinese who visit Taiwan are fond of the place. They all think they are finally face to face with what the rumors say is the “ancient civilization” of “cultural China.” This is a severe misunderstanding. In fact, what they are exposed to is “Taiwan’s innovative civilization,” which contains “Chinese culture”.
Shen Yun’s development is similarly walking the path of “Taiwan’s innovative culture.” It can be said to be a “free China innovative culture.” Regardless of what kind of “culture” Shen Yun follows, as long as it remains outside of the borders of “Communist China,” it is possible to plant its root and grow. Shen Yun has been developed in the United States, with many performers who are American-born Chinese, with no option to return to China or even tour China for the time being. Moreover, Shen Yun is a kind of “Chinese culture” that soars by riding on the wings of Western aesthetics. Therefore, the art is perceived to be originally from creation, illustrating how people admire and revere God. Depiction of the bright side of humanity was added after the Renaissance. Such a development is also something that “Communist China” cannot imitate, no matter how hard it tries. The reason is that when there is no faith, there cannot be accomplishments in the arts.
There is a passage in Shen Yun’s website that is capable of conveying succinctly this wonderful combination of Eastern and Western civilizations: “From the goddesses in the Dunhuang Grottoes to the paintings in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, these immortal works not only display superb skills but also arouse respect and reverence because they demonstrate praises toward God. Today, Shen Yun’s artists, through practicing Falun Gong, are infusing and reflecting God’s divine essence in the works they produce.”
This should be the treasure trove of secrets of Shen Yun’s success. These secrets are impossible to be counterfeited by the CCP’s so-called “arts groups,” with their gaudy-style performances. Thus, this contemporary “Chinese Renaissance” is clearly distinct from the CCP. However, Shen Yun embraces and maintains the essence of its heritage. In recent years, the CCP has invested a vast budget establishing “Confucius Institutes” in foreign universities in an attempt to compete for cultural interpretation, but these “institutes” are eventually closed down when it comes to light, that the CCP is merely using cultural exchange in name. These so-called “classes” are engaging party agents for spying and infiltration activities in Western education. Even the name Confucius, our national icon, the most revered “wise teacher,” is being exploited as a special agent by the CCP. For a regime that represents the destruction of civilization and culture, it is of course impossible to gain the world’s respect.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra directs Western orchestral instruments, this part of the ensemble are the foundation, while the melodic components are formed by the erhu, pipa, flute and other traditional Chinese instruments. The musical outcome produced is both harmonious and moving. Not only are the Western symphony’s broad and brilliant momentum highlighted, but ethnic heritage and unique style of performing arts in Chinese civilization is resonated.
Chinese dance includes classical as well as ethnic and folk dances. The dance style of Shen Yun Performing Arts is mainly rooted in the basic skills training of Chinese classical dance. It also performs a certain number of ethnic and folk dances, each of which embodies the different mindset and aesthetic characteristics of vast ethnic groups in China. Chinese classical dance has a history of thousands of years. It encompasses the wisdom of every dynasty, forming the aesthetic consciousness passed down from generation to generation. Early Chinese classical dance was mainly performed in the Emperor’s palace, but it was also preserved and spread in ancient opera theaters. It consisted of very difficult movements, abundant skills and a myriad of expressions. Chinese ethnic and folk dances, handed down in many regions from over 50 minority groups, are a rich conglomeration of traditions with very distinct characteristic and style.
Shen Yun performances display superb dancing skills, a unique mix of Chinese and Western composition, stunning costumes, and dynamic animated backdrop designs. They also underscore the traditional concept that includes the bond between the divine and humanity—honor of the divine, acceptance of one’s own destiny, the retribution of good and evil, the practice of the five virtues, “benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, faithfulness,” and others. The virtues at the core of this blended innate concept is not only incompatible with the philosophy of the CCP, but also something the CCP wanted to get rid of for years, right from the start.
Why Shen Yun Can not be Seen in China?
Over the years, the CCP considered Shen Yun an intense enemy. The first year, when Shen Yun had only one company, the CCP dispatched around 60 troupes to perform for overseas audiences, in order to compete with Shen Yun. This CCP tactic was also an attempt to ensure Shen Yun would not survive financially under the onslaught. What actually happened was, the CCP not only exhausted a lot of manpower and squandered a lot of resources, but its own troupes also suffered devastating defeat and returned home in disgrace. “The First Emperor” the opera, directed by famed director Zhang Yimou, was denounced by American critics. For the ensuing years, the CCP engaged all of its domestic troupes to be involved in bringing about Shen Yun’s demise. The CCP’s scheme was to urge all performing groups to go abroad to set up shows in close proximity, with the principal intent to use underhanded tactics to compete for the market and create disturbances.
At the same time, the CCP consulates were all directed to contact the theaters where Shen Yun was contracted to perform, slandering and vilifying the performing arts company. There were ludicrous demands made to theater managers to cancel their legal agreements with Shen Yun, and threats made about political and economic relationships between the two countries as a form of blackmail and intimidation. The CCP failed to recognize that its approach is in sharp contrast to those of Western democracies. The CCP habitually uses the methodology employed by gangsters and mafia to force theaters in Western societies to comply. Ironically this results in more rejection and CCP representatives being the laughing stock of the West.
After years of cooperation with Shen Yun, theater managers all around the world have come to respect and understand Shen Yun and Falun Gong, and they are quite repulsed by the CCP’s intrusive interference. The CCP, at the end of its wits, like a donkey having exhausted its tricks, actually stooped so low as to resort to sabotaging Shen Yun’s buses. There was an instance where the Shen Yun tour bus had its tires slashed and an unknown fluid was injected into the gas tank to cause damage. Such acts were an example of methods used to disrupt Shen Yun tours.
The CCP’s evil actions have only validated the inevitability of Shen Yun’s historical role. The CCP is struggling to survive and is blanketed by Shen Yun’s undisputed success. Not only is the regime’s legitimacy of ruling China questionable, its core existence is also in distress. The world’s people will come to realize that “Communist China” is not the center, the heart of “Cultural China,” but the “Lost Paradise,” a wasteland on the brink of destruction and ruins. Shen Yun resembles the sun at high noon. Under Shen Yun’s brand, “Communist China” has no escape, and it will be reduced to being “culturally illiterate.” The lies, at the dead-end of its resources, and reduced to picking up ruins, will be the fate of Communist China.