Divine Performing Arts presentation of Chinese dance

My wife went with a friend to see this in Cupertino. For Westerners, it is certainly a visual treat to see a professional Chinese dance company, but my Chinese consultants ranked this as a B or B+. What was missing from the advertisements is that this is basically a proselytizing campaign for Falun Gong. Certainly I can’t protest about shows involving some proselytizing, but people should be up front about what they are inviting you to see, especially when there is a $50 per person ticket. Apparently a number of people expressed their annoyance by leaving during the intermission, so that the theater was considerably less full for the second half.

For those who don’t know, Falun Gong is a Buddhist / new age / meditation chop suey that has become a rapidly expanding religion. According to the Wikipedia link, it was started in 1992 in mainland China. Based on our experiences working with Falun Gong colleagues, the adherents believe that medical ailments can be healed through their meditation practices and they believe that they never need to see a doctor. As a practical matter, placebos have a 30% effectiveness rate, so undoubtedly there is a tangible benefit to this religion in the absence of medical care – or in the US where medical care is increasingly unaffordable. A more interesting problem is dealing with Falun Gong followers who do have medical insurance and are afflicted with a treatable ailment, such as a toothache. Sometimes a bit of gentle coercion is needed to get them into some treatment, but they certainly appreciate the help, even if they are precluded from admitting that it was effective.

 

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