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Thread: FALUN GONG/Falun Dafa

  1. #1396
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    Shen Yun

    You've seen the ads. But what's the deal with Shen Yun?
    By Alix Martichoux, SFGATE Updated 1:24 pm PST, Saturday, December 22, 2018


    Photo: NewTang Dynasty TV
    Photos provided by Shen Yun Performing Arts show a portion of the dance show.

    Unless you live under a rock, you've probably seen a billboard or heard dozens of ads for Shen Yun Performing Arts.

    In the Bay Area, people are so used to seeing the ads on TV and on the sides of buses come December, people even joke winter should be renamed "Shen Yun season." Since I started writing this article about two minutes ago, I've already seen a Shen Yun spot run on KTVU.

    Jonathan Kauffman

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    San Francisco seasons, 2017-2018:
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    But what is it? The answer is a little complicated.

    Shen Yun bills itself as "the world's premier classical Chinese dance and music company." They have performances in 93 cities around the country, from Billings, Mont., to Little Rock, Ark., to three Bay Area locations. The dress code suggests you might want to wear a tuxedo or evening gown since you're "in for a special treat." If you buy a ticket to a show (which run from $80 to $400 in San Francisco), you can expect two hours of traditional Chinese dance accompanied by a live orchestra.

    And if you're to believe Shen Yun's own advertisements, you'll get so much more. The hyperbolic 2018 ad promises the performance will "move you to tears" and change how you see the world.



    The former minister of culture of the Czech Republic is quoted in the advertisement calling it "truly a touch of heaven."

    But (surprise, surprise), the ads may be overselling it a bit.

    Some people who go to the show complain they didn't know what they were in for. Because nowhere in the effusive advertisements is it mentioned that Shen Yun has a political bent. Shen Yun translates to "divine rhythm," and according to the show's website, the artists who put on Shen Yun practice Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a belief system that encompasses meditation, tai chi-type exercises, and "strict morality" (smoking, alcohol, and extramarital or same-sex sexual relations go against the teachings).

    A 2017 Guardian article by Nicholas Hune-Brown describes one part of the show:

    The curtain rose on a group of young students sitting in peace, meditating and reading oversized yellow Falun Gong books. The dancers performed elaborately pantomimed good deeds – helping an old woman with a cane, chasing down a woman who had dropped her purse. But when one unveiled a Falun Gong banner, suddenly a trio of men wearing black tunics emblazoned with a red hammer-and-sickle entered. The communist thugs began beating people up, clubbing and kicking innocent Falun Gong followers.

    Scenes like that didn't sit well with all viewers.

    The Fresno Bee's arts writer Donald Munro saw Shen Yun in 2016, and called the show "a beautiful and odd production that veers wildly between two extremes: delicate artistic excellence on one hand and a brusque, heavy-handed effort to inculcate political and spiritual viewpoints on the other."

    Many people posting reviews on Yelp weren't as eloquent.

    "Be warned: Religious sermon!" reads a Yelp review from someone who saw the show in Fresno. "I WALKED OUT as soon as anti-evolution statements were made on the screen. False advertising!"

    "I rate this a Zero star. This show is purely CULT PROPAGANDA. Do not waste your money and time for this," said Ron F. from Pittsburg, Calif.

    The Chinese government is not a fan either. The practice of Falun Gong is forbidden in China and its members are routinely persecuted. In condemning the "so-called 'Shen Yun'" performance, the embassy's website calls Falun Gong a "...cult that seriously harms the society and violates human rights, and is a cancer in the body of the modern and civilized society."

    The Guardian reports "there's no evidence of the kind of coercive control that the label suggests." Besides, it's not like the Chinese government has a stellar human rights record. According to Shen Yun's website, many of the dance company's members were persecuted and tortured for practicing Falun Gong in China.

    Falun Gong started as a form of exercise in 1992. Followers would gather in public spaces to do qigong, which combines slow movements and meditation. Falun Gong combined those physical practices with spirituality and Taoist moral principles. In the late 90s, as Falun Gong gained steam and millions of followers, the Chinese Communist Party may have felt threatened by its size and popularity, so it cracked down. Thousands of practitioners were imprisoned or in some cases tortured. The founder, Li Hongzhi, now lives in New York.

    Multiple attempts to speak with a Shen Yun spokesperson, by phone and by email, for this story were unsuccessful.

    Love it or hate it, Shen Yun has provoked some strong opinions. Here's a selection of Yelp reviews of Shen Yun's Bay Ares shows.

    For many disgruntled Shen Yun attendees, it's not necessarily that the show itself is bad — though to be fair, some complain it is. Most of the negative reviews were people upset they were blindsided by the political content.

