A friend who works for the New Tang Dynasty TV (NTD TV), whose job it is to collect, create, and show Chinese video materials, invited me to its “Chinese New Year Spectacular,” which was presented on Sunday, Jan. 4, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in downtown Brooklyn. NTD TV is an independent Chinese organization located in New York.
After the show, I was interviewed on my thoughts.
The audience was tremendous — the large auditorium was booked to capacity; some people came with children. The “Spectacular” seemed to be intended for all ages.
The space above the floor of the stage could well accommodate a three-story building, and the video images of every scene created the impression that the actors on stage were in the Rocky Mountains, or in a splendid art gallery, or in whatever environment the scene required.
The “Spectacular” consisted of a series of short danced parables, novellas with anecdotes, introduced, within a circle of light, by a gentleman speaking English and a woman speaking Chinese. The introductions were humorous stories in themselves, and at the end of each, the gentleman graciously showed the woman the way to exit ahead of him, and then followed her. The curtain went up, and a danced parable followed amid video decorations.
Every nation tends to perceive another nation through its own stereotypes. When Marco Polo (1254-1324) traveled in China he believed that his Italy was a “civilized country” in contrast to China.
The Chinese believed that the West Europeans were savages. They learned of the gas for lighting, cooking, and heating more than 20 centuries after the Chinese. The West knew neither silk nor porcelain when Marco Polo was traveling in China. Book printing appeared in China earlier than in Western Europe. Newton’s calculus had been developed in China before Newton.
Marco Polo forgot that as he was traveling in China, the Inquisition was developing in Europe, and then existed for centuries. A West European was not free even to think on his or her own.
Certainly, Marco Polo could not imagine that after centuries of civilization in Italy, the Italian word “fascism” would become global, denoting the aggressive militarized slave state that had originated in Italy.
According to the dissident newspaper the Epoch Times, 47 million Chinese have refused to think as the dictators wanted them to, and left the Communist Party from January 2005 to December 2008, that is, in four years!
An unprecedented case! Heretics in Italy did not leave the Roman Catholic Church when it was omnipotent — they only tried to pretend that they did not think on their own.
If any member of the Soviet Communist Party dared to declare the desire to leave it because that person wanted to be a free thinker, that person would be sent to a concentration camp for life — as the most lenient punishment.
“The Chinese New Year Spectacular” makes it possible to view the Chinese not as foreign stereotypes representing Chinese as obedient slaves used to slavery and thinking only about how to save themselves from their ruthless owners’ ire, but as people of tremendous vitality. Amazingly, 47 million even left the Communist Party; this required as much love of freedom as it would for West European heretics to challenge and leave the Roman Catholic Church when it was omnipotent.
Are Westerners as bold as these defiant Chinese? The dictators of China understand that it is easier to annihilate the free West with post-nuclear (such as nano) weapons than keep their slaves from looking at the free West and hoping to be as free (recall the replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square in 1989).
The “Spectacular” shows the tremendous vitality of the Chinese — their love of freedom, contrary to foreign stereotypes of them. What is more important for mankind? Scene after scene of dance, speaking to Westerners and Chinese alike, as well as three powerful solo singers, represent the life of the Chinese as they really are, unexpectedly to many Westerners.
However, the audience was obviously on the same spiritual wavelength, and each scene was also accompanied by its applause and whistles. Since to me, as a former Russian, a whistle still connotes disapproval, I alone shouted “Bravo!”
This is what I want to apply to the whole “Spectacular”—“Bravo!” It is full of sparkling colorful life, beauty, joy, and wit.
It is invaluable for the West, which has been cut off from the living China by its rulers, whose agents, in one of the novellas, were dressed in black tunics with red hammer-and-sickle symbols all over them.
Well, dark tunics conjure up fascism or national socialism, and the red hammer-and-sickle symbols (Soviet) communism. As The Wall Street Journal subtitled a July 19, 2008, article that appeared in Yahoo!: “Beijing today is more Fascist than Communist.”
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