Propaganda Watch–The Falun Gong Show

Chinese pole dancing, Photo by Greg

It’s that time of year again. For most of the year you can forget they exist. But around this time they pop up everywhere. At malls, farmer’s markets, anywhere a table or kiosk can be set up. I’m talking about Shen Yun ticket sellers. They promise an evening of traditional Chinese dance and acrobatics. However, this isn’t your typical Chinese Opera-style show. Instead it’s recruitment for Falun Gong.

Through the use of dance, Shen Yun has production numbers where peaceful Falun Gong members are abducted and tortured by Chinese soldiers. In the middle of another production number, a giant yellow banner emblazened with “Falun Gong is Good!” While people expecting a show without an agenda have stated they were blindsided by the content, the Epoch Times news service has published a litany of glowing reviews. In defense of the Shen Yun production team, while they don’t mention the connection in their advertising blitz, they do not try and hide their Falun Gong ties on their website.

What is the Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa)? It depends on who you ask. If you ask its followers, it’s a peaceful philosophy meant to create better people through exercise and meditation. According to the Shen Yun website:

This practice combines ancient teachings with meditation exercises. It centers on three core principles: truthfulness, compassion, tolerance. Its principal text is Zhuan Falun, which sometimes makes appearances in the performance.

Practicing Falun Dafa is more than just meditation, it’s a state of mind that guides daily life, oriented toward self-betterment, taking responsibility, and putting others first.

Shen Yun Performing Arts

If you ask its detractors (including the Chinese government) it’s a dangerous cult. Their loyalties to the “philosophy” come in stark contrast to the Chinese government’s demand for singular dedication. In their minds, this is enough to be decried as a dangerous cult.

Then again, this philosophy does teach that any kind of impurities are wrong. That includes homosexuality, modern medicine, the mixing of races, and any other questioning of the great leader, Master Li . If one can be pure enough, they will achieve a higher plane.

Some have said that thousands of Falun Gong followers are being detained by the Chinese government, a charge they deny. There is debate on whether or not that technically fits the definition of cult. There’s even debate whether or not the Chinese government has been harvesting the organs from Falun Gong prisoners.

One thing that isn’t debated is that the Falun Gong is one of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters. Outside Trump’s own campaign, the Falun Gong, with the help of its news division, The Epoch Times, have spent the most on pro-Trump advertising. They believe Trump will not only end communism, but bring about the end times.

Does this all mean you shouldn’t see Shen Yun at one of its over 130 productions across the globe? Not necessarily. Many people have enjoyed the performances. Just go in knowing what you’re in for, and where the money from your ticket is going.

THIS IS AN OPEN THREAD. Take care, and have a wonderful Christmas.

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