NEW YORK—Manny Haber, who established Fleet Street in 1964 and has since been the top U.S. distributor for women’s outerwear, knows a thing or two about fashion.
His business distributes brands that include their own labels Fleet Street, Donatella, and FS LTD, as well as Oscar de la Renta, and Jessica Simpson. Mr. Haber also sells Kensie and Vince Camuto brands.
He frequents China and calls the country an “inspiration” for the world’s fashion industry, but as Mr. Haber was watching Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on the afternoon of Jan. 11, he was surprised to learn that in today’s China, meditators are not allowed to practice their faith.
“I am quite surprised that today there are limitations in China,” Mr. Haber said. His wife, Miriam Haber, who accompanied him, shared his surprise. They were referring to the fact that since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party has been persecuting practitioners of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, which is based on the traditional principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
The Chinese Communist Party has also been systematically trying to eliminate traditional Chinese culture since the Cultural revolution of the 1960s.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the 5,000-year legacy of that traditional Chinese culture by showcasing in dance and music some legends and myths from Chinese history. In addition, it presents several pieces that depict Falun Dafa practitioners’ peaceful resistance to the current persecution—two reasons that make it a banned performance in mainland China.
“[Shen Yun] outlined the history of China for so many years. It is a nation of wonderful culture for 5,000 years—that, impressed me the most,” Mr. Haber said.
Shen Yun has been carrying this mission since 2006, when it was established in upper New York state. “Through the universal language of music and dance Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales,” reads the company’s website.
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Kristina Skorbach
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.