2/28/2011

Learning the Principles


Practitioners study the central text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, which outlines its moral philosophy and principles. 

The simplest expression of Falun Gong’s moral tenets is the phrase “Zhen, Shan, Ren,” or Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. As explained in the central text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, these principles are believed by practitioners to be the fundamental characteristic of our universe. Practitioners of Falun Gong seek to align themselves with these principles in their daily lives. In so doing, one gradually learns to think of others first and abandon thoughts of selfishness, jealousy, and anger.

 

Stretching and Opening Up 

A practitioner stretches skyward as she performs the first exercise of Falun Gong, “Buddha showing a thousand hands.”

For thousands of years, Chinese civilization has been imbued with a belief that a human being can, through spiritual practice, transcend this ordinary existence. A higher state of being is envisioned, one having its own privileged joys and knowledge. It is a state attained through disciplined moral cultivation and the pursuit of altruism, and it is the central goal of the practice of Falun Gong. 

 

 

Children in Harmony

Children practice Falun Gong meditation in China circa 1996.

Although its teachings are profound, the essence of Falun Gong's beliefs are simple enough to be understood and applied by persons of all ages and backgrounds. Many children learn the exercises quickly and enjoy the sensations of energy and calm they bring; some parents relay that Falun Gong is the first thing that got their child to sit still. 

 

Standing Tall

Practitioners of Falun Gong practice the second set of exercises in New York's Central Park.

In addition to its moral philosophy, Falun Gong involves five sets of relaxing, meditative exercises that can relieve stress, increase energy, and improve health.  These include four standing exercises as well as a seated meditation.

 

 Profound Exercises

Two sisters from Germany turn their palms as if holding a ball, part of the fourth exercise, "Falun heavenly circuit"

Falun Dafa is an ancient form of qigong--a practice of refining the body and mind through special exercises and meditation. Tai chi and other forms of qigong are a vital part of many people's lives in Asia. Since the Cultural Revolution, various qigong masters began publicly introducing their disciplines,  including some that had previously been transmitted to only a select few disciples every generation.  Some were rooted in Daoism, and others – including Falun Gong – in Buddhist tradition.

 

Calm, Like a Lake of Still Water

Sitting in a state of deep tranquility is part of Falun Gong's sitting meditation, "Strengthening divine powers."

An important principle in Falun Gong’s meditative exercises is that the practitioner does not enter into a state of trance. Instead, one seeks a state referred to as “an empty, yet conscious mind.” This principle relates to the overall philosophy of Falun Gong, which is practiced amidst the tribulations and worries of everyday life; one does not run away from his or her problems, because it is precisely through dealing with those problems in a positive manner that one makes true progress in his or her practice. 

 

Learning the exercises

The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi, correcting exercise movements of a student in Chicago. 

Though Falun Gong may seem exotic to those unfamiliar with Eastern traditions, its values are universal.  Since its introduction in 1992, Falun Dafa has been embraced by peoples in over 75 countries worldwide, and its central text, Zhuan Falun, has been translated into over 30 languages. 


Morning practice in Chengdu

Falun Gong practitioners in Chengdu, China, practice the first exercise, “Buddha showing a thousand hands.” 

Following its introduction to the public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong quickly grew to become the most popular form of qigong China had ever known.  By the late 1990s, tens of millions had been drawn to the practice by the simplicity and effectiveness of its exercises, and the profound resonance of its spiritual message.

 


Falun Gong Around the World

 

Persecuted in China, yet thriving in Taiwan

Falun Gong practitioners perform a special demonstration the exercise outside the National Theater in Taipei, Taiwan.

In stark contrast with persecution in Mainland China, Falun Dafa has flourished in Taiwan, where the government openly embraces the practice. Today, the number of Falun Gong adherents in Taiwan is estimated at 600,000. Several Falun Gong summer retreats for school teachers have been organized with the endorsement of the board of education, and practitioners of Falun Gong have also been welcomed into the nation's prisons so they can teach the practice to inmates.

 

Peaceful in Paris 

Falun Gong adherents practice meditation in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, silently protesting for the end of persecution in China.

In March, 1995, Falun Gong’s founder Mr. Li Hongzhi taught the principles of the practice at the Chinese embassy in Paris at the request of embassy officials. This marked the beginning of Falun Dafa’s spread outside of Mainland China. Today there are regular Falun Gong exercise sites in over 25 French cities and towns.  


 

Monumental 

Thousands of Falun Gong adherents from around the world practice meditation on the National Mall in Washington, DC. 

“It has been sixteen years since Mr. Li Hongzhi started publicly spreading Falun Dafa to the world community. This powerful spiritual practice that is based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance deserves to be commended.[…] Despite the persecution that continues in China, these beliefs continue to thrive. This is a fact to be extremely proud of.”
-- Massachusetts Congressman James P. McGovern


 

Falun Gong in the cradle of African civilization 

Ethiopian Falun Gong adherents practice the second set of meditative exercises. 

Beginning around 2004, Falun Gong began to spread widely across the African continent, from South Africa to Egypt; Ghana to Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, one of the oldest and most advanced historic civilizations in Africa, Falun Dafa became a legally registered entity in 2006, and its main text, Zhuan Falun, has been translated into Amharic.

 

 

Looking to the heavens in Argentina 

A Falun Gong practitioner performs during a celebration in Buenos Aires. The characters on the right read Truth, Compassion, Tolerance.

Though rooted in Asian spiritual traditions,  Falun Dafa’s principles have universal appeal, and the practice has spread to over 75 countries worldwide. In Latin America, regular Falun Gong practice sites can be found in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

 

 

Falun Dafa Day in Sydney 

Falun Gong practitioner meditate during a celebration in Sydney commemorating the tenth anniversary of Falun Gong’s introduction to the public.

Since the very beginning of Falun Gong’s spread in China and around the world,  a deeply enshrined principle of the practice is that it is always taught completely free of charge,  making it accessible to people of any and all socio-economic backgrounds.  Practice sites, like this one in Australia, are generally found in public parks, and Falun Gong’s texts can all be downloaded free of charge at www.falundafa.org.

 

 

Chinese culture on display in London

Celebrations in London mark the fourteenth anniversary of Falun Dafa’s introduction in China in May, 2006. 



The practice of self-cultivation as expressed in Falun Gong is a concept as old as Chinese culture itself, being deeply rooted in Buddhist and Daoist tradition. In many ways, Falun Gong represents a revival of ancient Chinese spirituality,  and its connection to traditional Chinese culture is often displayed in cultural performances, like this one in London. 

 

 

Parade in the City of Angels

The beauty and resilience of Falun Dafa is put on display during a parade through Chinatown in Los Angeles.

