LONDON—For John Robert Broomfield, Shen Yun’s many different vignettes were surprising, as were the dancers’ “immaculate costumes.”
But what really surprised the retired president of a management consultancy firm was the performance’s underlying message.
In his words, there was a “longing … for the overthrow of communism.”
Speaking after the matinee performance at London’s Eventim Apollo on April 27, Broomfield said this message was “very clear” and that he “totally agreed with that sentiment.”
“Because communism is inherently evil,” Broomfield said. “It deprives the individual of their freedom and dictates how they act and think.”
“I was in Tiananmen Square and I could see the members of the Communist Party keeping an eye on things. It was scary and there’s no need for it. I think people don’t need that sort of regime,” he said.
Shen Yun, through its stories and songs, retells the values and ideas lying at the heart of traditional Chinese culture, which ultimately revolve around a belief in the divine. Indeed, China was at one stage called Shen Zhou, meaning divine land. For thousands of years, Chinese people have observed values and principles stemming from this belief, including benevolence, truthfulness, righteousness, and propriety.
These traditions continued uninterrupted in China from generation to generation up until it was almost decimated during the Cultural Revolution—a campaign launched by the Chinese Communist Party in the late 1960s to destroy traditional Chinese ideas and beliefs to cement its authoritarian atheistic rule.
Broomfield said the Shen Yun performers had an “undying faith in a better way.”
As a Christian, he could see commonality in what was presented on stage with his own faith.
“You know there’s a supreme being and there’s a force greater than you that you are living your life for. And that force is not the Communist Party,” he said.
He said the performance as a whole was “enough to melt the heart of Party members.”
Shen Yun depicts the devastation wrought by communist rule through its stories about the persecution of practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Dafa in China.
However, Shen Yun’s stories of persecution ultimately end in a message of hope—that of goodness overcoming evil and suffering.
Broomfield said this message “appeals to anyone who has spirituality in their hearts, regardless of their religion. It’s a universal message.”
He added: “It’s the only way really and ultimately we’re put on this earth to help each other, to serve each other. It’s the responsibility of the government to serve the people and not to serve the Party.”
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.