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首页 > Choice > True Color of Shen Yun Show
Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?
Adjust font size:   Close  the-scholars.com WeiWenDi 2012-09-27

Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?


by WeiWenDi on Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:54 am


Sometime in the near future (I believe mid-February), at Pittsburgh's Benedum Centre for the Performing Arts, there will be a performance by the Shen Yun Performing Arts group, an acrobatics and dance routine which promises to resurrect 'the essence of 5000 years of Chinese culture' or somesuch. I was initially somewhat interested in going until a.)    I saw the price tag (starting from $55-ish; usually Benedum performances start from $10 or $20, with big names starting from $40) and b.) I saw the fine print at the bottom of the poster: 'Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Falun Dafa Association', which got me scratching my head.

I decided to read several reviews of Shen Yun performances online, and, as expected, viewers were split down the middle between those who thought it was an inspiring piece of art and those who saw it as very thinly-veiled anti-CCP propaganda. Naturally, I'm not the most impartial of people when it comes to the likes of Falun Dafa - I've seen the heart-rending results of these 'new religions' first-hand as well as hearing of them second-hand, and reading the doctrines of Mr Li I've grown more and more convinced that it's basically Scientology in Chinese drag.

Anyone here have experience with Shen Yun / Falun Gong? Be interested to hear the Scholars' thoughts on this.


Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

by TooMuchBaijiu on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:09 am

Is Falun Gong all that terrible? I haven't had any personal interaction with anyone belonging to that movement/religion/cult, but a quick read hasn't shown me that the institution or it's leaders aren't any more coercive or restrictive or manipulative than any other religion, movement, or cult.

And honestly, they've gotten a lot worse from the CCP than they've given, that's for sure. Even if they were Scientologists in yin-yang form, the measures taken by the Chinese government to counter them passed "atrocious" a very long time ago. After all, I haven't heard of any Falun Gong adherents putting CCP members in re-education camps. Talk about being "coercive or restrictive or manipulative", huh?

I will say this. $55 for an "inspirational" circus act? They're at least guilty of being pretentious.


Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

by WeiWenDi on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:45 am

In Pittsburgh, I was approached by two members of a Korean cult (the World Mission Society Church of God), who basically cajoled me into joining a 'Bible Study' which I had believed was going to be relatively benign and interdenominational; however, when they brought me to the Wyndham Hotel (where their cult had set up shop, as it were), they basically sat me down with one member sitting next to me and another standing in front of me, and proceeded to attempt to threaten me with Hell and browbeat me into recanting my Anglican faith and accepting a new baptism from them in one of the hotel rooms upstairs, in the name of their founder (whose name they refused to reveal to me before I accepted baptism into their church).

Needless to say, I walked out.

A friend of mine had parents and a sister who joined the Unification Church; the sister was sent off to a boarding school which messed up her mind but good. Thankfully, somehow she was gotten out, but last I heard she was still in a mental institution and was convinced that aliens were going to save her from the pain she had experienced.

I am very sceptical of belief systems which rely on a single charismatic leader who claims to be the incarnation of a deity, yet demands absolute obedience of his followers, destroys their pre-existing friendships, commands secrecy, controls information, forbids medical intervention and issues orders from afar. Rick Alan Ross (the anti-cult activist, not the rapper) has compiled a fairly comprehensive list of characteristics of destructive cults, and it's rather frightening how many of these characteristics apply to Falun Dafa. Li Hongzhi certainly qualifies as a charismatic leader, given the number of followers he has amassed through his writings, and he has claimed a number of supernatural abilities for himself. He certainly encourages blind obedience through his co-opting the most apocalyptic elements of Buddhism and Daoism, discourages his followers from seeking medical treatment for serious illnesses or injuries by accusing them of lacking faith or being subject to 'evil' influences (defined as those outside Falun Dafa, conveniently), and very troublingly encourages racial segregation and stigmatisation of biracial people (who cannot attain salvation without Li's personal intervention), let alone homosexuals. Also, they behave in a manner parallel with Scientology in that they actively harass through legal channels any of their critics who become too high-profile, claiming freedom of expression for themselves and denying it to others.