Falun Gong is based on practicing truthfulness and compassion and tolerance. Throughout my career as a college professor and a community activist and a United States Senator for Minnesota I have believed in the values that you represent more than any values. I believe that pacifist and peaceful people should be allow to organize and live freely in their country and in their society.”


-- The late Senator Paul Wellstone

 

Holding the Wheel on Canada's Parliament Hill 

Falun Gong adherents practice the second meditative exercise in Ottawa, Canada

It must be our responsibility, Canadians all from wherever we are … to affirm and reaffirm and re-commit ourselves to the values of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance--not only as expressions and examples of the best in ancient Chinese values, but as universal norms that inspire us all, wherever we may be.”  -- Canadian Member of Parliament and former Attorney General Irwin Cotler

 

 

Falun Gong flourishing in India

School children in Bengalaru (Bangalore), India, practice the first exercise of Falun Gong. 

Throughout much of India, Falun Gong has been recognized as a tremendous source of moral guidance and spiritual well-being. In numerous schools, like this one in Bengalaru (Bangalore), students are encouraged to take up the practice as a means of promoting concentration and calm.

 

 

Falun Gong Celebrated in Thailand 

Falun Dafa practitioners perform classical Chinese dance in Bangkok, Thailand

As with many other nations in Asia, Falun Gong has struck a chord in Thailand, where its practitioners are yearly invited to perform at the national festival celebrating the King’s birthday. 

 

Coming Together in Taipei 

Taiwanese practitioners of Falun Gong meditate to form the symbol of Falun Dafa, characterized by the Buddhist srivatsa symbol in the center. 

Falun Gong’s popularity in Taiwan is exemplified by the praise it has garnered from government officials from across party lines,  including former president Chen Shui-Bian,  as well as current president Ma Ying-Jeou.  While serving as Mayor of Taipei in 2002, Mr. Ma attended a gathering of over 5,000 Falun Gong adherents, saying that Falun Gong’s teachings and principles have “made millions of people healthy and has improved their morality.”

 

Falun Gong in Turkey

Falun Gong adherents in Turkey assemble in a park to practice the exercises

“I am probably the most suspicious person in the world when it comes to beliefs. As a lawyer, I look for evidence; I insist on tangible signs. And yet when I read the book Zhuan Falun [Falun Gong’s central text], I felt that everything that I had seen in the world constituted evidence for what is described in this book about 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.' Since becoming a Falun Dafa practitioner I have noticed the following changes in myself: After years of suffering from medical problems in my back, it is now practically pain-free. I am more peaceful. I no longer yell at my children. I am less anxious. I have become the person I always wanted to be."
– A Falun Gong practitioner in Turkey

 

Falun Gong in the birthplace of Buddhism

A Falun Gong exercise site in India

As the birthplace of the Buddha Shakyamuni in the fifth century BC, Buddhism has a long history in India. It is no surprise then that Falun Gong – a discipline belonging to the Buddha school – has a deep resonance with the people in this nation of 1.1 billion.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Practice

While Falun Gong is quite simple to learn and pick up—a combination of exercises, meditation, and moral living—it nevertheless has many dimensions to it and shares with similar Chinese arts an ancient pedigree.
First and foremost, Falun Gong can be thought of as a practice—as something that is done, that is put into action. The practice is designed to effect positive change, or reinforce what is already good, in body, mind, and self.
Morning practice in Chengdu, central China. This photo was taken in 1998.
The body is attended to in Falun Gong most directly by the regular performance of four qigong exercises and a meditation. Qigong exercises, popularized in post-Cultural Revolution 1980s China, resemble Tai-chi somewhat in form and work, similarly, on the body primarily on an energetic level. Some refer to qigong (pron. “chee-gung”) as “Chinese yoga.”
Falun Gong recalibrates the body on an energetic level while dredging out blockages and impurities that might compromise health and well-being. On deeper levels, the practice, in its own unique ways, deals with the more fundamental origins of illness and physical suffering (i.e., a nefarious material called karma). The meditation facilitates these changes and processes while reinforcing the subtler workings of the practice specific to the body and mind.
Several health studies, including clinically controlled, peer reviewed research at leading medical facilities, has begun to explore and confirm the positive, and sometimes dramatic, health benefits that so many persons attribute to the practice. Many individuals have been moved to write about their experiences, which can be read online.
Typical benefits that people describe include increased amounts of energy and reduced fatigue; better health; greater resistance to disease; better sleep; emotional balance; a sense of calm; a positive outlook; improved relationships; greater self-awareness; a deeper sense of meaning; and spiritual growth.
The exercises and meditation can be done by persons of any age, fitness level, or background, and are highly flexible in terms of demands; they can be done for just a few minutes at a time, any time or anywhere, or as long as a few hours if one so chooses. Often people like to do these together with others, as a group, in a quiet setting such as a park.
They are always taught for free by volunteers or can be learned through following an instructional video. These features were likely part of Falun Gong’s phenomenal growth in China.
While the physical dimension of Falun Gong is important, it is the emphasis on the mind and one’s moral self that set this practice apart.
Falun Gong is Buddhist in nature, and contains in its teachings a higher aspiration, namely, spiritual perfection—or “enlightenment” as it’s called in Asia. In Asia spiritual disciplines of this sort are often referred to as ways of “inner cultivation,” or “self-cultivation,” and form an important part of traditional Chinese culture. Various Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian practices fit this rubric.
At the core of Falun Gong are the values of truth, compassion, and forbearance (or in Chinese, Zhen, Shan, Ren). The practice teaches that these are the most fundamental qualities of the universe itself, and it is these, as elaborated in the book Zhuan Falun, that serve as a guide for daily life and practice. Many study the book regularly in order to better understand and embody its teachings.
Through consistent and dedicated practice, the student of Falun Gong aspires to achieve a state of selflessness, greater insight and awareness, inner purity, and balance—the inner workings of what might be called true health.
While Falun Gong aspires to inner transformation of the self, it nevertheless typically translates outwardly into positive change in the world, insofar as the practitioner becomes a more patient family member, a more conscientious employee, a more giving member of the community, and so on.
However, the locus of the practice is always the individual, and as such, the teachings are not seen as a blueprint for social or political change and applied to others or the world at large.
Many observers are struck by the openness of Falun Gong, in terms of both its teachings (i.e., there is no creed, set of rules, or codification of doctrine) and its administration or enactment (i.e., no forms of initiation, no clergy or religious professionals, no fees, etc.). People are encouraged to come to their own understanding of the teachings, as the emphasis is on personal growth, something which can’t be coerced or made programmatic.
Those interested in learning the practice are encouraged to visithttp://www.falundafa.org/, where the writings of Falun Gong and video instruction of its exercises can be found.

