The Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls is hosting the Shen Yun Performing Arts group on Wednesday. For $80 to $180, Shen Yun promises to delight audiences with a representation and restoration of glorious Chinese civilization before Communism:
The traditional Chinese culture Shen Yun presents cannot be seen anywhere else in the world—not even in China. There, the ruling communist regime has viewed China’s rich spiritual and artistic heritage as a threat to its ideology and for decades tried to erase it.
But in 2006, a group of Chinese artists came together in New York with a vision: to revive the best of China’s cultural heritage and share it with the world. They drew courage and inspiration from their practice of Falun Dafa—a spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The company’s repertoire includes important works shedding light on the plight of people like them in communist China today.
After a decade of performing around the world to sold-out audiences everywhere, Shen Yun has brought a great civilization back from the brink of extinction [Shen Yun Performing Arts, Sioux Falls program website, retrieved 2022.01.24].
Shen Yun is also a marketing ploy developed by the Falun Dafa/Falun Gong cult founded in 1992 by a guy, Li Hongzhi, who rejects evolution, homosexuality, extramarital sex and reporters’ questions:
Li has been open about his beliefs that evolution is fraudulent, that people of different races will be separated in Heaven, and that homosexuality and promiscuity are unnatural. He told Time that aliens were attempting to control humans by making us dependent on modern science. (He intended to be metaphorical, he later said.) A San Francisco man named Samuel Luo has claimed that his mother and stepfather refused essential medical treatment because of Falun Gong’s teachings that sickness is based in karma; he has also claimed that they came to believe that it was the gods’ plan to eliminate the gay population. Luo set up a Web site called The Untold Story of Falun Gong in 2007, and Falun Gong responded by complaining to the domain provider. The organization also threatened to sue the International Cultic Studies Association for bringing Luo to a conference as a presenter. Other religions resist modern medicine, and many faiths have held racist views or have opposed homosexuality (or both). But Falun Gong’s defensive reactions not only to criticism but to basic journalistic inquiry can suggest an institution that would prefer people not ask very many questions. In response to a list of questions related to this article, a representative from Falun Gong’s information center, who had previously clarified a few points over the phone, sent an impassioned, six-hundred-word e-mail expressing dismay at some of the details mentioned in the questions and arguing that negative stories about Falun Gong make it easier for the Chinese government to wage its campaign of persecution. The representative asked that he not be quoted at all. He did not answer any of the questions. (I separately requested comment, multiple times, from Shen Yun, but never heard back.) [Jia Tolentino, “Stepping into the Uncanny, Unsettling World of Shen Yun,” The New Yorker, 2019.03.19]
Falun Gong is also closely tied to the radical right-wing newspaper Epoch Times, which has made beaucoup bucks promoting Trump and his lies. Posturing against Chinese Communist tyranny while promoting American capitalist tyranny—now that’s quite the dance!