You have people who have spent time in jail, a lot of people lost family members. The company has five separate touring troupes that carry out a dizzying schedule, a kind of Cirque du Soleil of the east backed by a seemingly bottomless publicity budget. A dozen women in red skirts and calf-high red boots smiled radiantly, arms outstretched, circling the stage while balanced on a single gleaming bicycle. During our conversation, my mother wandered over. And then in come the communists and destroy it all. The Chinese government kind of freaked out.
In one speech, Li admonishes his followers for not working hard enough to bring out the crowds.
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He ran, he leapt, and then the cast pointed to the screen, and to the final image of a man, meditating and beatific, at peace with the universe. At that moment, a screen in the lobby was playing an ad for an upcoming show by the National Chinese Acrobats. I f you live in a major city in the western hemisphere, you have probably seen the image: Everyone sat and meditated together, and suddenly the backdrop exploded into a kaleidoscope of colourful animations — monks descending from heaven, women in dresses swirling around, enacting a kind of orgy of celestial joy, presumably meant to mirror the inner ecstasy of spiritual enlightenment. Wherever Shen Yun goes, the Chinese government follows. Falun Gong followers formed media groups such as the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television, which are critical of the Chinese Communist party and have become key partners in pro-democracy movements.