Arthur Waldron, a professor of history with a specialization in China at the University of Pennsylvania, said he enjoyed watching Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia on March 10.
“I’ve been a student of China for 40 years. This reminded me of why I chose that,” Waldron said. “Because this is the authentic treasure that Chinese civilization contains, and as I watch those dancers and I listen to the music, I think, this is incredibly good—it’s world-standard, these people can do anything.”
Waldron got his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University then lived in Asia for four years before returning to Harvard for his PhD. Within the subject of Asian history, he has focused on China during the late Qing Dynasty to the early Communist period.
“In China, there are a billion people and they can’t do anything. What would happen if all of that talent were released?” asked Waldron.
“The tremendous success that this Shen Yun is having around the world shows that in the battle between despotism, false culture, lack of morality, and virtuous rule, study of goodness, self-cultivation, there’s no question who will win.”
Since China’s Communist Party came to power 1949, it has instituted a systematic campaign to destroy traditional Chinese culture, which Shen Yun is seeking to preserve. For this reason, Shen Yun has performed all over Asia, but has not been allowed to perform in China.
“It’s almost a miracle to me that there are five groups performing all over the world, except in Beijing. But I promise you, if you did a tour of China, which someday you will be able to do, I don’t know if I’ll live to see it, that the people would pack in, and they would cheer,” Waldron said.