BENDIGO, Australia—Melbourne-born writer, director, and actor Berlin Lu said he was moved by Shen Yun Performing Arts’ depiction of organ harvesting in China.
Mr. Lu is known for his roles in TV series “Supernatural,” “iZombie,” and “Supergirl.” He won Best Australian Actor at the AFIN International Film Festival in 2021. He also played the lead role in the 2019 award-winning film, “The World is Bright.”
“At first, I didn’t think something like that could be portrayed … organ trafficking,” Mr. Lu said of a Chinese dance story by New York-based Shen Yun, called Insanity During the End of Days. “And I’ve heard of this before, and I have a Chinese background. But to see it played out, it resonated quite emotionally.”
The dance piece depicts a story based on the true events of how Falun Dafa practitioners are killed for their organs in state-run hospitals in China. The story also conveys the courage of people of faith amid persecution by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance; its followers have been persecuted in China since the regime announced an eradication campaign in 1999.
The communist regime, over the decades since its inception, has systematically destroyed and distorted China’s 5,000 years of rich, spiritually-rooted culture, including the universal values inherent to it. This year, Shen Yun is touring the world to present “China before communism.”
“That was very powerful, the way Shen Yun played that out,” Mr. Lu said of the story depicting organ harvesting crimes in China. “I think it’s a very controversial issue. To highlight that with the music and the story, I think it makes a really big impact.”
He said this was his sixth or seventh time seeing Shen Yun. “My mum brought me along when I was, maybe 12, 13 years old,” he shared. “And I saw how much she loved it. And as I grew up, I’ve been taking my mum to come. And we watch this all over the world—last watched in Vancouver.”
Shen Yun presents classical Chinese, ethnic, and folk dance, as well as story-based dances on the world stage, conveying the spiritual essence of China’s divinely-inspired culture, including ideas like harmony among Heaven, Earth, and humankind.
According to Shen Yun, theatregoers “will be taken on a journey to magnificent eras in Chinese history, as well as to periods from China’s recent past.”
“I saw how much my mum was moved in the past watching Shen Yun, and she loves the music, the performances, and just everyone’s so talented. And I feel compelled to want to bring my mum to see it,” he shared, adding that he also wanted to share the experience with his partner. “She’s a dancer herself, and I think she’ll really appreciate the amazing dances and performance.”
The name Shen Yun can be translated as “The beauty of divine beings dancing.”
“I was so moved. I was blown away by all the talent in the dances. And I thought it was so meaningful and very powerful,” said Mr. Lu’s partner, Alexandra Lim.
She said of the Shen Yun dancers, “They had such amazing, incredible energy throughout the entire show, from the start to the end. You could just feel how present they were, and they were so graceful.”
Ms. Lim said she was deeply touched by Shen Yun‘s soprano, and the lyrics of her solo titled “Dafa Leads Back to Heaven.” The song calls on people to hold on to tradition and goodness amid a global trend away from it.
“I felt chills in my body, felt like some inner divinity spoke to me,” Ms. Lim said of the message she got from the song. “That no matter the adversity that happens in our lives and the world, we must continue to have faith and have hope and follow a moral compass and be good to others and ourselves.”
“That really spoke to me because I think it’s easy to become a bit nihilistic about the world or to become pessimistic about it. But that gave me a lot of hope and inspiration,” she added.
Shen Yun now has seven equally large companies that simultaneously tour the world, with each touring group having about 80 artists, comprising mostly dancers and musicians, but also singers, emcees, and production crew.
Shen Yun cannot perform in China because the communist regime sees the revival of traditional Chinese culture as a threat to its power.
“Shen Yun would be happy to perform there, but the Chinese Communist Party won’t allow it,” the company says on its website, adding, “You cannot see another performance like this in China.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Gabrielle Stephenson.