    According to Shen Yun's website, it's an "experience like no other." And on that note, it appears pretty much everyone agrees.
    If you live in the SF Bay Area, the inundation of Shen Yun ads is ridiculous, bigger than any promotion right now. They got major bank for that kind of advertising blitz.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  2. #1397
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    More on Shen Yun

    I guess San Antonio sees this a little differently.

    Immerse Yourself in Chinese Culture at the Shen Yun Performance at the Tobin
    Posted By Bryan Rindfuss on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 10:04 am


    Courtesy of Shen Yun Performing Arts

    Dichotomies and conflicts abound in the contested world of Shen Yun, a New York-based outfit with a mission “to use performing arts to revive the essence of Chinese culture — traditionally considered a divinely inspired civilization.” For starters, the organization, which comprises five separate companies of roughly 40 dancers, each accompanied by live orchestras fusing Eastern and Western sounds, aims to preserve ancient Chinese traditions while performing in front of digitized scenery that’s been likened to everything from video-game graphics to IMAX movies.

    Far more important is the fact that Shen Yun is essentially the cultural arm of Falun Gong (aka Falun Dafa), a movement that arose from China’s “qigong boom” of the 1990s only to morph from a movement/breathing-based concept into a spiritual practice that’s ferociously condemned (and officially banned) by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a dangerous cult. Add to this equation that enigmatic, U.S.-based Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi has spoken publicly about alien invasions and his followers’ levitation abilities and it’s not surprising that folks often draw comparisons to the absurdities of scientology. Unwittingly, the CCP’s ongoing war with Falun Gong and Shen Yun — which runs the gamut from imprisonment and torture to global interference and the cancellation of performances — has inspired sympathy from Westerners and sparked Shen Yun to assume a more political stance.

    As a result, Shen Yun now addresses the persecution of Falun Gong followers in routines based on human-rights abuses and the criminalization of meditation. Further muddying the waters, Li has taken measures to separate the cash cow that is Shen Yun from Falun Gong — at its core a conservative entity that’s opposed to ****sexuality and premarital sex.

    Unsurprisingly, the majority of these details go largely unnoticed at Shen Yun’s frequently sold-out shows, where exhaustively trained dancers and acrobats move in pitch-perfect unison, gliding (levitating?) effortlessly through the air in elegant costumes adorned with yards of billowing fabric.




    $83.50-$183.50, 7:30pm Fri Dec. 28, 2pm & 7pm Sat Dec. 29, 1pm Sun Dec. 30, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #1398
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    Real Bodies...


    ‘Real Bodies’ in UK anatomical exhibition could be executed Chinese prisoners, says doctor

    The 20 skinless bodies, sourced via Dalian Medical University, have prompted calls for an investigation
    The Guardian
    Published: 12:47pm, 9 Aug, 2018


    Human remains are seen at the “Real Bodies” exhibition in Sydney, Australia, in April. The travelling anatomical show is currently in Birmingham in Britain. Photo: EPA

    The bodies of 20 people featured in a UK museum exhibition could be those of Chinese prisoners once detained in labour camps, and recipients of the death penalty in China, according to a leading doctor.
    The Real Bodies exhibition, currently at the Birmingham NEC, publicly displays the skinless preserved Chinese bodies. But there are now calls for an investigation into their identities and cause of death to be held while they are in the UK.
    The bodies were provided to the event organisers, Imagine Exhibitions, through the Dalian Medical University in China.
    Campaigner Dr David Nicholl, a consultant neurologist at City Hospital Birmingham, said that the university’s facilities in the city of Dalian were within driving distance of labour and prison camps.


    An attendant cleans an exhibit at the “Real Bodies” anatomical show in Sydney, in April. The travelling show is currently in Birmingham in Britain. Photo: EPA
    I have huge questions about why all these unclaimed bodies come from Dalian in sizeable numbers and how many bodies Imagine Exhibitions have actually got
    Dr David Nicholl, City Hospital Birmingham
    Coupled with the large number of bodies of the same age and gender, and the lack of any identity information, Nicholl suspects the bodies could be those of executed inmates.
    “I have huge questions about why all these unclaimed bodies come from Dalian in sizeable numbers and how many bodies Imagine Exhibitions have actually got,” he said.
    “My own registrar went to this exhibition. I asked him to note down the gender and age of the bodies. They are all young men – none of them are elderly, which I have to say is pretty suspicious given that there are a number of labour camps within a matter of hours’ drive of Dalian.
    “If you look at these exhibitions they are never gender balanced – it’s always largely men. Most people who die, die when they’re older, so to have an exhibition like this is really suspicious.”
    Nicholl says event organisers were never given consent by individuals or their families for the bodies to be used.
    “I think the public are being conned,” he said.
    “Why are we having exhibitions like this in this country if they can’t prove consent?”
    Israel banned the exhibition in 2012 in a decision taken by judges in the Israeli Supreme Court, said Nicholl.


