Letters of the week
Vancouver Courier - Apart from the flagrant attempts to influence Canadian politicians by the Chinese Communist Party, I'd like to draw attention to another aspect of the article.
Using artistic expression to share spiritual belief has been common since the dawn of history. Christianity inspired most of the great art of the West, such as the world famous painting of the Sistine Chapel to give one example. I am sure many of us enjoyed the masterpieces of Handel (The Messiah) and Schubert (Ave Maria). Such are the riches bequeathed to a multifaceted society that offers freedom of belief.
Before the Chinese Communist Party violently enforced its own state religion of atheism upon the Chinese people, there was a rich spiritual environment of Buddhism and Taoism. The CCP's Cultural Revolution saw the mass destruction of monasteries and temples, and the public humiliation, torture and murder of monks, nuns and other spiritual believers. Unfortunately, these barbaric practises have not gotten any better in the 21st century as witnessed by the violent suppression of Falun Gong practitioners, Christian house leader Uyghurs and Tibetans, plus any Chinese people of conscience who would support them. Using the power of art to expose persecution has been used by many valiant causes, many of which have been supported by Amnesty International.
The mission of Shen Yun is to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture. After more than 60 years of Communist rule in China, however, Shen Yun is showing that the deeper spiritual core of the ancient Chinese culture, with its values of benevolence, honour, propriety, wisdom and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed.
Sophia Bronwen, Vancouver
Letters of the week
Vancouver Courier (Canada) - Why am I not surprised. A Chinese official again tries to interfere in Canadian affairs, this time by asking Mayor Robertson not to attend the Shen Yun Performing Arts show. This is par for the course for Chinese consulates around the world when it comes to anything related to Falun Gong. They don't like Shen Yun because, in part at least, it uses art to expose the repression of Falun Gong and the horror Falun Gong practitioners go through in Chinese jails. Through the Cultural Revolution and other violent campaigns, the Chinese government gutted the traditional culture of China, and Shen Yun is reviving it. Beijing doesn't like that either, so they try to interfere with the show and bad-mouth it. The good news is, nobody really listens. From what I know, many government officials have gone to the show even though they received letters similar to Robertson's. Good for them for not allowing themselves to be bullied by a dictatorial regime.
Joan Quain, Victoria