2/26/2011

Persecution: FAQ

 
Why is the Chinese Communist Party persecuting Falun Gong?
The complex rationale behind the campaign can be broken into four elements: Falun Gong’s popularity, the role of Jiang Zemin, conflicting ideology, and the nature of the Chinese Communist Party’s system.
While a common misconception is that the gathering of 10,000 adherents in Beijing on April 25, 1999 is what led to the persecution of Falun Gong, oppression of the practice actually began at least three years earlier.
The more popular Falun Gong became, the more resistance it encountered. Party leaders fear any large, independent group, and Falun Gong was probably the largest. When Falun Gong books became bestsellers in 1996 they were banned; when state-run media estimated that over 70 million people practiced Falun Gong - more than the Party’s membership - media began attacking Falun Gong and state security began spying on and harassing adherents.
It was in response to these early abuses that adherents gathered in Beijing. 
Fearing Falun Gong’s rapidly growing popularity was overshadowing his own legacy, then-Party leader Jiang Zemin ordered the practice “eradicated.” According to a 1999 Washington Post article, “Jiang alone decided that Falun Gong must be eliminated”(http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A54486-1999Nov11?language=printer). Journalists and inside sources have described Jiang as “jealous” of Falun Gong and “obsessed” with eliminating the group. As China analyst Willy Lam has argued, by creating a national campaign Jiang sought to both align power to himself and eradicate a group he saw as a threat to his power.

The ideological differences between the atheist Communist Party and the spiritual Falun Gong also played a role. While religion is again becoming increasingly popular in China, and the Party does allow some religious affiliations, religious groups must submit to the state and their leaders must be Party approved. Other groups who, like Falun Gong, have chosen to preserve their belief system and refused to tender to the Party have also met persecution, including Tibetan Buddhists and house church members.

  Finally, as the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party (www.ninecommentaries.com) has argued, the persecution of Falun Gong is the latest in a continuum of violent campaigns that the Party uses to remind the population of its control. Mao Zedong once said that China should have a Cultural Revolution every seven or eight years. Indeed, since the 1950s not a decade has gone by without some violent state-led campaign aimed at the masses. From the suppression of “counterrevolutionaries,” the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the 1989 crackdown on the democracy movement, to Falun Gong, the Party has killed 60-80 million Chinese citizens.  

The Chinese Communist Party isn’t stupid - it wouldn’t kill innocent people just like that, right?
Hitler isn’t stupid - he wouldn’t kill six million Jews just like that. Why did the Khmer Rouge kill one out of every four Cambodians? If Tibetan monks just want to piously worship and meditate, why are they still being tortured and killed in Chinese gulags? If teenage women in Darfur had done no wrong, why are they being raped? Mladic wasn’t stupid, why did he want to kill every Muslim man in Srebrenica?
It’s possible to see things from the perpetrators’ perspective somewhat and understand their economic or strategic motivation behind mass murder. But we find that at a certain point there is also evil that is sometimes very difficult to come to terms with – how could someone do such a thing to a fellow human being? 
From another perspective, one of the reasons so many Chinese have either participated in the campaign or turned a blind eye to it is their visceral knowledge of the evil the Communist Party can perpetrate. After public executions, man-made starvation, cannibalism, and massacre – 60 to 80 million of their family members dead under the CCP all told - the evil perpetrated against Falun Gong has been all too familiar.

If Falun Gong is so good, why did it get banned? Why aren’t other groups being targeted like this?
First, many other groups have also been banned and are being persecuted. Christians who refuse to worship with the state-controlled church, Tibetan Buddhists, and of course democracy and other human rights activists have all been persecuted in China, in some cases for decades; other qigong groups have been banned as well and their adherents can no longer be found doing their slow-movement exercises in Chinese parks.
There is no need to compete for the title of “worst persecuted.” All these groups face egregious abuses that have brought tragedy to countless families. Moreover, these groups of innocent people face the same common aggressor. 
If asked how the persecution of Falun Gong differs from what other groups face at present, the difference is as follows. 
Quantitatively, Falun Gong was the largest group in society outside the Communist Party. According to the Chinese government’s own estimates, at least 70 million people practiced Falun Gong in the late 1990s, therefore the sheer number of people affected by the persecution reflects this ratio. As the U.S. State Department has noted, Falun Gong adherents have been estimated to comprise of nearly half of all Chinese detained in labor camps. Labor camp survivors have reported that over 90 percent of detainees in particular camps were the Falun Gong, and more adherents were being rushed in to newly expanded wards as late as winter 2007. 
Qualitatively, Jiang Zemin and the Communist Party have launched a comprehensive campaign to eradicate Falun Gong. One common reaction from Chinese who witnessed the persecution’s early days was that it was eerily reminiscent of Maoist campaigns thought to be long-gone. In this regard, the Falun Gong resemble a group targeted during the Cultural Revolution, attacked through intense propaganda, door-to-door searches and beatings, public denunciations, and torture for which no one is being held accountable; like certain groups in the 1960s, the Falun Gong are being subject to destitution and mass banishment to remote labor camps in a systematic fashion and on a scale not seen since Mao’s death in 1976.

How did the persecution start?
The persecution was officially launched at 3pm on July 22, 1999 when China Central Television (CCTV) began its round-the-clock broadcast attacking Falun Gong and announcing the Communist Party’s new ban. Falun Gong adherents who then went to petition the government were put on buses and detained in gigantic athletic stadiums and conference halls. Quick to follow were public burnings of Falun Gong books, show trials, and rounds of arrests.
Two days prior to the broadcast launch, Falun Gong seen as key coordinators were arrested from their homes in the middle of the night throughout the country.
The previous month, on June 10, Jiang Zemin created the 6-10 Office explicitly for the purpose of destroying Falun Gong. Two months before that, dozens of adherents were arrested and beaten while picketing outside a magazine office that had slandered Falun Gong; the arrests lead to the famous gathering outside Zhongnanhai. During the preceding year, the Falun Gong began being closely monitored by secret police as they meditated in parks, and adherents were interrogated. 
The very beginning of the persecution can be traced back to 1996, when the first article criticizing Falun Gong appeared in the Guangming Daily, marking the beginning of attacks on Falun Gong in state-run media.

Didn’t Falun Gong surround Zhongnanhai? Wasn’t that provoking the Chinese Government?
Over 10,000 Falun Gong adherents did peacefully gather outside the top leaders’ Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing on April 25, 1999. The gathering was legal and aimed at the State Office of Petitions next door, not the governmental compound.
Petitioning the government over abuses is a constitutionally guaranteed right in China. In fact, the previous day authorities in nearby Tianjin, where adherents had been arrested and beaten, told the Falun Gong to take their petition directly to Beijing (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A54486-1999Nov11?language=printer).
The gathering was in response to state persecution already taken place. Specifically it was in reaction to three years of media attacks, the arrest and beating up 45 Falun Gong adherents in Tianjin, and the banning of Falun Gong books. 
The gathering was entirely peaceful. No exits or entrances were blocked and traffic was unobstructed. 
In fact, it could have led to a very different, happy outcome. That day then-premier Zhu Rongji met with the Falun Gong and promised to resolve their complaints; those detained in Tianjin were released. But hours after everyone dispersed, Jiang Zemin intervened to reverse the policy. He claimed Falun Gong had laid “siege” to Zhongnanhai and that it will be an international embarrassment for the Party if it cannot defeat the Falun Gong.

