Overseas Chinese are familiar with Shen Yun. They know that Shen Yun’s performances are often sold out, the program is brilliant, and the artists are mainly Falun Dafa practitioners.
Shen Yun’s Success Flusters the CCP
Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in New York. Its members include Falun Dafa practitioners. Shen Yun says its mission is to revive the five-thousand-year-old divine culture of China, and its “artistic inspiration comes from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, which are the true essence of traditional Chinese culture.” Shen Yun has six groups touring across more than 150 cities around the world, with more than 1 million seeing the show every year.
In March 2019, Shen Yun performed 15 consecutive shows at Lincoln Center in New York City, almost all of which were sold out. Although Shen Yun is an artistic production founded by overseas Chinese, people of Chinese descent account for less than 10 percent of the audience. Most of the audience are locals, and the performance has attracted many local politicians and business celebrities.
Over the years, Shen Yun has received numerous international accolades. It is precisely Shen Yun’s deep penetration among mainstream segments of society that flusters the CCP.
The CCP Has Exhausted All Means to Block Shen Yun
The CCP has tried almost every means to disrupt and ban Shen Yun overseas. However, it has only made Shen Yun increasingly popular with audiences around the world.
According to a CCP insider who is familiar with the matter, from the beginning of Shen Yun’s formation in 2006, more than a dozen CCP agencies and departments, including the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, the Propaganda Department, among others, have been mobilized to disrupt Shen Yun’s world tour. Specific measures are described below.
- The Ministry of Culture is responsible for organizing 60 high-level performance teams to perform around the world, with the purpose of “putting on a rival show against Shen Yun,” in an attempt to gain Shen Yun’s audience.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Chinese embassy in each country, would send diplomatic memos to the local government, making every effort to prevent Shen Yun performances using diplomatic means. In some cases, consulate and embassy staff’s performance evaluations included the disruption of local Shen Yun performances.
- The United Front Work Department, Ministry of Security, Ministry of Culture, Propaganda Department, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs would coordinate and organize Chinese student unions, chambers of commerce, local associations, overseas Taiwan groups, Confucius Institutes, and other CCP-affiliated organizations to disrupt Shen Yun performances. Their mandate includes displaying anti-Falun Dafa banners at performances, protesting in front of theaters, shouting slogans over loudspeakers, and harassing the audience, preventing Shen Yun from signing contracts with theaters, organizing local propaganda media outlets to slander Shen Yun and Falun Dafa, organizing overseas Chinese students to write negative reviews and complaints against Shen Yun, organizing internet and social media campaigns against Shen Yun, hiring local gangs to cause trouble during Shen Yun performances, and buying large blocks of Shen Yun tickets in advance, and then requesting refunds right before the performances.
- The Propaganda Department would organize local journalists from Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, China News Agency, the overseas edition of People’s Daily, China National Radio, and other CCP-controlled media to defame Shen Yun and Falun Dafa, including paying local mainstream media to help distribute such articles.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for ordering the embassies and consulates not to issue passports to Shen Yun performers, or inform foreign ministries not to issue entry visas to them.
- The Cyberspace Administration would organize smear campaigns against Shen Yun on internet portals and search engines. As long as the audience searches for “Shen Yun,” the first results would display negative information created by the CCP. The information mainly comes from three sources: the websites of Chinese embassies and consulates, “www. chinafxj.cn” (China Anti-Cult network), and “www.kaiwind.com.”
- The domestic 610 Office is responsible for coordinating the Public Security and State Security personnel within China, threatening and intimidating family members of Shen Yun performers living in China.
- The Cyberspace Administration is responsible for organizing the CCP’s “50 Cent Army”—the individuals paid by the post to spread propaganda—to stigmatize Shen Yun and Falun Dafa on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media in various countries, as well as organizing cyberattacks against Shen Yun’s official website.
From ‘Four Confidences’ to ‘Four Inferiorities’
The CCP’s means of blocking and obstructing Shen Yun have had the opposite effect of increasing Shen Yun’s publicity. The CCP’s obsessive focus on Shen Yun has only increased the audience’s curiosity.
A journalist who had been involved in disrupting Shen Yun performances said, “In order to undermine Shen Yun, the government has exhausted all means except killing. However, after more than ten years, instead of bringing Shen Yun down, the government has made all participants less and less confident. What went wrong?”
The CCP claims that socialism with Chinese characteristics has “four self-confidences”—confidence in its path, in its theory, in its system, and in its culture. However, its decade-long competition with Shen Yun has turned the CCP’s motto of “four self-confidences” into “four inferiorities.”
Shen Yun’s Impact on the CCP
“Benevolent governance” and “way of the king” as espoused by the teachings of ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius have some merit even today.
The CCP has ruled through domestic violence, oppression of the people, human rights violations, and persecution of religious beliefs. Externally, the CCP has lost the trust of its neighbors and has carried out espionage against friendly nations.
While what Shen Yun shows to the world is not only superb dance and music performances and dynamic backdrop design. It also depicts the traditional belief in the harmony between man and nature, respect for the Divine, and the timeless virtues of benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, wisdom, and faithfulness displayed on stage.
These traditional values uplift the audience’s hearts and inspire their minds. This is the secret of Shen Yun’s indomitable vitality and the reason why the CCP loses confidence in the face of Shen Yun.