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Comments on the New York Times Article about the Chinese New Year Splendor Show

February 12, 2008 |  

(Clearwisdom.net) A total of fifteen performances of Chinese New Year Splendor were given at Radio City Music Hall during the Chiense New Year holiday season, much to the delight of a vast array of attendees.

Good things are sometimes accompanied by setbacks. On February 6, a reporter from the New York Times (NYT), ignoring the overwhelming proportion of warm and positive responses from audience members, published an article full of seemingly biased opinions and comments that could mislead readers. The Chinese Communist regime's mouthpieces, China Press and China News Net, reacted as if they had hit the jackpot and went on to exaggerate and distort the facts with ever-growing intensity.

New York Times Article Could Mislead Readers

In Western society, balanced reporting is a central tenant of journalistic professionalism. The article in question however, published in the NYT about the Chinese New Year Splendor, seems to have forgone this long-enshrined value in favor of a lopsided sensationalism. The show had an audience of 5000-6000, and most theatergoers enjoyed it immensely, yet the reporter chose to ignore this fact and focus mostly on describing a few people who left the theater early, including only one positive comment.

One of many facts the reporter ignored was the diverse array of attendees who shared in their enthusiasm for the show. One example is that of Foregin Press Association President Alan Capper called that particular Chinese New Year Splendor performance "superb." "The entire production is superb. It has grace. It has spectacle. It has unique qualities that you cannot see in any other production and, perhaps, five thousand years of culture, you may expect nothing less than this." Mr. Alan Capper is an expert in media and a co-author of The Public Relations Case Book, which is widely used in universities around the world.

Mr. Roger Bello, an usher at Radio City Music Hall said, "In the three years that I've worked here, I've seen a lot of shows--Broadway shows and concerts--but this show is really special. There is nothing that I've seen here that I can compare it with. It's just truly wonderful."

Mr. Timothy J. Lord, managing director of Bear Stearns Asset Management, a well-known asset management company on Wall Street, told a reporter that the show was very beautiful. He and his wife enjoyed it very much. He said, "The projections, the music, the costumes have no match."

Again at the same showing, world class violinist Eric Shumsky said, "I was mesmerized immediately with the incredibly felt performances from all the artists. The Chinese New Year Splendor is an evening of performance never to forget!"

In San Francisco, the Chinese New Year Spectacular was praised as "top class" by Beyond Chron, a newspaper which often comments on performances shown in San Francisco.

Critic Richard Connema from Talkin' Broadway has seen over 2,000 Broadway shows. When commenting on the Chinese New Year Splendor he said, "They are the best projections I have seen in a very long time." He thinks the Chinese New Year Splendor is truly spectacular, from the beginning to the end. In his commentary, he wrote, "This state of the art show contains captivating dancers, traditional costumes, and mini-dance drama with narratives about Chinese legends and historical characters and events. The impressive production covers 5000 years of Chinese history and tradition in two hours with one intermission."

In view of all these comments, it is very hard to explain the overall negative tone of the New York Times article.

Arts, Values and Humanity

It would seem that the NYT reporter mistook the presence of words like "suppression" and "persecution" to signify some sort of political agenda. But the cultural values of traditional China esteem integrity, kindness, and beauty -- things that run deep in the human spirit. The pages of Chinese history are full of stories of those who, acting on these values, have stood up to challenge tyranny, cruelty, and injustice. That same spirit shines through in the show, and is true to what is best, and basic, to classical Chinese culture.

This show presents historical facts through performing arts. The unprecedented injustice of an eight-year-long persecution of Falun Gong is depicted, which has caused the suffering of countless victims. Just as Mrs. Sidudia, the wife of a NY businessman, said, "I'm a Christian. If we can use art forms to depict the suffering of Jesus, why can't people use the performing arts to tell about the persecution of Falun Gong?"

In my view, if the show did not include the few performances about how Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate their kind human nature and hope, then the profound significance and connotation of the whole show would have been diluted. A Chinese entrepreneur who saw the show described it, "This is real Chinese traditional culture and history, a celebration of the spirit of humanity. The kindness and compassion portrayed in the show encompass the very foundation of human civilization and reach deeply into people's souls."

As a pillar of mainstream media, the NYT should take it as its unshakable duty to expose the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist regime.

Reflecting on the Repercussions of the NYT Article

After the publication of the report, the CCP's mouthpieces, China Press in New York and China News in mainland China, immediately published follow-up articles, and through a few carefully made "errors" in translation, the number of people leaving the theater seems to have multiplied several times. However, to their probable dismay, the Chinese New Year Splendor enjoyed a full house almost every show afterwards.

A managing director of a transportation company said, "I know there was a article in the New York Times about the show. I couldn't care less what it says. I 'm very happy I have come. I noticed that people around me all bought tickets in the chain store that day. Nobody was bothered by the New York Times. They all came tonight." He emphasized, "This is America. People have space to think independently and make decisions. This is the American spirit."

Dr. Angus from New Jersey said, "I really enjoyed the show. You can't trust that article. The singing, the dances, the choreography, and the dance dramas were all very good. It's a new experience for me to see the show. The show is much much better than what was reported in the article."

Mrs. Hamida, also from New Jersey, who came to the show with her family, put it more bluntly, "The people like you and me who come and see the show are the ones really qualified as critics. We'll pass on a good word about the show. The Times can take their article and leave it in the sun!"

An interior designer felt the show was much better than she anticipated. She said the article in the NYT was shameful and that they should apologize.

Dr. Ronald A. Sablosky, a banker and an executive vice president of Business Outsourcing Solutions, is also trained in law. He and his wife, Mary Ann Okles, vice publisher of New York Family, came to the show on February 7. After the show he said, "It was not fair at all, but, understand, there's a lot of times they do things that are unfair, so this is not the first. And if one understands that, then one doesn't worry very much [about] what they say."

Sablosky was one who was not deterred by the NYT article. "It certainly did not dissuade us from coming, and I don't think it should dissuade anyone, because it really is highly unfair. And it might even be construed as unethical." It seems the NYT article only brings shame to itself.

The Public Judges for Itself

The Chinese New Year Splendor has touched the hearts of people from all walks of life and helped them gain a deeper understanding of the depth of Chinese traditional culture. NY Senator Roy Goodman praised the show, "This is a magnificent show! I like the Chinese culture, especially the eastern music and instruments. Very interesting, really beautiful. This is a very pleasant experience."

Mr. John Qin, a Chinese from Shanghai, said, "The performance is very good, the standard is exceptionally high. I couldn't hold back my tears. It was unusually touching."

Lin Meicheng from mainland China, an employee at a high-class hotel said, "This show has let the whole world see our Chinese culture and spirit, and enabled more people to understand us. As a Chinese, I feel very proud."

Lawyer Wang Weishan, a PhD graduate from The City University of New York (CUNY), is from Hebei Province. He said, "This show has presented Chinese national culture to the world. I am very proud of our Chinese culture. This show is totally different from what we saw in China. I don't like that politicized stuff in China. Arts are arts, and should not be politicized. This show is about the pure Chinese culture. It not only allows us Chinese people to experience the profoundness of the Chinese culture, but also promotes our Chinese culture to Western society, and helps them understand more about the Chinese culture. It is very good."

Many more Chinese people shared Dr. Wang's sentiments after seeing the show. Such real feedback from the audience may serve as the best response to the Communist regime's defamatory propaganda, and the NYT review.