The promotions don’t tell you, but Shen Yun is not a PR initiative of the Chinese government (as I had assumed from the TV ads). Danica saw the show in Sydney and says it contains propaganda, alright, but not from the government, from Falun Gong, the religion.
You’ve probably been accosted on the street by Falun Gong believers, eager to let everybody know about persecution by the Chinese state. Although I don’t personally have any use for religion … heck, I don’t even like Star Wars … I don’t like religious persecution, either. So, rock and a hard place.
Danica provided this explainer link. The writer makes this point: “No matter how good the cause is, sneaking propaganda into a performance is a sure-fire way to leave the audience feeling tricked rather than moved.”