It seems like Falun Gong has changed in nature, and is highly political now?
First, even as Falun Gong adherents protest, sue Chinese officials, and encourage their fellow Chinese to withdraw from the Communist Party, Falun Gong remains staunchly disinterested in gaining power. Falun Gong’s founder and the practice’s adherents in China and overseas have repeatedly made it clear that they do not wish to take over power, only to stop the persecution. As the CCP has had years to reverse its genocidal Falun Gong policy but has not done so, the only way that ending these and other atrocities seems feasible is to dissolve the Communist Party.
Second, the above activities did not exist in any form before the persecution of Falun Gong was launched. The sum of Falun Gong’s activities before state pressure was meditating or reading Falun Gong literature in groups and introducing the practice to others. If anything, one could say that the Communist Party’s labeling of Falun Gong as political and persecuting it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Party banned Falun Gong and began arresting people; when adherents protested, Jiang Zemin could say: “See, I told you they are political.”
Finally, even if Falun Gong is political, what’s wrong with that? That is certainly not grounds for persecution in any free society or else many of us would be in serious trouble. Only under authoritarian rule the Communist Party’s, a regime that tolerates no competing ideology, can being political be perceived as a crime.

What form has the persecution taken?
Inside China the Communist Party has used every method available to terrorize and pressure people to renounce their faith. Adherents are denied schooling, jobs, and custody of their children; they are publicly humiliated, raped and sexually assaulted by police. Those who disclose the abuses they experience in captivity are jailed for “leaking state secrets.” All adherents are denied legal representation, and some have received prison sentences of up to 18 years for merely their beliefs. Hundreds of thousands have reportedly been sent to labor “re-education” camps—China’s gulag system—without any legal trial. Many healthy, normal individuals have been committed to psychiatric wards where they are abused with nerve-damaging drugs. As of July 2007, 3,064 deaths have been documented, mostly from torture, of which there are over 63,000 accounts in total. The real death toll is believed to be in the tens of thousands.

How many people have been affected by this persecution?
On the eve of the persecution, the Chinese government estimated there were at least 70 million people practicing Falun Gong in the mainland. Including these family and friends, the persecution has directly affected hundreds of millions of people.
The campaign has reached, at some level or another, nearly all people in China – students have been forced to sign banners denouncing Falun Gong, employees to attend special study sessions, travelers to spit at Falun Gong founder Mr. Li Hongzhi’s picture, and from 1999 to 2001 (before the persecution was forced underground) the entire country was inundated with hate-inciting anti-Falun Gong propaganda.
Specifically,
  • Tens of millions of people lost the right to their spiritual and health practices.
  • Millions of Falun Gong adherents have been illegally detained and the vast majority of them have been abused in custody by police.
  • Between 200,000 and 1 million people have been forced into slavery after being sent to labor camps without trials 
  • Human rights workers have documented over 63,000 cases of torture or severe abuse.
  • Over 1,000 healthy individuals have been incarcerated in mental hospitals and tortured there, an act condemned by the World Psychiatric Association.
  • Over 500 people have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 years.
  • At least 3,074 deaths through police abuse and torture have been confirmed, though government sources and organ harvesting investigations suggest the real number is in the tens of thousands.
Why does the Chinese government say they do this to Falun Gong?
The Chinese Communist Party categorically denies that any maltreatment of the Falun Gong is taking place. It denies having tortured anyone, it denies killing anyone, it denies removing organs from adherents’ bodies, it denies spying on the Falun Gong overseas and, in the words of Vaclav Haval, “it denies denying.” As for why it has banned Falun Gong, the Party has made its position clear all along, spreading its message throughout the world and putting Falun Gong on the defensive from day one of the full persecution in July 1999. To quote directly, according to the Party, Falun Gong is “anti-society, anti-science, and anti-humanity.”
The Party, which had praised Falun Gong prior to the ban, now claims the Falun Gong is a menace to society (though it cannot explain why no other government in any of the 70 countries in which Falun Gong is practiced freely has made similar charges), it claims Falun Gong is anti-China (though the vast majority of its adherents are Chinese), and that it is a political organization (though the Falun Gong have to this day made clear they have no interest in power and the group had nothing to do with the government before it was persecuted). 

I’ve seen graphic photos of alleged torture… are those real? Can you verify your claims of torture and maltreatment?

Yes. Please see evidence.

What are some of the government’s tools in suppressing Falun Gong?
The Party has used its vast security, judicial, and propaganda resources to attack Falun Gong, drawing upon over half a century of its experiences running such campaigns and upon tactics adopted by the most notorious dictatorships of the past.
To turn 1.3 billion people against Falun Gong, the Party launched a massive propaganda campaign overnight, one that inundated state-run television, newspapers, wire services, and the Internet, while censoring access to alternative perspectives. 
To preclude overseas criticism, the Party spread its propaganda to a world that did not even know what Falun Gong is, while threatening foreign government officials with repercussions if they spoke out. It also dispatched a spy network to infiltrate the Falun Gong overseas.
To detain hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong adherents, the Party has tapped into and expanded its vast labor camp system, much like the Soviet gulag. It also released ordinary criminals in order to make room for the meditators in jails, while other healthy adherents have been sent to psychiatric wards. 
To track down Falun Gong adherents for arrest, the Party has relied on overseas technology, such as systems that the U.S.-based CISCO sold China’s Public Security Bureau for this purpose. 
To torture the jailed Falun Gong, the Party has used electric batons, forced-feeding tubes, ropes, irons, and psychotropic drugs, as well as more readily available belts, shoe soles, brushes, burning cigarettes, and of course fists, knees, and walls.
To guarantee impunity for the police, the Party has instructed all courts (whose judges are all Party members to begin with) to vigorously convict the Falun Gong, and ordered lawyers not to defend adherents without permission. 
Finally, to dispose of those Falun Gong adherents who refuse to be “transformed” (i.e. brainwashed) and generate a profit, the Party, military, and hospitals have collaborated to “execute” Falun Gong adherents on the operating table; their organs are then removed for on-demand transplants.
To oversee the entire process, Jiang Zemin, who launched the campaign, created the 6-10 Office (link to 6-10 Office page).