    Human remains are seen at the “Real Bodies” exhibition in Sydney, Australia, in April. The travelling anatomical show is currently in Birmingham in Britain. Photo: EPA
    I refuse to entertain these ridiculous accusations without a shred of evidence to back these baseless claims
    Tom Zaller, president of Imagine Exhibitions
    US investigative reporter and author Ethan Gutmann also alleges that the bodies in the exhibition could be political prisoners who practised Falun Gong, a religion banned in China in the late 90s.
    This move is thought to have resulted in thousands of people being imprisoned and executed in labour camps.
    Gutmann believes that one of the places bodies of persecuted people may have been taken to was Dalian Medical University, as it is in the same province as Masanjia labour camp, one of the largest camps in China “specialising in Falun Gong”.
    “It’s a crime against humanity,” he said.
    “Several hundred thousand people were executed purely for being Falun Gong and you have a company which is potentially sending evidence all over the world.”
    Nicholl and Guttman are among the doctors, human rights activists, MPs and Lords who have signed a letter to Theresa May stating that the exhibition should be shut down.
    Guttman says he hopes the specimens will be DNA tested.
    “The DNA can be extracted and used to prove relations,” he said. “If we make some matches, we can identify family lines and you could ask them, do you have a missing person?
    “People in England have a right to know what they are seeing and people in China have a right to know what happened to their loved ones.”


    Human remains are seen at the “Real Bodies” exhibition in Sydney, Australia, in April. The travelling anatomical show is currently in Birmingham in Britain. Photo: EPA

    The Dalian Medical University released a statement in response saying: “All of these specimens are unclaimed bodies and are legally authorised to be received by the city morgue.
    “The specimens that are being presented in Real Bodies: The Exhibition were originally received from the city morgue and then transferred to medical universities in China and ultimately were legally donated to Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique Laboratory for preservation, dissection and exhibition.”
    The statement rejected allegations that the specimens died of unnatural causes, detailing that following inspection “there is absolutely no evidence” that they “received trauma or physical abuse associated with torture, execution or other violent injury”.
    The president of Imagine Exhibitions, Tom Zaller, called the suspicions about the bodies “fake news”.
    “I refuse to entertain these ridiculous accusations without a shred of evidence to back these baseless claims,” he said.
    The exhibition includes more than 200 human organs, foetuses and body parts, also sourced from China, and has already been viewed by millions around the world.

    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: bodies on show ‘could be executed prisoners’
    THREADS
    Where Shaolin Promoters hide the bodies...
    FALUN GONG/Falun Dafa
    Gene Ching
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  4. #1399
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    fake

    Dec 21, 2019 Ξ
    Hundreds of fake Facebook profiles tied to Epoch Times
    posted by Randall



    Facebook Friday removed hundreds of accounts generated by the Epoch Times which included profile photos produced using artificial intelligence, reported the New York Times.

    The Epoch Times is backed by the Falon Gong and tied to disinformation campaigns with a pro-Trump bias.

    “This was a large, brazen network that had multiple layers of fake accounts and automation that systematically posted content with two ideological focuses: support of Donald Trump and opposition to the Chinese government,” Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, said to the New York Times.

    It featured the fake news Trump likes to rail about except of course when it benefits him. The Epoch Media group denied to the New York Times that it is behind the accounts removed by Facebook and claimed Facebook did not contact it.

    The Epoch Media Group acknowledged some of its former employees are involved with the banned accounts, but said that is not evidence of a connection.

    According to Fast Company, the Epoch Times strongly opposes the Chinese communist party with a decidedly strong pro-Trump bias.

    In August, NBC News reported the Epoch Times purchased 11,000 pro-Trump ads on Facebook at a cost of $1.5 million in six months. The ads spread conspiracy theories and criticized “fake news” media. Facebook banned the Epoch Times from advertising following the report.

    Both the Epoch Times and the Shen Yun dance troupe make up the bulk of the outreach efforts of the Falon Gong. The Falon Gong is a spiritual practice in China which the Chinese government began to consider a threat in 1999 due to its large following.
    Shen Yun is in the SF area now and once again, we're overwhelmed by the amount of advertising - billboards, TV commercials, web ads - Falun Gong has bank.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #1400
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    Note that this is Epoch Times

    I wonder if Mr. Dacy realizes what this might do to his visa application if he ever wants to go to PRC.

