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"Divine Performing Arts Show," a political propaganda of Falun Gong

2009-04-08 Author:China Association for Cultic Studies

"Divine Performing Arts Show" is a joint name for "Chinese New Year Spectacular," "Chinese New Year Splendor," "Holiday Wonder," "Divine Land Marching Band Parade" and other performances given by the Divine Performing Arts Troupe of Falun Gong. The troupe originally tours the world every year to give performances under various names mentioned above. Since 2007, these activities are jointly called "Divine Performing Arts Show."


"Divine Performing Arts Show" is organized by Falun Gong and masterminded by Li Hongzhi.


The major organizer of "Divine Performing Arts Show" is "Falun Dafa Association," the core of Falun Gong organization. Other Falun Gong media such as the New Tang Dynasty Television, Epoch Times and Sound of Hope Radio also take part in the propaganda.


On May 24, 2008, Li Hongzhi, in the presence of over 3,000 Falun Gong followers at New York Fa Conference, openly admitted: the Divine Performing Arts shows sponsored by local Falun Dafa Association branches were "under my orders."


On May 25, 2008, the People Daily, a Falun Gong website, published an article which claimed that Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, was the chief director of the Divine Performing Arts Troupe.


Actually, the mainstream media in United States are very clear about the background of the "Divine Performing Arts Show." On February 6, 2008, the New York Times published an aonymous news feature named A Glimpse of Chinese Culture That Some Find Hard to Watch, it read: "The show, which runs through Saturday, is a production of New Tang Dynasty Television, a nonprofit satellite broadcaster started by Falun Gong followers and based in New York. With roughly 200 performances planned for 2008 – the company employs two troupes."


"Divine Performing Arts Show" spreads Falun Gong cultic teachings.


On May 24, 2008, a Fa teaching conference was held in New York City. During the conference, Li Hongzhi answered several questions put forward by his followers. The conversations revealed that the major purpose of the "Divine Performing Arts Show" was to spread Falun Gong teachings.


Q: In the first act of the Descent of the Celestial Kings, you ask our disciples if we would like to descend to the world and become kings for millenarian years. What's the meaning of "kings for millenarian years"? We are puzzled.


Li: It means one thousand years ago, the King of kings descended to this world, and that's it. From then on, my disciples followed me and all became kings. Now one thousand years have passed, our Dafa disciples have served as kings in all places of this world for the same time span.


Q: The Spectacular was really splendid this year. I wonder in the next year, if the show will be more moving and far-reaching?


Li: What we are doing is to save people. The Divine Performing Arts shows will continue, that's for sure. Of course, more audience and more places means more people are willing to watch our show; this facilitates our work of saving people, so it also means more people would be saved.


A song Holy Falun King in the show brazenly lavishes praise on Li Hongzhi, claiming that Li is the King of kings; that Li comes to the earth to save people before the World Doomsday. It also urges people to join Falun Gong, not to lose the chance of becoming gods. Verses of the song are as follows:


The King of kings descends to our Earth,


He saves us by teaching "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance."


The King of kings descends to our Earth,


He brings us good luck and the law of universe;


The Lord turns Falun to remake the cosmos,


He turns our ordinary people into gods.


Now our Lord is calling people to follow Dafa,


Never let the worldly attachments puzzle us.


This is a chance once in a thousand years,


And do not hesitate over your best choice.


Some journalists from the West expressed their views after attending the shows.


On January 20, 2008, the Toronto-based Canadian newspaper The Star published an article Falun Gong New Year Event Mere Propaganda, stating: "The production is so heavily laden with Falun Gong messages as to negate any pleasure the dancing and singing might have afforded."


On February 25, 2008, the British newspaper Telegraph published an article Shen Yun: Propaganda as Entertainment, claiming "Acrobatics, singing and dancing skills are used in the service of a propaganda exercise on the part of Falun Gong." "Most of the members of the Divine Performing Arts troupe are members of Falun Gong. But their beliefs do not simply form a backdrop to a neutral presentation of traditional Chinese dance and legends. They are the focal point of the evening. Thus the songs boast about the benefit of the laws and principles by which they live."


The "Chinese Spectacular" is politically motivated, spreading rumors and attacking the Chinese government.


"The climax is a vignette set in a modern Chinese park, where a good woman and her daughter are beaten for their beliefs by evil Communist Party thugs until the people rise up against them." This paragraph was part of the article Shen Yun: Propaganda as Entertainment published on February 25, 2008, by Sarah Crompton, a journalist from the British newspaper Telegraph. She said: "What I really object to is that such a politically motivated performance is being smuggled on to stages around Europe in the name of family entertainment."


Falun Gong never conceals the political inclination of Divine Performing Arts shows.


"Every year Dafa disciples have put together a Chinese New Year show, and with time it spread to other regions, with other countries even holding their own shows. Why are we doing that? To entertain ordinary people? Absolutely not. Everyone is clear on this. What we wish to do is to, through this medium, display Dafa disciples' demeanor, do away with the lies and slander that the wicked Party has instilled in people, and at the same time save all beings and clarify the facts." (Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference)


"In Dafa programs, we have nothing to conceal. We are saving the sentiment beings. After the performance, we all see from reaction of the audience that, the program reflecting persecution of out Dafa disciples is the best." (Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Fa Conference, May 24, 2008)


Some Western media criticized the show as politics-oriented.