This sounds like the Cultural Revolution, doesn't it?
Yes, that was also the reaction of many Chinese when they saw the propaganda blitz, the police everywhere, the burning books, the mass arrests, and the public show trial. The more elderly of family members who have seen their loved thrown into a labor camp and have not heard from them since are no doubt reminded of similar scenes back in the 1960s. 
In its efforts to destroy the Falun Gong, the Party has drawn upon the “successful” tactics of its past campaigns, not only the Cultural Revolution but also its many communist movements of the 1950s and early 1960s.

How have the Falun Gong responded to the ersecution?
The Falun Gong have responded with markedly nonviolent means, refusing to use force throughout eight years of resistance to suppression.
Inside China, adherents’ response has consisted of trying to file petitions or writing letters to China’s rulers, meditating in public parks pr Tiananmen Square, informing fellow citizens about the persecution they face and its illegality through leaflets or VCDs, hanging banners and posters in visible places, calling labor camps and prisons to speak directly with perpetrators, and publishing records of the persecution online. 
Outside China, adherents have been holding continuous round-the-clock vigils for years outside Chinese embassies and consulates, parades, rallies, hunger strikes, and cross-country car tours to raise awareness of the persecution in China. Other activities have included compiling reports for United Nations special rapporteurs, holding press conferences and forums, urging leaders to speak out about the atrocities, producing printed, electronic, and broadcast media about the persecution, as well as developing advanced software to help Chinese break through China’s Internet firewall.

I have heard that the Falun Gong are suing lots of people. Why?
Yes, Falun Gong adherents and supportive international human rights lawyers have been filing lawsuits against Chinese Communist Party officials heavily associated with the campaign. Examples include former head of state Jiang Zemin who launched the persecution, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee President Liu Qi, and China Central Television (CCTV). On the other hand, officials not directly associated with the persecution, like Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, have not been sued.
For more about the dozens of lawsuits filed, their successes, their challenges, the laws under which they were filed, and the prominent lawyers on the cases, click here.

How have most Chinese people responded to the persecution?
For the first several years after the campaign against Falun Gong was launched in 1999, most Chinese people appeared to be shocked and stayed clear of the issue. Whether because they believed in the Party’s propaganda or because they were afraid of facing persecution themselves, few other than family of the persecuted dared say a fair word about Falun Gong in public.
But Chinese people both in China and abroad are now increasingly standing up in defense of Falun Gong. Lawyers like Guo Guoting and Gao Zhisheng[u1]  (http://davisiaj.com/content/view/249/1/), in particular, have for the moment lost their careers trying to defend the Falun Gong. 
After initially being influenced by mainland propaganda and pressures, overseas Chinese are also gradually becoming more supportive recently, and have given Falun Gong awards recognizing its contributions to the community and to the cause of freedom in China (http://clearharmony.net/articles/200704/38940.html).

How have the U.S. and other world governments responded to the persecution?
Many governments around the world have condemned the persecution, with legislatures generally taking stronger stances than heads of state.
The U.S. government has been unequivocal in its opposition to the persecution. Former President Clinton, President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have spoken out and issued statements on the persecution of Falun Gong. 
In November of 1999 the House of Representatives unanimously passed resolution 218, with the Senate concurring, condemning the persecution and calling for the immediate release of all jailed adherents. H.R. 188 was passed unanimously in July of 2002 (http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=5983). In 2004, it unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Party’s attempt to extend it overseas (http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=8962). Members of Congress across the political spectrum have also spoken out about the atrocities perpetrated against Falun Gong in China at rallies, written to Communist Party leaders, supported Falun Gong lawsuits (http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=7469), and worked to rescue American Falun Gong jailed in China (http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=7057). 
Similar actions have been taken by legislators in Europe, Australia, and other countries. In Canada, where support has been particularly strong, a member of Parliament walked into a Chinese embassy event in the House of Commons wearing a yellow “I support Falun Gong” t-shirt (he was roughed up by embassy staff). 
Outspoken support from heads of state has been limited. For instance, while throughout eight years of persecution the U.S. Department of State has highlighted the Falun Gong’s plight in its annual reports, U.S. leaders rarely directly raise the issue of Falun Gong in public meetings with Chinese officials. This in spite of letters from Congress before such meetings urging them to do so (http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=5306). 
There are notable exceptions. For example, the Irish prime minister and foreign minister directly approached Communist Party leaders asking for the release of Trinity College student Zhao Ming when he was jailed in China. And in Taiwan, the president and vice president have met with Falun Gong adherents and spoken out strongly in support.

 How have organizations such as Amnesty International responded to the persecution?
Amnesty has repeatedly detailed various aspects of the persecution of the Falun Gong in its annual reports (for example, see its special report  [links to http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA170112000], or its 2006 annual report [links to http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/chn-summary-eng]). Like most human rights organizations, Amnesty has not yet been able to independently conduct investigations about the persecution and produce its own figures. But it has regularly issued urgent actions, encouraging its wide network of members to campaign on behalf of detained Falun Gong at risk of torture (http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA170492006?open&of=ENG-CHN). One such urgent action case, Mr. Liu Chengjun, was indeed tortured to death in the end (http://www.faluninfo.net/DisplayAnArticle.asp?ID=8207).
During the early stages of the persecution Human Rights Watch issued a report exposing the illegality of the campaign launched against Falun Gong (http://hrw.org/reports/2002/china/). 
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture has repeatedly queried the Chinese authorities and issued reports in which cases of Falun Gong torture comprise the majority of the China section (http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=8650).
Increasingly, prominent individuals – such as leading international human rights lawyers, members of the Jewish religious community, and overseas Chinese democracy advocates - have been speaking out about the killing of Falun Gong adherents for their organs (http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9492).

Didn’t several Falun Gong members set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square?
This claim has been one of the biggest propaganda successes of the CCP, and in the twenty first century overall. Falun Gong’s teachings are firmly against killing and consider suicide a sin. We believe the incident was staged. For a deeper analysis, please see (http://faluninfo.net/tiananmen/immolation.asp).