    Shen Yun Is ‘One of the Greatest Things I’ve Ever Seen’ Says Kung Fu Teacher
    January 27, 2020


    Ryan Dacy enjoyed Shen Yun at the San Diego Civic Theater, on Jan. 26, 2020. (Jana Li/The Epoch Times)

    SAN DIEGO—Culture is like a diamond. It has many facets. Traditional Chinese culture is especially rich in variety and depth, having given rise to martial arts such as kung fu and the highly expressive, technically stunning art form known as classical Chinese dance.

    Out of New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is touring the world, showcasing traditional Chinese culture’s many facets. At the San Diego Civic Theater on Jan. 26, 2020, a local kung fu teacher Ryan Dacy took in Shen Yun and said “it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.”

    Ryan Dacy teaches “choy li fut” style of kung fu at White Dragon Martial Arts School near San Diego. He praised Shen Yun from the point of view of a martial artist.

    “It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. Watching it and I can see the kung fu and martial arts aspects of it. The amount of trainings and stuff that go into it. It’s absolutely beautiful. The mixture of the slow and fast. Very kind of tai chi-esque. It’s just absolutely amazing. I love the stories behind it, too. It’s beautiful. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve seen,” Dacy said.

    Dacy felt that the tumbling, flipping, jumping and kicking moves seen in Shen Yun had a connection to his own martial arts practice. It’s true that classical Chinese dance developed in parallel to martial arts, just as the word for dance and the word for martial arts in Chinese are ****nyms.

    Dacy said that the dancers’ dedication parallels the principles required in his classes. “And the motivation to learn these very specific skills. And timing is something that we want to work on when I teach my students, is working on that timing, waiting for that perfect time. To strike with that perfect time, to do that spin rounds that really make the eyes opened. Wow, that’s amazing,” he said.



    A hallmark of authentic Chinese culture is its depth of emotion and long history of profound legends. Dacy felt strong feelings from some of the touching stories on stage that day.

    “A lot of emotions for different parts,” he said. He described one piece in particular, “Abetting the Wicked,” and the profound sacrifice and redemption that was acted out.

    Sorrow and hope, fear and compassion intersect in the piece Dacy referred to, which depicts real scenes from the persecution of innocent spiritual believers in China today.

    “What I got from it was, you know, that the family and the brotherly love is just more important than—the rights and freedom is more important than just a job,” Dacy said.

    Various aspects of the production lent to the emotional impact of the storytelling.

    “The music is beautiful. I used to be in a band when I was in middle school. So, I like the music. It really makes you feel the emotion behind what they are doing. The show just tells you this story. You don’t need the words for the stories to be told,” Dacy added.

    Dacy spoke more about the performance’s classical Chinese dance and its patented backdrops.

    “I love it so much. They did an amazing job,” he said.

    “The backdrop is impressive. … I have not seen an incorporation like that. For the one that, ‘boom,’ and he has in his hands. That’s [a] fantastic job how they incorporated it. The music and dancing—like perfect on sync for everything. That must have taken years of practicing. It’s really impressive.”


    Shen Yun Performing Arts Global Company’s curtain call at the San Diego Civic Theater, on Jan. 26, 2020. (The Epoch Times)

    “I highly recommend it. I am going to tell some of the other instructors about it because I can see the martial arts aspects of it. And I absolutely recommend it,” Dacy added.

    With reporting by Jana Li and Brett Featherstone.
    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.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #1401
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    Shen Yun must be in LA now...




    Inside the Shadowy World of Shen Yun and Its Secret Pro-Trump Ties

    The touring dance extravaganza’s parent organization is reportedly spending big bucks to promote the president on Facebook
    By Samuel Braslow -March 9, 2020

    Each spring the city is flooded by a deluge of advertising—from bright, colorful billboards to glossy mailers to round-the-clock TV commercials—heralding the imminent arrival of a quirky Chinese dance troupe named Shen Yun. Since the group first appeared in L.A. a decade ago, its exotic mix of traditional Chinese dance, Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics, and anticommunist messaging has won a devoted audience. Critics may scoff at its outre theatrics, and the Chinese government has dismissed it as an “anti-society cult” with “tacky taste and low artistic standards,” but the show regularly sells out across the country. This year, as Shen Yun prepares for a six-week run in Southern California in May, it is coming under scrutiny for its close association with the Epoch Times, a fiercely pro-Trump conspiracy website recently mired in scandal for its ties to a massive network of fraudulent Facebook accounts.

