PERTH, Australia—As Senator for Western Australia, Peter Georgiou was aware of the odds Shen Yun Performing Arts had to defy in order to become the world-class show it is today.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s going on,” Georgiou said. On Feb. 21, the senator saw New York-based Shen Yun perform at the Regal Theatre in Perth.
Established in 2006, Shen Yun tours the globe every year to bring the authentic traditional Chinese culture to the world’s stage through the universal languages of music and dance. In just a few years, Shen Yun became the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company.
“Today is the first time I’ve been to something like this; it was absolutely magnificent,” Georgiou said. “The colors, the costumes, the background, the dancing … it was very special.”
Georgiou praised the various aspects of the production, from the unique East-West blend of the live orchestra to the way animation was incorporated into a backdrop that brought faraway scenes to life. He’s no stranger to theater, but couldn’t think of anything he’d ever seen that was quite like it.
“It was a great night, and I am looking forward to next year’s production,” he said.
This is a culture said to be divinely inspired, and passed down continuously through dynasty after dynasty for 5,000 years. But in just a few years, the Chinese Communist Party nearly eradicated this entire cultural legacy. It seized power in 1949 and began systemically destroying culture whether it be through burning books and razing temples or killing intellectuals.
“It’s a good thing to keep your culture,” the senator said. “Keeping the traditions of your homeland, and pass it down from their kids to their kids. It’s a good thing. You shouldn’t ever lose your culture.”
Even today, the spiritual, traditional culture is under siege by the communist regime, with minorities like Uyghurs and religious groups like Falun Dafa and Christians being persecuted.
Georgiou has had discussions in his office about people in China being persecuted by the communist regime for their beliefs, denied not just freedom of expression, but even unjustly arrested, tortured, and killed for their organs.
Shen Yun’s stories range from ancient myths and legends, to contemporary stories set in China, all meant to showcase the essence of traditional Chinese culture and its emphasis on principles like harmony between Heaven and Earth, or good begets good while evil is punished.
So it was no surprise to Georgiou that the performance addressed the persecution of Falun Dafa in one of these story-based dances set in modern China, and he felt it helped raise awareness to something people might not know about even in 2019.
“We need to deal with it, and put the awareness out there,” Georgiou said. “A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s going on.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Steve Xu.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.