Why haven’t I read or heard more about this?
Indeed, after an initial interest in the story, Western press has been largely avoiding the issue. 
The CCP has taken great pains to push the campaign underground and prevent foreign journalists from reporting on the story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/1874755.stm). The Party has also succeeded in creating much negativity towards the Falun Gong from the very beginning. In 1999, China’s propaganda apparatuses spread worldwide whereas Falun Gong barely had websites, say nothing of television stations and newspapers. The group was caught on the public relations defensive and has been fighting an uphill battle to draw attention to the persecution ever since.
Some journalists working for Western media, like the BBC, have confided that the story is not being covered due to fears of losing access in Beijing. For many editors, moreover, news of large-scale human rights abuses, even mass murder, fail to fit with the stories of “China’s peaceful rise” they are currently running. 
For more on why Falun Gong is not in the media as much as one might expect, click here Out of Media Spotlight

Persecution: Timeline


1996
As Falun Gong becomes more popular, early signs of state oppression appear. Shortly after they are named bestsellers, Falun Gong books are banned form publication. The first major state-run media article criticizing Falun Gong appears in the Guangming Daily on June 17. Mr. Li moves to the  United States. 
On April 25th, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong adherents gathered at China’s central appeals office near Zhongnanhai to seek an end to mounting government harassment

1997
The Public Security Bureau conducts an investigation into whether Falun Gong should be deemed an “evil cult,” but the investigation concludes: “no evidence found thus far.”

1998-1999
 Police disrupt routine morning Falun Gong exercise sessions in parks and search the homes of Falun Gong adherents who help organize group activities.
Attacks on Falun Gong continue in state-run media. The Falun Gong respond to the critiques by visiting, and sometimes petitioning outside, the local newspaper or television stations in order to explain what Falun Gong is and clear their reputation. Such events take place in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and other major cities.
Chinese media and government surveys report that at least 70 million people in China practice Falun Gong.
 
April 1999
He Zuoxiu, a prominent Marxist-atheist, disparages Falun Gong and qigong in general in a Tianjin college magazine. Local Falun Gong gather in Tianjin, asking the magazine to repair the damage done to their reputation. 
Although the gathering is peaceful, on April 23 and 24, riot police is sent, 45 practitioners are arrested and some are beaten.  When practitioners ask Tianjin authorities to release those who were arrested, they are told that the orders came from Beijing; if they want to petition, they were told, they must go to the capital.

April 25, 1999
The following day, on April 25, over 10,000 adherents from Beijing, nearby Tianjin, and other cities in the area gather outside the State Council Office of Petitions in Beijing.
The office is located right next door to Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party leaders’ residential compound. In spite of the Party’s later accusation that the Falun Gong “seized” Zhongnanhai, the gathering is actually remarkably peaceful and orderly, with adherents keeping entrances, exits, and footpaths clear – as also reported by Western media.
Adherents request that those arrested in Tianjin be released, that the ban on publishing Falun Gong books be lifted, and that they be able to resume their practice without government interference.
Then-Prime Minister Zhu Rongji meets with Falun Gong representatives in his office. By the end of the day, those arrested in Tianjin are released and the gathering quietly disperses.
Within hours, however, then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin opposes Zhu’s assuaging position, and states that if it cannot defeat Falun Gong, the Party will become a “laughing stock.”

June 10, 1999
Jiang Zemin creates the 6-10 Office, a secret security agency with a mandate to eradicate Falun Gong. Jiang grants it authority over all local levels of police, government, and courts, and the 6-10 Office later becomes the primary tool for arresting, torturing, and killing the Falun Gong.

July 1999
From the April 25 gathering until mid July, adherents throughout China report being followed and interrogated by plainclothes police officers, as the Party collects lists of adherents and makes final preparations for the ensuing ban.


On July 20, 1999 police begin arresting adherents that they consider to be key organizers. On July 22, 1999 a media blitz commences. Airwaves, television screens, and newspapers columns are filled with attacks on Falun Gong. Sound trucks drive around city streets and college campuses warning people that practicing Falun Gong is now illegal. Among the ban’s stipulations, protesting the ban is also banned.

October 1999
Falun Gong adherents hold a secret press conference for foreign media in Beijing aiming to expose the persecution they are facing. At the end of the press briefing, participants are arrested. Ms. Ding Yan, one of the adherents who spoke at the press briefing, is later tortured to death in custody.
Jiang pushes through legislation that retroactively justifies the ban on Falun Gong. (Human Rights Watch

Winter 1999-2000
As rounds of arrest continue and the first reports of deaths from torture in custody emerge, the Falun Gong throughout China travel to Beijing to petition their government and appeal to the world for help by meditating or raising banners on Tiananmen Square. The banners often simply say: “Falun Dafa hao” (Falun Dafa is good).International media repeatedly capture images of police pouncing on people meditating on the square and beating them to the ground before taking them away.
Plainclothes police accost a Falun Gong adherent on Tiananmen Square circa 2000
January 2001
State-run media claim that several Falun Gong practitioners ignited themselves in protests on Tiananmen Square. The so-called self-immolation becomes the centerpiece of the Party’s propaganda against Falun Gong and is used to give credence to what had by then become an increasingly unpopular campaign. 
Although most foreign media simply copy-paste the reports from Party mouthpieces Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television, the self-immolation incident appears increasingly suspicious, not least because Falun Gong teachings consider suicide a sin. Investigations by the Washington Post and others, most notably slow-motion analysis of the Party’s own video footage, poke hole after hole in the Party’s version of the story and raise alarming questions

November 20, 2001 
A group of 35 Falun Gong practitioners from 12 different countries gathers on Tiananmen Square to meditate under a banner that reads: “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance” – Falun Gong’s principles. They are arrested and beaten within minutes. Similar protests by foreign Falun Gong practitioners continue in the following months.

March 5, 2002
Falun Gong practitioners in northeastern Changchun city tap into state-run television broadcasts. They air 45 minutes of video that otherwise cannot be seen in China, including how Falun Gong is practiced freely outside of China yet persecuted in the mainland.

Enraged, Jiang orders police to “shoot to kill” Falun Gong adherents caught posting informational materials Over three days, the city of Changchun turns into chaos as some 5,000 people are arrested; the number of deaths during those days remains unknown. Of those who participate in the broadcast, several are later tortured to death in custody, including Mr. Liu Chengjun, the subject of an Amnesty International urgent action . Similar overrunning of broadcast signals continues sporadically throughout China in the following years.

November 2002
 Hu Jintao begins officially taking over the leadership from Jiang, although Jiang and his highly-placed supporters who have been wedded to the persecution of Falun Gong – primarily Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, Liu Jing, Li Lanqing, and Zeng Qinghong - continue to push the campaign.
 
July 2004
The number of documented cases of Falun Gong adherents who died as a result of the persecution, mostly due to torture in custody, reaches 1,000. Estimates place the actual number of deaths at over 10,000 deaths.

November 2004
The “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” a series of editorials critical of the Party published overseas by The Epoch Times, begins being clandestinely circulated throughout China (www.ninecommentaries.com); tourists bring copies back from Hong Kong, others download them from the Internet or receive them in the mail.

