Of Cults, Dance and Politics: 'Shen Yun's Dark Entanglement with the Chinese Government

If you are here, you will surely locate the hundreds of commercials of Youtube or the huge digital campaign of a show that is being presented in Mexico. We are talking, of course, about the show called Shen Yun. If you’ve seen the ads, you know it’s a dance and music celebration of history in china; but —out of the spotlight—hides an interesting story to talk about.

Although this of Shen Yun it seems quite an event meh, this is deeper. Actually, we are facing a controversial industrial size.

Photo: Shen Yup Performing Arts

The shows of Shen Yun they are into a dark entanglement with the Chinese governmentwhich accuses them of being part of a “destructive sect”, which seeks to spread propaganda to destabilize the Asian state. How do you see it?

What is Shen Yun?

Shen Yun is the short or popular name of Shen Yun Performing Arts, an entertainment company based in New York, in the United States. It was founded in 2006 and now they are located on a well-known piece of land called Dragon Springs.

They have presented their dance, music and gymnastics shows in more than 130 cities in the world.

Dragon Springs in New York // Photo: UpstateNewYork

Now, about the show: in addition to presenting historical and colorful costumes, a live orchestra or dozens of dancers and gymnasts, the grace is that they tell historical legends of China. I mean, you’ll see representations of the Monkey King, the Jade Emperor or the famous Mulan.

The music, dance or whatever you see on stage is traditional; but none of that is truly controversial.

Photo: Shen Yup Performing Arts

Shen Yun is promoted as “China Before Communism” since they ensure that, in short, the cultural revolution —Mao Zedong’s political movement in the 1960s— removed the traditional aspects of china and they seek to retake them. The other tricky point is that these shows are related to a religious movementcontroversial and tangled, which some consider sect.

Shen Yun and Falun Gong

Now yes, hold on. According to their official page, all the artists of the Shen Yun Performing Arts they practice a discipline called Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, which was founded in 1992.

He Falun Gong it is a religious movement that combines several details. Has beliefs about Chinese traditional medicineas well as elements of the qigong —meditation, breathing or concentration techniques. They also have some little things Buddhism and Taoism as part of his moral philosophy.

The movement was quite popular with about 40 million membersby some estimates, until it came 1999.

Photo: Epoch Times (a Falun Gong-related outlet)

As in many political situations, there are two versions of what happened that year in China.

According to followers of Falun Gong in that year they began to be persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for being “an independent ideology out of their control”. They claim that they have been imprisoned, tortured and persecuted for their faith, which has never been recognized by the government of their country.

The other version is the governmental one. According to the Government, the Falun Gong worked like a political subversion movement with central committees and local offices seeking “destroy China’s social stability and overthrow the Chinese government”. state media China ensure that this organization highlights feudal valuesincompatible with current life.

Another of the most complicated points is in the phrases, beliefs and some attitudes that have been reported about the controversial founder and leader of this organization.

Is called li hongxhi and has been away from the public eye for almost 20 years.

Although the Falun Gong He has publicly distanced himself from his creator —removing his biography from official documents, for example— his beliefs have been quite criticized.

Photo: Shen Yup Performing Arts

OK with the government, the founder of this movement or sect behind Shen Yun is a “evil figure seeking to destabilize Chinese society.” They have accused him of implementing mind control over his believers, supporting anti-science techniques, claiming he stopped the end of the Earth for 30 years, and supporting Hitler’s staged holocaust.

Government of China vs. Shen Yun

As you will see, in all this lawsuit of Shen Yun against him chinese government, there are two versions. That has fueled open conflict between the two groups.

In 2010, the shows of Shen Yun in Hong Kong they had to be canceled because the artists did not get their visas. The same organization, in 2015accused that his website had been hacked by the Chinese government.

Shen Yun is prohibited from performing inside China.

Meanwhile, China Raise alerts in all countries that this dance show is presented. now that they are in MexicoFor example, the Embassy issued a shocking statement saying that they are one “absolute political tool to carry out propaganda of the destructive and anti-China cult, expand its influence and raise money”.

So? Well, the truth must be halfway through the lawsuit. Are they a sect or a persecuted religious movement? Are they a political group or dance artists? Is the government harassing them or did they really start a mobilization against stability in China? Well, who knows, but little by little the intrigue is not entertaining.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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