WOKING, United Kingdom—Human rights activist and China expert Benedict Rogers saw Shen Yun for the second time on Jan. 9, 2019, having seen the show when it was last in the UK in 2018.
Last time, he said, he didn’t know what to expect, but this time he had a “sense of excitement and anticipation” when the curtain rose.
“It’s stunning,” Rogers explained. “The costumes are amazing, but the skill of the performance as well is really extraordinary. And also the animation behind them and the music, it’s a really amazing, beautiful performance.”
Rogers has extensive experience of human rights issues globally. He works for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, is the Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, and founder of Hong Kong Watch.
But it was his experience raising awareness of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China that drew him to Shen Yun.
Under the current Chinese communist regime, traditional morals and faiths are severely oppressed.
The meditation discipline Falun Dafa is based on the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance; but the communist regime feared the enormous popularity of Falun Dafa and began to persecute it in 1999.
In the piece “Goodness in the Face of Evil,” a girl who practices Falun Dafa is imprisoned and subjected to forced organ harvesting, a crime that the communist regime uses to make money by selling the organs of persecution victims. However, the girl’s goodness and faith triumphs over evil in the end.
Rogers said that even though he is very familiar with the persecution of Falun Dafa, “seeing the dramatization of the persecution and the way that it was performed was very moving, very shocking.
“It really brought home to me what’s happening,” he said.
‘Wonderful and Uplifting … Moving and Challenging’
“The performance was both wonderful and uplifting, but also moving and challenging as a reminder of both the beautiful history of China but also the problems that are existing in China today,” Rogers added.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts was started in 2006 by a group of artists who had the wish to paint a true picture of China and revive the nation’s 5,000 years of semi-divine culture that was systematically destroyed by six decades of communist rule.
Many of Shen Yun’s stories showcase historical events, myths and legends passed down generation after generation, and modern day pieces portraying today’s real-life human rights abuses.
Rogers said Shen Yun’s mission is “very important.”
“It’s really important to remind people today that China is not the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “The Chinese Communist Party and the country of China are two different things, and the country of China has a beautiful, rich, and ancient civilization and culture.
“It’s very important to bring that to the world so that despite the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to eradicate it, the world can know the true history and civilization of China.”
Rogers added, “We shouldn’t believe everything that the Chinese Communist Party says about China, we should look to China’s rich ancient civilization.”
With reporting by NTD Television and John Smithies.
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.