Shen Yun Shows a More Comprehensive China, Says Former Assistant Secretary of State

March 30, 2022

Shen Yun Performing Arts returned to Honolulu, Hawaii, after two years. Audience members greeted their return with a full house and enthusiastic applause. The performers reciprocated their mahalo with two curtain calls.

“It’s a really great performance both as a piece of art and also a piece of culture,” said Colin Schneider, senior director of kWh Analytics.

“Just the level of excellence I think is really impressive and really attracts people to something like this,” said his wife, Annie Schneider, CEO of Startup Major.

“It was exhilarating, the choreography was on, and the costumes were just amazing,” said Christopher Hilacion, owner of WikiWiki Express Delivery.

“It’s nice to be able to capture the spiritual aspects of Chinese culture as well,” said David Stilwell, former assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Shen Yun means “the beauty of divine beings dancing.” The performance showcases 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through dance and music. Pieces depict subjects ranging from heavenly fairies to palace halls to Mongolian grasslands.

“The understanding of China—think about the Olympics recently—is driven by one main message source, and a lot of that information is not … comprehensive, doesn’t tell the whole story. And so things like this fill in the blanks,” said Stilwell. “There was one scene that was fairly harsh about the treatment of the people in China, those who don’t necessarily follow the party line.”

Under the Chinese Communist Party, people with spiritual beliefs are persecuted for their faith, as depicted in some of the pieces. But it is said the divine inspired most of traditional Chinese culture, which was also nearly lost under the current Chinese regime. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive it.

“I think it’s very important to know what the roots of your culture are firsthand so that you have a context for the future as well as the understanding of the past,” said Colin Schneider. “I think an understanding of the past helps you pave the way into the future.”

“I think it could be really applicable to any religion and thought processes and cultures and things like that. I also like that they had that dance about food, because I love food. So that was fun,” said Annie Schneider.

NTD News, Honolulu, Hawaii