Boy attends vigil outside Chinese Embassy with mom—then finds a powerful voice in the silent art of dance

“Regardless of the outcome, we have all succeeded, because in terms of morality and conscience, we will always be in an invincible position.”

Tumbling, jumping, leaping, and flipping, Yangmuye “Ben” Chen, principal dancer of Shen Yun Performing Art—New York-based world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, has been using this beautiful art form to portray legends and historical figures on stage since 2011.

In one of Shen Yun’s ending piece—Divine Renaissance Begins, he depicted the story of a Falun Gong practitioner, who was being persecuted in China for his belief…

©Epoch Times

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient mind-body cultivation practice based upon the principles—Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.

With an estimated 70 to 100 million adherents in China, the Chinese Communist Party perceived Falun Gong’s presence as a threat to its authoritarian rule, and launched a brutal persecution to eradicate the practice on Jul. 20, 1999.


According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, millions of Falun Gong adherents have since been arrested and detained.  

“Over the past 18 years, numerous Falun Gong practitioners have lost their homes, jobs, even their lives,” said Erping Zhang, a Falun Gong spokesperson, The Epoch Times reported. “Worse still, there is the horrific crime of organ harvesting against these prisoners of conscience.”

©Epoch Times | Benjamin Chasteen

So, to inform the public about the persecution and to dispel the lies, Falun Gong practitioners around the world gave their all.

They hold parades, candlelight vigils, hand out flyers on the streets, and set up independent overseas websites and newspapers.

©Epoch Times | Benjamin Chasteen

“The key for us was to get the word out, to tell the Chinese people and the international community alike what was going on—this, at a time when the whole world was fed lies about us by the Chinese Communist Party’s overwhelming propaganda machine,” Ben wrote in a blog post published on Shen Yun website.

©YouTube Screenshot | Legends Unfolding – 傳奇時代

As Ben portrayed the role of a persecuted Falun Gong practitioner, he could feel “the joy of dancing for others.”

He realized their story is also “in a way, my own…”


©Shen Yun

Before Ben joined Shen Yun, to get the word out about the truth, he attended a peaceful 24/7 sit-in, held on the sidewalk facing the Chinese Embassy, in Portland Place, London.

The sit-in began on Jun. 5, 2002, when Ben was just an 11-year-old boy. For several months, he sat down on that sidewalk with his mom, Gao Yudong and many others—meditating, and had spent many nights sleeping in a roadside tent.

©Shen Yun

On weekdays, he woke up at 7 a.m., and brushed his teeth at the nearby McDonald’s. After putting on his school uniform, he took the London underground for about half an hour, then traveled another twenty minutes on the bus to get to school.

In the afternoon, he was back in Portland Place, doing his homework on the pathway.

©Shen Yun

Once, Ben asked his mom, “Mom, how long do we have to be here for?”

“Until the persecution ends,” Gao replied.

©Shen Yun

Oftentimes, many people, including Ben’s grandpa wondered, “Would their efforts paid off?”

“One should be rewarded for one’s efforts. But you work so hard without getting paid,” Ben’s grandpa wrote, in an email to his parents.

©Shen Yun

In reply to his grandpa’s email, Ben wrote: “I always believe that hardship can temper one’s character, enrich his experiences, and improve his morality. This is similar to the principles of cultivation. Of course we are not seeking suffering. But amidst life’s difficulties when other people mistreat me, even while being persecuted, I cannot give up. I have to walk my path with determination.”

“My parents were busy, because the persecution has been going on, and it still continues. Many people don’t know that. Human life is so precious. That’s why mom and dad may work day and night,” he continued.

©Shen Yun

“You said effort ought to be rewarded. This is certainly true. So many years have passed. No matter it was with our family’s situation, or with the way my parents raised me, we may not see the reward at the time. Instead, they will be shown many years later. Dad and mom’s efforts were not in vain.”

“Confucius taught justice and destiny,” he concluded. “Regardless of the outcome, we have all succeeded, because in terms of morality and conscience, we will always be in an invincible position.”

©Epoch Times | Dai Bing

Years later, Ben disappeared from the sidewalk. In 2008, he flew thousands of miles to New York to study at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, where he mastered the bearing, form, and technical skill of classical Chinese dance.

Since 2011, he has been a dancer in the Shen Yun Performing Arts’ world tours, and has embarked on a journey to share the true essence of Chinese culture on stage; and to tell the world what’s happening to Falun Gong adherents in China.

©Epoch Times | Chen Xiao Xiao

While Ben was overseas, his mother stayed put in the 24/7 sit-in.

Despite being cursed at by passersby who were oblivious to the truth, she sat there peacefully, day after day.

©Shen Yun

Every year in May, Ben will return to London to visit his parents. Whenever he is back, he will make a trip to the Chinese Embassy.

“When I sit there and sit down to meditate and do the exercises, just by myself, I feel really really peaceful. It just reminds me of everything we’re doing, and why we’re doing it,” said Ben in the documentary “Candlelight Across the Street.”


©Shen Yun

That day, when Ben was performing the ending piece—Divine Renaissance Begins, he felt like he was back outside the Chinese Embassy once again.

“So can you picture his excitement, as the curtain flies up for the last time, revealing a scene and a story from today’s China? Can you imagine his joys and sorrows, as teenage nostalgia and a decade of perseverance in wind and rain come flooding back to him in a moment on stage?” Ben wrote.

©Shen Yun

“But then on stage, the sound of the buses disappeared. It turned into the music from the orchestra pit,” he said.

“And it wasn’t just the few pedestrians walking passed. It was a full house, full of audience members there ready to listen to what we have to say through our performance.”

©YouTube Screenshot | Legends Unfolding – 傳奇時代

Suddenly, Ben felt he wasn’t dancing for himself anymore. He was dancing for the millions of practitioners around the world… for his mom sitting outside the Chinese Embassy…for the grandmas and grandpas handing out flyers on the streets…

And all of this was for the millions of Falun Gong practitioners suffering in China for having the same belief as he does… and for the people around the globe who believe “goodness will prevail.”

Watch Candlelight Across The Street




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[VIDEO] Why Jiang Zemin and CCP Persecute Falun Gong?