Agreed, with a couple of caveats. The initial crackdown under Jiang Zemin was certainly well-documented enough by outside sources to be both a.) credible and b.) worthy of condemnation. Certainly freedom of religion should be respected - within limits. If they really are harming their followers, then some government action, even coercive action, to protect them should be considered justified. But many of the reports coming after that wind one up back at sources emanating from Falun Dafa channels, and I think they are not above outright fabrication when it comes to these kinds of stories.

Naaaah, in all likelihood they're much too smart for that shit. Let's face it, the CCP have long since passed the point where their propaganda and police tactics are about as subtle as those of Saturday morning cartoon villains.


Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

by Lady Wu on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:31 am

I wouldn't say FLG is like Scientology---yes, it is cultish and shares some similarities with Scientology (both use (mental) health as a guise for a set of beliefs that are not made clear/open to the public, which I find deceptive; both leaders have promoted racism; both organizations are very aggressive in PR). And a friend of mine has a family friend whose wife is in FLG, in a destructive way, like refusing medical treatment in favour of meditative practices, which are frequent enough to upset her and her family's routine, etc. However, Scientology is probably a lot more underhanded, organized, and sinister than FLG. At least that's my impression.

That said, I am quite disgusted with the FLG appropriating Chinese culture and trying to use Chinese culture as a trojan horse, so to speak, to gain acceptance by Western society. At almost all major parades we have in the Vancouver area (even in suburbs with a low Chinese population) the FLG would turn out in full force, dressed in Chinese costumes, doing their Chinese music/dance routines... and then following that up with the huge "Falun Dafa is GOOD!111!!11!" banner (seriously, couldn't they have come up with a more original slogan than "法轮大法好"?. And of course there is Shen Yun. I know the CCP has destroyed most of Chinese culture, but what Shen Yun/FLG is doing is no different from what the CCP is doing nowadays---CCP-sponsored PR units and tourism units also stage large-scale acrobatic/dance performances to show how Chinese they are and hoping that Western people would just lap it all up.

I am *very* suspicious of something that calls itself a religion when it's convenient, (cf. FLG people pleading for asylum on religious persecution grounds), a "health movement" when it's not (that's their line to the CCP---"we're just a health and meditation movement"), but which is highly political (publishes a newspaper, The Epoch Times, which is mostly real news but in which strong anti-CCP elements are incorporated) and which hijacks a whole culture and runs a circus troupe in order to gain public sympathy.

That's a very good point, Lady Wu.

I agree that the Church of Scientology is a lot more sinister and underhanded in its techniques, and a lot more blatantly coercive toward its members, than FLG is. FLG people are at least in theory free to leave the movement as they wish - though they risk the same kind of browbeating, shunning and guilt-tripping that all recovering cultists would from their former comrades.

Oh yeah, the 大紀元. Damn. I'm thinking the FLG has some deep pockets to be distributing that thing for free, but given the exorbitant prices of events like Shen Yun, maybe it's not so surprising...


Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

by Lady Wu on Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:25 pm

I went to the symphony on my birthday, and saw that Shen Yun put an ad in the symphony's program. Tickets are $60 to $170. (I've never paid $60 for a regular symphony concert/opera/etc.!) And at the bottom of the ad there's a line of fine print saying "Produced by the Falun Dafa Association".

I wonder how many people realize that the Falun Dafa Association is a quasi-religious/political organization. Not very often do performances by religious groups charge admission (unless it's a fundraiser, which they normally announce), and I wonder if there's any accountability for that money if FLG is claiming any kind of tax status as a religious organization.


Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

by WeiWenDi on Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Ouch. That's more expensive than our Shen Yun performance here (seats starting at $55) - and isn't the Canadian Dollar still higher than the American one (last I checked)? It would be interesting to check and see if they qualify for tax-exempt status in Canada - they are here, anyway.

Just came back from the Chinese embassy in New York to get my visa for winter break, across the street from which the FLG types were just setting up shop when we left. Lots of signs saying the PRC leaders should be indicted for crimes against humanity, and the obligatory '法輪大法好' banner. No question that there are very legitimate grounds for criticism of the PRC, but it is my humble opinion that the PRC needs more credible critics...


(the-scholars.com , Nov 12, 2011 )




Original text from:http://the-scholars.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=21949&st=0&sk=t&sd=a


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