Activist Chen Guangcheng Says Shen Yun Awakens Human Spirit

February 17, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng says the music of Shen Yun Performing Arts can awaken the kindness in people’s souls.

Mr. Chen is a fan of New York-based Shen Yun. Like so many audience members, he described a deep and profound experience—something so inspiring that it has kept him attending the music and dance performances again and again. On Feb. 17, Mr. Chen attended a performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House and shared his experience with a reporter.

“You can see that if man did not have things like selfishness, greed, desires, what a wonderful state we would be in. You can get that sort of sense from the music. Especially the opening piece! I really got that feeling,” Mr. Chen said.

Though Mr. Chen has been blind from birth, he enjoyed the music from the first time he heard it—immensely. Subsequently he was delighted to find that the best of Shen Yun’s four touring companies’ orchestras perform together as well, and attended a Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performance prior to the start of the 2016 Shen Yun season.

Each time, he described a transformative quality in the music.

This is because the music’s conception, from its composition to arrangement to performance, is rooted in traditional Chinese culture, as Mr. Chen explains. And it is a divinely inspired culture rooted in principles like benevolence, justice, wisdom, loyalty, and respect for the heavens. And this comes out in the music.

This time around, Mr. Chen said the biggest impression he was left with was how in listening to the music “your feeling is one of understanding the whole of China’s history.”

In studying Chinese history, you learn about it dynasty by dynasty, piece by piece, but listening to this music, he felt he could experience the whole of the history as if the music was a river, and everything flowed together. “The music encompasses it all.”

It was a very broad feeling, he said. “The kind and natural aspect of it [the culture] are brought out and included within the music, through the traditional [Chinese] instruments and the Western instruments joined together,” he said.

The Chinese lawyer has been based in the United States since 2012, after he made an escape from house arrest by the communist regime in China. The state of China today is still close to his heart, and he thought if the mainland Chinese people could only see Shen Yun, they could awaken to a different kind of world and way of living.

“My personal feeling is that China’s nature has been lost for so many years,” he said, since communists came into power in 1949. That point in history had cut Chinese people off from their roots, but he is firm in his belief that “the people’s nature is not lost, this heritage is in their blood.”

If people could live naturally, and not under the warped structure of a totalitarian regime, he said, people’s kind and natural sides would naturally show themselves. Society would benefit as a whole.

He said he has seen Shen Yun not only preserve this traditional Chinese culture but really pioneer its revival around the world, “to let people know that this is really something worthwhile, something we have to think about.”

And he foresees the day where Shen Yun can perform in China to be not far off at all. He said he predicted Shen Yun would be very, very busy soon, “because so many people in China need to hear Shen Yun’s magnificent music.”

The effect would be like a full recovery, he said with a smile. A burden would be lifted off the soul and people’s innate kindness would shine through again; it would be as if a chronically ill person were completely healed, he said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Catherine Yang

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.

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.