    Both Shen Yun and Epoch Times are funded and operated by members of Falun Gong, a controversial spiritual group that was banned by China’s government in 1999. Less a religion than a spiritual doctrine, Falun Gong melds traditional Taoist principles with occasionally bizarre pronouncements from its Chinese-born founder and leader, Li Hongzhi. Among other pronouncements, Li has claimed that aliens started invading human minds in the beginning of the 20th century, leading to mass corruption and the invention of computers. He has also denounced feminism and ****sexuality and claimed he can walk through walls and levitate. But the central tenet of the group’s wide-ranging belief system is its fierce opposition to communism.

    In 2000, Li founded Epoch Times to disseminate Falun Gong talking points to American readers. Six years later he launched Shen Yun as another vehicle to promote his teachings to mainstream Western audiences. Over the years Shen Yun and Epoch Times, while nominally separate organizations, have operated in tandem in Falun Gong’s ongoing PR campaign against the Chinese government, taking directions from Li.


    Members of Falun Gong sat in silent protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles
    PHOTO BY KEIPHER MCKENNIE/GETTY IMAGES)

    Despite its conservative agenda, Epoch Times took pains until recently to avoid wading into partisan U.S. politics. That all changed in June 2015 after Donald Trump descended on a golden escalator to announce his presidential candidacy, proclaiming that he “beat China all the time.” In Trump, Falun Gong saw more than just an ally—it saw a savior. As a former Epoch Times editor told NBC News, the group’s leaders “believe that Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the communist party.”

    Relatively unknown before 2016, Epoch Times enjoyed a surge in traffic after the presidential election thanks to stridently pro-Trump content. NBC News reported in 2017 that the site was drawing millions of visitors a year, more than The New York Times and CNN combined. But Falun Gong didn’t restrict its pro-Trump stance to the paper.
    Facebook revealed in December that Epoch Media Group, which publishes Epoch Times, had furtively pumped nearly $10 million in ads through a hidden network of fake accounts and pages. In the past few years it has produced more pro-Trump advertising than any other group, including the Trump campaign. The ads have promoted anti-impeachment sentiment, anticommunist propaganda, and conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and other opponents of the president.


    SHEN YUN ON YOUTUBE

    Though Shen Yun and Epoch Times both fall under Falun Gong’s umbrella, the parent organization’s politics haven’t seemed to have impacted the dance troupe’s bottom line. According to public filings, Shen Yun generated nearly $30 million in revenue in 2017, the most recent year for which records are available—a $7 million increase from the year before. But Shen Yun spends none of its own money on marketing. Instead it relies on a vast army of devout volunteers and donors who produce ads, buy billboards, and send out millions of mailers promoting the show.

    Among Falun Gong members there is an “expectation that all practitioners … basically put their lives on hold for the weeks or even months leading up to [Shen Yun’s shows],” a former member wrote in Medium. A San Francisco Chronicle story reported that from 2015 to 2017 Shen Yun-linked groups spent at least $39.3 million on advertising—a staggering amount for a nonprofit of its size. (For comparison, fashion house Guess spent $37.1 million worldwide in 2017.) While employing such massive resources to benefit a cultural exposition seems harmless, using the same apparatus to influence a presidential election is more problematic. Facebook removed over 600 accounts tied to Epoch Times, but by that point, the group’s 55 million Facebook followers had already been exposed to a flurry of misleading ads, antivaxxer talking points, and QAnon conspiracies.

    Now if only Facebook could do something about the billboards.
    If you live in a major metropolis, do you get inundated with Shen Yun propaganda? If so, where? And if you don't, have you ever seen these Shen Yun billboards? Here in the SF Bay Area, the ads are EVERYWHERE. They are worse than the Bloomberg presidential ads were a few weeks ago.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #1402
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    If you live in a major metropolis, do you get inundated with Shen Yun propaganda? If so, where? And if you don't, have you ever seen these Shen Yun billboards? Here in the SF Bay Area, the ads are EVERYWHERE. They are worse than the Bloomberg presidential ads were a few weeks ago.
    I get their stuff in the mail quite often, and I see their ads on TV a lot as well. The mailers go straight into the recycle bin.

    Falun Gong’s beliefs around Trump remind me of when I heard some Christian evangelicals equating Trump to Jesus Christ(!).

    If they believe that Trump was sent by Heaven to destroy the CCP, they’re going to be badly disappointed. He doesn’t have anywhere near the power nor the motivation. If I were a betting man, I’d say that the CCP will be around long after Trump has shuffled off this mortal coil, and it will probably outlive all of us. Do I like communism? No. But you must be a realist about these things.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-11-2020 at 09:33 AM.

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