In this episode of "American Thought Leaders:NOW," we sit down with Shen Yun Performing Arts principal dancer Steven Wang. His mother was recently sentenced to four years in prison in China for practicing the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong.
Since the Chinese Communist Party first launched a nationwide persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Wang’s parents have gone in and out of prison. His mother has spent approximately 10 of the last 23 years in prison. His father died as a result of years of torture in 2009.
The persecution of Wang’s family worsened after Wang joined Shen Yun Performing Arts, a New York-based company that seeks to revive traditional Chinese culture. Besides showing scenes from ancient China—a China before communism—Shen Yun also depicts the persecution of spiritual adherents in modern-day China under the current regime.
After Wang joined Shen Yun, his family members were repeatedly harassed and interrogated about his whereabouts in the United States. At a recent congressional briefing, his sister Lydia, now also in the United States, recounts being told that her brother was a threat to national security.
The siblings believe the sentencing of their mother is an attempt by the Chinese regime to deter him from continuing his dance career in Shen Yun.