Art or grand political protest? When Shen Yun Performing Arts Group takes the stage at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza’s Kavli Theatre next week for its highly publicized show, their intent is to do more than entertain and inspire audiences, according to Toacorn.com on January 17, 2013.
Among the saturated colors, synchronized movements and ancient songs is the steady voice of dissent.
Falun Gong was founded in 1992 by “master” Li Hongzhi, “It’s one of his pet projects,” James Tong, professor of Chinese politics at UCLA, said. “Their performances are part of (Falun Gong’s) outreach program.”
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States claims that Shen Yun is not a cultural performance but a political tool “filled with cult messages and implied attacks against the Chinese government.”
Opposition to Falun Gong is not limited to China, Tong said.
“Outside China it is also somewhat controversial because of some of its teachings,” he said, because Hongzhi has expressed views against modern science and homosexuality and purports that the end of the world is near.
Yet the controversial group appears to have widespread support in the U.S. The support may be attributed in part to Falun Gong’s successful public relations campaign, Tong said.
“They have a very successful and effective lobbying program for elected officials,” he said. “Falun Gong has a lot of PR in the U.S. and in much of the industrialized West.”
(Toacorn.com, January 17, 2013)