Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a self-improvement practice based on the principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance. It has its roots in ancient Chinese culture and traditions.
The primary focus of Falun Gong is for practitioners to ※cultivate§ or develop and refine the fundamental nature of their hearts and minds, known as xinxing. They improve their xinxing by following the highest principles of the universe --Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance-- and by striving to be good people in all respects. By not arguing, swearing or invoking violence, and by letting go of emotions like jealousy, competition, self-interest, greed and pride, practitioners can elevate their spirits. In this way, many practitioners have been able to relieve stress and anxiety and gain inner peace. Many notice improvements in their relationships with family members and coworkers. The environments around them become calmer and more harmonious. Physical well-being is also achieved through several series of gentle exercises and meditation. This peaceful practice is not affiliated with any religion or political organization. It is a personal path toward a better self.
Falun Gong was originally introduced to the public in China in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. At that time, he was invited by various qigong organizations to lecture in most of China＊s major cities. The main text of Falun Gong 每 called Zhuan Falun 每 is a compilation of these lectures. Falun Gong became quite popular in China during the two years that Mr. Li was teaching there. Toward the end of this period, four to five thousand people attended each seminar.
The Chinese government highly recommended Falun Gong to the general public. People who practiced were happier and healthier, which was saving the country billions of yuan in national healthcare costs. The Public Security Bureau and its affiliates recognized Falun Gong because it encouraged people to be good Samaritans and perform selfless acts. At the 1993 Health Expo in Beijing, Falun Gong won the most awards, including the highest 每 The Award for Advancing Frontier Science. Mr. Li was also honored with the title ※Qigong Master Most Acclaimed by the Masses.§
Today, Falun Gong is practiced in over 50 countries, and many people, their families, and their communities have benefited from the practice. This has won Mr. Li much international acclaim from governments and non-government organizations alike, as well as two Nobel Peace Prize nominations in 2000 and 2001.
※Destroy them financially, eliminate them physically＃§
As Falun Gong grew in popularity, so did the unfounded fears of China＊s president. A government survey in 1998 estimated that there were at least 70 million people practicing, while there were only 60 million in the communist party. Many party members, however, knew about Falun Gong and practiced it along with their families.
To the Jiang regime, these numbers were cause for alarm, and in 1996 the book Zhuan Falun was banned by the government. Earlier that same year, the book had been rated as one of China＊s top ten best-selling books by the Beijing Youth Daily.
Wave after wave of accusations and investigations followed. Many Falun Gong practitioners and practice sites were put under police surveillance. In some areas, police openly disrupted Falun Gong activities.
In April of 1999, an exceptionally slanderous article was published by the Tianjin College of Education. Many practitioners went to the publication office and other agencies in Tianjin to clarify the facts as allowed by government guidelines. They were peaceful, rational, and legal, but the Public Security Bureau called out the riot police instead. Many practitioners were beaten and injured, and 45 were arrested. When others went to the local authorities to request their release, they were told that they had to take their appeals to Beijing.
On April 25, 1999, approximately 10,000 people showed up to appeal at Zhongnanhai, headquarters for the government. The crowd was quiet and orderly, and silently waited to present their case to the authorities. Eventually, the Premier came out to meet the crowd and held a meeting with practitioners. The issue was resolved peacefully and agreeably. Western countries praised both sides for resolving the situation in such a positive way.
President Jiang, however, was alarmed by the event. Three months later on July 20th, he banned the practice of Falun Gong nationwide and began a crackdown that escalated into a brutal campaign of persecution.
A government agency called the 610 Office was established on June 10th to oversee the persecution when it was put into place. This agency is similar to the Nazi Gestapo and is independent and absolute in its rule. Even today, directives like ※destroy them financially and eliminate them physically§ originate from the 610 Office.
Many barbaric torture methods are used on Falun Gong practitioners. Hundreds have died as a result of the brutality. As of June 30, 2002, outside sources have verified 429 deaths, although sources inside China placed that number at over 2000. Hundreds have been illegally sentenced to prison terms without due process, and tens of thousands are being held in mental institutions, forced-labor camps, and detention centers. Countless practitioners have lost their friends, families, jobs, and homes. Relatives, classmates, and colleagues have also been implicated and punished for their association with Falun Gong practitioners.
※Count the deaths as suicides and cremate the bodies immediately.§
The state-run media is the government＊s primary tool in the campaign to defame Falun Gong. The government regularly fabricates damaging news stories about Falun Gong and Falun Gong practitioners and uses the media to circulate the stories widely throughout China and other countries. The most highly publicized example is the so-called self-immolation that took place in Tiananman Square on January 23rd, 2001. In that incident, five people reportedly set themselves on fire. The footage was quickly broadcast by the state-controlled media, which claimed that these people were Falun Gong practitioners.
There were many suspicious elements in the film. In one case, a policeman standing behind one victim seems to wait for a signal from the victim before using the blanket he is holding to put out the flames. Even more suspicious, a green plastic bottle between the victim＊s legs that supposedly contains gasoline never explodes or catches fire.
In another case, it is clearly evident that the flames on the woman who allegedly died from the self-immolation are extinguished. But she is then hit on the head and knocked down by an object thrown by a soldier in an overcoat. In the footage we can clearly see that the stick-shaped object bounces off her head on impact. It is not carried along in the flow from the fire extinguisher. She falls immediately. This analysis suggests that she did not die in the flames as the propaganda claims.
When these inconsistencies in the video were pointed out by analysts, they were removed from subsequent broadcasts by the Chinese media. Nevertheless, the International Education Development Bureau in its report to the United Nations stated:
※We have reached the conclusion after watching a videotape of this incident, that this incident has however been completely orchestrated by the government. We have copies of the videotape for distribution.§
Another tactic recently implemented during President Jiang＊s European tour in 2002 indicates that the persecution is spreading overseas. The regime circulated a blacklist to Iceland officials shortly before Jiang arrived in that country. The blacklist contained names of Falun Gong practitioners, and many were detained upon their arrival in Iceland. Many others were prohibited from boarding planes in cities all over Europe, North America, and Australia. The people of Iceland were outraged and protested the Chinese regime＊s tactics. Once Icelandic officials learned about Falun Gong and the persecution, the ban was lifted and the detained practitioners released.
The blacklist was also distributed to Hong Kong officials when Jiang visited for the 5th anniversary of Hong Kong＊s return to China. Many practitioners from all over the world were barred from entering the country, and many others were detained. Some were even thrown into sacks and beaten, while others were tied to stretchers and wrapped in canvas to keep them from being seen by the public.
At all costs, the truth about the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners is blocked from the Chinese public. Within China, foreign correspondents, including CNN reporters, have had their cameras and film confiscated. No third-party investigations have ever been allowed. The government blocks access to the information carried on the internet, cable and satellite TV transmissions. Practitioners＊ families are put under great pressure to remain silent, and they are threatened, abused, and often tortured. Practitioners who have died as a result of beatings or torture are not returned to their families. Officials have been ordered to ※count the deaths as suicides and cremate the bodies immediately.§
As a result, most citizens inside China are unaware of what is happening in their own country. Of those who are aware, most do not get involved because they are afraid. Outside of China, however, people all over the world are working to make these atrocities known to the international community.
Falun Gong practitioners are good people who believe in the fundamental principles that guide humanity 每 Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. They are mothers, fathers, teachers, artists, farmers, factory workers, students, and doctors 每 they come from all walks of life. The crimes against these good people must be brought to light. By working together toward this end, people of conscience the world over can help bring justice and peace to all humanity.