The Nine Commentaries includes a chapter about the persecution of Falun Gong ,  and sets of a wave of denunciations and withdrawals from the Party and its affiliated organizations throughout China and the Chinese diaspora

December 2004
Prominent human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng in Beijing writes to the National People’s Congress about the persecution of Falun Gong.  In the following months Gao’s firm is shut down, he is disbarred, stalked, put under house arrest, and eventually detained – largely because of his outspoken stance on the sensitive Falun Gong issue and because he resigned from the CCP. Attorney Guo Guoting  had previously spoken out against the persecution and was subsequently disbarred

June 2005
 The number of documented cases of Falun Gong adherents killed as a result of the persecution exceeds 2,500
Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin and former 6-10 Office policeman Hao Fengjun defect to Australia, smuggling out documents. Chen claims there are 1,000 Chinese spies operating in Australia alone. Hao says he left China after witnessing the torture of a Falun Gong adherent
A candle vigil in Washington DC honors the memory of those tortured to death amidst persecution in China
March 2006
A woman who had worked in a Chinese hospital and a Chinese journalist step forward to reveal that Falun Gong practitioners in northeastern Sujiatun are being killed by the thousands for their organs. As evidence from investigation mounts in the following weeks, a Chinese military doctor comes forward to reveal that the atrocities are taking place throughout the country

July 2006
 Former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour and international human rights attorney David Matas release a report with evidence showing that harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners in China appears more widespread than previously thought.

March 2007
The number of documented cases of Falun Gong practitioners in China killed as a result of the persecution surpasses 3,000  . Estimates place the number of actual deaths at many times higher.

May 2008
The Falun Dafa Information Center reports that over 8,000 Falun Gong adherents were reported to have been taken into custody from December 2007 - May 2008 as part of a pre-Olympic campaign of arrests. Several adherents die of torture within days or weeks of being taken into detention,  and many others are sentenced to lengthy prison terms

2/24/2011

Overview of Persecution


While Falun Gong is practiced openly in the 70-plus countries where it is found, today in its homeland of China it is subject to well-documented egregious human rights violations. The scale and scope of abuses taking place make this possibly the largest religious persecution in the world today.
Falun Gong practitioners raise banners reading “Truth, Compassion, Forbearance” as police approach on Tiananmen Square
Suppression officially began on July 22, 1999 following years of escalating state abuses

One basic explanation for the seemingly irrational campaign is the proclivities of China’s atheist Communist Party (the CCP), which fears all groups outside its control – particularly ones that subscribe to a different ideology.
The Party has tried several times to eradicate all expressions of religion from China (a country traditionally referred to as "the land of the divine"). To this day Roman Catholics, many Protestants, and Tibetan Buddhists cannot worship freely in China and are at constant risk of detention and torture. By 1999, Falun Gong became a natural target as it was the largest - and fastest growing - spiritual group in China with 100 million practitioners nation-wide, according to Chinese Government reports at the time.


Others have noted that the decision to launch the campaign is linked to former-Party head Jiang Zemin’s "fear" and "jealousy" of Falun Gong. According to analyst Willy Lam, Jiang has been seen as "using the mass movement to promote allegiance to himself." Sources cited by the Washington Post, state that, "Jiang Zemin alone decided that Falun Gong must be eliminated," and "picked what he thought was an easy target."

Perhaps the most prominent feature of the campaign has been its prevalent use of extreme torture. Torture of Falun Gong adherents has been documented in each of China’s provinces, in jails, labor camps, brainwashing centers, and schools in China’s big cities, small towns, and villages.
Popular torture techniques include shocking with electric batons, burning with irons, tying the body in painful positions for days, force-feeding saline solutions through a plastic tube inserted up the nose, and prying out fingernails with bamboo shoots, to name a few; rape and sexual torture of the Falun Gong in detention are prevalent as well.
To date over 3,000 deaths have been documented, as well as over 63,000 accounts of torture. An estimate of the real figure puts the actual death toll in the tens of thousands


When the persecution was launched in 1999, tens of millions of Chinese who practiced the meditation discipline were faced with a choice. One option was to again surrender to the Communist Party and abandon a practice that had brought them better health, spiritual guidance, and, invariably, newfound hope. A second option seemed to be to continue practicing quietly at home – but as raids quickly showed, this was impossible even if one were able to turn a blind eye to the persecution of family and friends. A final option was to openly resist the persecution in spite of knowing full well what the painful consequences might be.
Indeed, those who chose the latter have most commonly faced forms of oppression that do not make headlines – dismissal from work, expulsion from universities, deprivation of health care and pensions, divorce, homelessness, and a range of other forms of discrimination


For hundreds of thousands, the most basic reality of the campaign has been long periods of detention in "reform through labor" camps – China’s Gulag system. There they are forced to work up to 20 hours per day, producing – without pay – toys, Christmas tree lights, chopsticks, and soccer balls for export. Those who refuse are tortured


Be it in labor camps, jails, or in special reeducation centers, all detained Falun Gong practitioners have been forced to undergo what can only be described as brainwashing. The Communist Party’s goal is to force these people to renounce their spiritual beliefs and come to view Falun Gong as dangerous, as well as to turn in others who are active in exposing the persecution.
The key ingredients of the brainwashing process, or what the Party calls "transformation," is sleep deprivation, hours on end of staring at videos vilifying Falun Gong, threats, and Cultural Revolution-style "struggle sessions". Some particularly "stubborn" individuals who refuse to transform are injected with psychotropic drugs in asylums as treatment for the mental disorder of incorrect political thinking


The Party’s ultimate solution for the vast number of incarcerated Falun Gong adherents, however, is much more terrifying. According to current and former hospital employees, the Falun Gong have been used in reverse organ-matching – they have been killed by the thousands so that their organs can be used for on-demand transplants.
Livers, kidneys, hearts, and cornea are removed from the living, anesthetized Falun Gong adherents with matching blood-types and sold to Party officials and other desperate-yet-wealthy individuals from China and abroad. Undercover investigators’ phone calls to Chinese hospitals have caught doctors boasting about this practice on tape


But, as in every genocide of the twentieth century, extreme violence first required dehumanization of "the other" through propaganda. Indeed, one key measure in the Party’s suppression has been to limit, and distort, information about Falun Gong—both in China and elsewhere.
From day one of the suppression, the regime banned all books and informational media produced discussing Falun Gong positively. All websites relating to the practice were immediately blocked. Millions of Falun Gong books were forcibly seized and burned publicly. The regime feared people might learn, if they knew not already, that Falun Gong was a healthy, normal, and positive way of life embraced by millions


These censorship efforts have, of course, extended to cyberspace, thanks in no small part to Western companies who have enthusiastically sold Internet surveillance technology to the Party’s security apparatuses. As a result, Chinese people are now in jail for posting evidence of torture online or even downloading articles about Falun Gong


