Army Intel Officer Sees a Different China in Shen Yun

January 20, 2014 Updated: January 20, 2014

BALTIMORE—Dwight Webster and his wife Maha almost ran out of superlatives to describe Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing it at Baltimore’s Lyric on the evening of Jan. 18.

“We had a great time. It was very magical; it was very colorful. It was entertaining, and most of all, we feel very culturally informed about China. It was very impressive,” said Mrs. Webster, a specialist in the healthcare industry.

Mr. Webster, an army intelligence officer, also said that Shen Yun was “very magical” and “very enchanting.”

But above all, the couple felt that the vision of China portrayed in Shen Yun was different to the China that they see regularly portrayed in the media—a dictatorial government and an aggressive military.

Mr. Webster found Shen Yun’s portrayal of traditional China particularly striking and relevant given the slowly-building tensions between China and the United States, and the way that the Chinese Communist Party is widely seen to be increasingly aggressive and militant in the Asia region.

“We definitely saw a very different public view of China—what are the institutions that exist within the people, their dreams, their realities, versus what might be a militant presence that tells them what to believe?” Mr. Webster said, referring to this counterposition.

“We saw the other side of the house, showing that they have a rich culture and belief; that helps the people to believe in something more than what the government presents them.”

Mr. Webster added: “It’s very promising for the future.”

Mrs. Webster viewed the China portrayed in Shen Yun as something that Americans could readily embrace.

“I think this would help to change people’s views and opinions of what they see of China in the news or from a military perspective,” he said, continuing his wife’s thought. “This is definitely the type of performance that is necessary to enrich people.”

The religious and cultural background infused through Shen Yun’s performances answers some of the basic questions about China that many Americans are likely to have. “Where do these people come from? The heart of the people, the origin,” he said.

“I know that we have a new image of China from today’s show,” Mrs. Webster added. “We will take this with us for the rest of our lives.”

“We’re not going to see China the same way,” she said. “We’ve seen a China that is so heartwarming.”

Reporting by Sherry Dong

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.