"Most of the Chinese community think it's linked too much with political events," Michael Cheung, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Assocation, based in downtown Los Angeles said, "I saw the show last year at the Kodak Theatre. Some of the content reflects politics and human rights; it is not exactly art." (Ties to Falun Gong Add Controversy to the Chinese New Year Spectacular, Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2008)


On January 9, 2008, the American newspaper Star-Telegram commented in the article Show's Beauty Shaded by Political Message: "The basic message – Falun Gong good, Chinese government bad – could not have been clearer."


On February 6, 2008, the American newspaper New York Times mentioned in A Glimpse of Chinese Culture That Some Find Hard to Watch that more members of the audience "had realized that the show was not simply a celebration of the Chinese New Year, but an outreach of Falun Gong, that is banned in China."


On March 31, 2008, the Melbourne-based Australian newspaper The Age reported: "Many performers of the show are Chinese exiles who follow Falun Gong. Lead dancer and assistant company manager Vina Lee said the show told traditional spiritual stories suppressed by the Chinese Government."


Organizers of the show also admitted: The programs peppered with political contents. When Simone Gao, one of the show's producers received the interview of Los Angeles Times, said, "In one piece, policemen come in and drag the practitioners off and beat them Later on, the people in the park start to stand up and block the police, and eventually the police retreat." (Ties to Falun Gong Add Controversy to the Chinese New Year Spectacular, Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2008)


Furthermore, many organizers of the show were activists of the anti-Chinese government movement. For example, Leeshai Lemish, who served as a compeer of the show at New York City in recent years, was actually a journalist for Epoch Times. In 2001, he was detained on charges of putting up slogans at Tian'anmen Square.


Falun Gong deliberately denied its relations with the "Divine Performing Arts Show," solicited sponsorship by cheating, and inveigled celebrities into supporting the show.


On May 24, 2008, when answering questions raised by Falun Gong followers on the Fa teaching conference at New York City, Li Hongzhi taught his students how to ask for financial support.


Q: In order to seek financial support for the Divine Performing Arts show, we are sending out letters to places all over the world. Is it OK to mention Falun Gong, "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance," NTDTV, Divine Performing Arts show as one thing in our letters?


Li: At present, no one would deny that the NTDTV is sponsored by our Dafa disciples. And the whole world knows that "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance" is the cultivation principle of Dafa disciples. You seem to say, is it right to mention it while seeking financial support. I'll tell you what. When you ask for financial support, do not regard it as asking for money; take it as saving people. Tell him, you have a bright future if you help us; otherwise you are hopeless. So you go and tell him the truth, that's the first thing you should do; and saving people is always the first thing we should do.


On February 6, 2008, the American newspaper New York Times reported: "John Campi, vice president for promotion and community affairs at The Daily News, one of the listed sponsors, said the newspaper's sponsorship involved trading a one-page ad in the paper for a Daily News ad on the back cover of the program. "I had heard that they were connected with a political group, and I said if this show is political, I'm not getting into it," he said, "And they said it wasn't."


In January 2006, according to usual practice, US president George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote congratulatory letters to Chinese people on occasion of the Chinese lunar New Year. Falun Gong released news on Epoch Times, NTDTV and other media, claiming that the letters were written especially for Falun Gong's Divine Performing Arts shows.


On January 20, 2007, the Associated Press published an article Falun Gong Show Called Propagandas, pointing out: "The show's program features letters of support from a long list of American officials, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Aides for Schwarzenegger and Boxer said they had simply responded to requests for Chinese New Year greetings, and hadn't seen the show and weren't aware of its Falun Gong connections."


The New York Times also reported: The brochures include what appears to be an endorsement quotation from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg "Brings to life the rich traditions of ancient China right here in the Big Apple." However, a spokesman for the mayor, John Gallagher, said that Mr. Bloomberg had neither seen the show nor praised it, and that the quotation may have been taken from a greeting card Mr. Bloomberg sent to Chinese-American organizations in which he saluted Chinese New Year celebrations in general."


On January 23, 2008, the Minghui Net boasted: "The vice president of Hilton acclaimed Ren Fengwu as one of the world's top-level lead dancers." Actually, the "vice president of Hilton" mentioned above was just a branch manager assistant at Las Vegas Hilton Hotel; and Ren Fengwu was a professional dancer at the "New Tang Dynasty Divine Performing Arts" troupe.


On March 7, 2008, Martin Rundkvist, a Sweden archaeologist, wrote in his personal Blog: "Who really lies behind the show isn't readily apparent from the posters, as it lists mainly newspapers and other media companies (Epoch Times, New Tang Dynasty Television and others) as its supporters. These are all, however, controlled by Falun Gong, and that's where the profits end up."


Judging from facts, it can be seen that the so-called "Divine Performing Arts Show" is a mere political instrument employed by Falun Gong to expand its influence and engage in cultic and anti-China activities. The show, deceiving people and fooling audience, brings disgrace and misrepresentation on the Chinese culture.