Alongside censorship, the Party has sought to scandalize Falun Gong through an aggressive propaganda blitz. The regime has been determined to paint Falun Gong as dangerous, deviant, and abnormal.
Former Party Chairman Jiang Zemin led the way, attaching onto Falun Gong the label of "cult" three months after his ban as means to further bend public opinion. The Ministry of Propaganda thus launched numerous publications, radio and TV shows, and even plays, comic books, and exhibitions meant to criminalize Falun Gong


Government officials around the world, meanwhile, report receiving defamatory materials from Party emissaries. These are often accompanied by attempts to pressure the elected officials to stay silent about abuses perpetrated against the Falun Gong, to rescind proclamations in recognition of Falun Gong’s contributions to the community, and to block local Falun Gong activities such as parades or conferences.
Business owners, journalists, and scholars have also been subjected to similar pressure tactics and threats, leading to a sometimes eerie silence in Western press and academia


Beyond mere threats, Falun Gong adherents overseas have been physically assaulted and spied on by agents directly connected to the Chinese Communist regime


The Falun Gong have responded to all of this with markedly peaceful means. Throughout nearly a decade of persecution, they have refused to adopt violence. Instead, adherents first tried to reason with Communist Party rulers through letters and petitions. When these fell on deaf ears, the Falun Gong turned to Tiananmen Square where – through quietly meditating or displaying banners before being arrested - they sought to call upon the conscience of the Chinese people as well as world leaders. As the persecution continued, the Falun Gong began countering state propaganda by distributing information exposing the persecution through leaflets, VCDs, emails, and phone calls.
Collectively, this resistance movement - composed of bold individual acts in spite of great personal risks – constitutes what is probably today’s largest non-violent movement in the world


Outside of China, Falun Gong practitioners and supporters have also engaged in a range of activities aimed at exposing the persecution on the mainland. Since the Falun Gong in China are denied any legal rights there, a group of leading rights lawyers are carrying out one of history’s broadest international campaigns legal campaigns with the aim of bringing CCP officials to justice for what these attorneys are calling the genocide of Falun Gong.

In this website you will find information about different facets of this nearly decade-long persecution campaign – including its history, its horror stories, its tragedies, its international implications, the courageous resistance it has encountered, as well as evidence, third-party reports and basic information about the practice of Falun Gong and the Chinese Communist Party that is still persecuting it.
We very much welcome your feedback about what further information you would find helpful.

http://faluninfo.net/topic/2/

2/21/2011

"What Exactly is Falun Dafa?"

 "What exactly is Falun Dafa?" As we clarify the truth to governments, media and society, we often hear people asking this question. Even many of those people who already know the truth about the persecution are inevitably puzzled by this question.


The following is a brief explanation of Falun Dafa from the concept of "cultivation."


Cultivation is one of the aspects of human civilization, and its origins date far back into history. Genuine cultivation methods usually include two components: a set of teachings or "the principles" and "the practice," and their scope far exceeds the domains of philosophy and fitness. The second component of cultivation, "the practice," usually refers to the part that is applied to cultivation of the physical body. The first component, the spiritual aspect, is the key that enables the elevation of one's spiritual level.


Throughout time, cultivation has never been popular or even public in society, but because of its broad and profound inner teachings, it has left various traces of its existence in both Eastern and Western civilizations. Taiji, Hetu, Luoshu and the Eight Trigrams, all from ancient China; Indian Yoga and some Western meditation methods, all have subtle references to the mysteries of various cultivation ways. Yet as history progressed, the principles of mind cultivation have gradually been lost, so it has become very difficult for today's people to understand the original meanings of those cultivation methods.


Falun Dafa is one of the high-level cultivation ways of the Buddha School (not to be confused with the Buddhist religion), based on the principle of the most basic characteristics of the universe: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It includes five sets of gentle, beautiful exercise movements, and was first made public to the Chinese society in 1992. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is the most fundamental nature of the universe, and it is also the sole criterion for determining what is good and bad in the universe. The cultivation of Falun Dafa includes studying the teachings in Zhuan Falun, with a calm mind. Also, a practitioner strives to improve his/her xinxing [mind or heart nature; moral character] by diligently following the standards of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as addressed in the book. One also supplements this with the practice of the five sets of qigong exercises.


Falun Dafa follows Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as its cultivation standard. It cultivates compassion; it is peaceful; all activities are free, open to the public and arranged by volunteers. Every practitioner is an active member of society. Practitioners come from all walks of life and include men, women and children of all ages. For an individual, the cultivation of Falun Dafa can purify the body and keeps one physically and mentally fit, enabling one to become honest, kind, tolerant and peaceful. Cultivation also expands one's consciousness and wisdom, so that one gradually reaches a clear-minded and aware state where one thoroughly understands the mysteries of life and the universe. For society, the cultivation of Falun Dafa can improve social stability, tolerance and harmony, and will improve the quality of the peoples' spiritual lives as a whole.


After Falun Dafa was first introduced in China, it spread mainly by word of mouth, from heart to heart, and the number of people practicing it has significantly increased. In ten years from 1992 to 2002, Falun Dafa spread throughout China and to fifty other countries around the world, receiving numerous awards and support from many governments, and from various groups within different countries. Currently, the number of practitioners all over the world, from different nations and various ethnic origins, is estimated to be over one hundred million.


Since July 20, 1999, to advance his own personal political ambitions, the Chinese dictator initiated the suppression against Falun Gong. He used his power to force the national propaganda machine to spread rumors and fabricate lies to defame Falun Dafa, and to create terror, disharmony and hatred. For the past three years, innocent Falun Dafa practitioners have been brutally persecuted. Over one hundred thousand practitioners have been sent to prisons, forced labor camps and mental hospitals, and more than one thousand people have been tortured to death. This kind of persecution still continues, targeting not only the Chinese Falun Dafa practitioners, but also impacting all people who voluntarily believe and follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This persecution is a ruthless destruction of human justice, morality and conscience. Therefore, Falun Dafa practitioners from all over the world have all been trying their best to let the people and governments of the world know the truth about the degree of the evil nature of this persecution.


For the past three years, amidst this extremely cruel persecution, the large group of Falun Dafa students have not only steadfastly upheld their righteous belief, but they have also become more rational and mature in their cultivation, and in clarifying the truth to the people of the world. This large, but loosely organized body of individuals has displayed spectacular courage and peacefulness throughout this enormous tribulation. This has brought forth a positive effect of utmost importance in improving the global moral standard.


Falun Dafa created the true courage, tolerance and compassion of practitioners. With their own conduct, practitioners have been diligently validating Falun Dafa to the entire world, helping more people to understand Falun Dafa, and enabling people to seize this precious opportunity of cultivation, so they can begin their journey of returning to their true origin.

Chinese version available at http://www.minghui.cc/mh/articles/2002/7/5/32819.html


 

(Clearwisdom.net)

Falun Dafa