NEWARK, N.J.—Chen Guangcheng, the well-known Chinese human rights activist who now lives in exile in America, took in an evening of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on April 11.
He said that the show seemed pure, profound, and caused him to reflect on life in China.
Chen has been based in the United States since 2012, after he made a daring escape from house arrest in the countryside in Shandong. He made his way to the American Embassy in Beijing, and then was given asylum in the United States. He was a fellow at New York University for one year, and is now a visiting fellow at the Catholic University of America.
Though Chen has been blind since his youth, he appears to have paid especial attention to Shen Yun’s live orchestra. “Such purity!” he said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television. “I feel that Shen Yun not only presented the compassion of traditional Chinese culture purely and uprightly, but also revealed how this virtuous culture is currently being destroyed by evil. Informed Chinese people will clearly recognize this.”
He added: “The score that gave me the deepest impression was the first one following the intermission. I deeply experienced a very broad feeling of sudden enlightenment, as if in our lives, there is another broader universe.”
Chen said that Shen Yun differs from the usual performances available in China. “Before, in China, where many negative influences exist, I had heard about Shen Yun. I felt that what made Shen Yun distinctive from the so-called stars in China is that Shen Yun doesn’t do grandstanding or cheap tricks for the masses. It simply inspires and entertains its audiences through art and the inner human spirit.”
Apart from the focus on traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun includes reference to contemporary events in China.
“In a world without freedom,” Chen said, “people now worship money and pursue only immediate interests—this is quite out of tune with our traditional culture. Therefore, seeing [Shen Yun] causes many people to reflect on themselves—that our every word and action should once again adhere to the righteous values of the past.”
He continued: “This is a very profound issue I hope people can ponder over. Why are rivers and mountains so contaminated? Why has the moral character of society deteriorated to such an extent? In this process of moral degeneration in society, what role does each of us play? Are we preventing or encouraging this trend? Every person must consider this issue. This is my simple understanding.”
Translation by Irene Luo.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.
Read the Chinese article.