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Falun Gong Introduction  
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Falun Gong, a Practice That Has Benefited 100 Million People in Over 50 Countries

Falun Gong is an ancient form of qigong. Qigong, which translates as cultivation-exercise, is the generic term for practices of mind and body refinement through special mental and physical exercises. Throughout China's history and in some other parts of the world, numerous schools of qigong have
existed, each with its own characteristics and emphasis. Some schools have taken the form of religion, some have been passed down from one master to only a few disciples, and some have taken the form of popular exercises. Taichi and some branches of Yoga are examples of popular exercises, while Buddhism and Taoism may be considered religious forms of qigong, with the former emphasizing mind cultivation and meditation and the latter paying particular attention to body refinement through unique exercises.

Falun Gong distinguishes itself from other qigong practices by emphasizing both mind cultivation and body refinement. Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, teaches his students that to achieve total health one must first be a good person of high moral character. Following Falun Gong's principle of "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance," practitioners of Falun Gong devote themselves to the cultivation of their inner selves and the improvement of their mental and moral quality. This, combined with five sets of gentle exercises of proven efficacy in health improvement, has enabled practitioners to achieve purposeful living, morality, improved health, and inner peace. As a testament to its superior benefits, Falun Gong had become a global phenomenon of over 100 million practitioners across more than 50 countries by 1999, just seven years after its introduction to the public.

The Chinese Government's Increasing Hostility towards Falun Gong

The benefits of Falun Gong practice to people and to society were originally recognized and commended by various levels of the Chinese government. In fact, the authorities' positive regard had facilitated the spread of Falun Gong in the early 1990s. The state-controlled media - including national and local newspapers, TV, and radio stations - frequently covered activities and benefits of Falun Gong practice.

The increasing popularity of Falun Gong, however, proved to be too much for a few officials within the Chinese government. From clandestine undermining in early 1994, to the orchestrated smear campaign and the banning of Falun Gong books in 1996, to police harassment in 1997, certain power blocs within the Chinese government gradually escalated their underhanded persecution to overt assault. On April 23, 1999, in broad daylight, armed police forces in the city of Tianjin violently assaulted hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and arbitrarily detained 45 of them.

The "April 25th Peaceful Appeal" by Falun Gong Practitioners

Two days later, on April 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered quietly in Beijing outside the State Council Appeals Office, located next to the Chinese leadership compound, to request the release of the practitioners detained in Tianjin and the lifting of the ban on Falun Gong books. The gathering was peaceful, orderly, and lawful. After Premier Zhu Rongji met with a few of the gathered practitioners and ordered the release of those detained in Tianjin, the practitioners quietly dispersed. Because of this gathering Falun Gong began to receive international attention.

Jiang Zemin Ordered All-Out Persecution

However, China's Chairman, Jiang Zemin, resented the peaceful solution. Apparently seeking a resounding conquest to augment his personal authority, on July 20, 1999, without due process, Jiang ordered the persecution against Falun
Gong to commence, despite the fact that many within the government were already either practitioners themselves or held favorable views towards Falun Gong. Later, in October, Jiang ordered the Chinese national legislature to pass a law to allow a tougher crackdown. The Washington Post noted in an article on November 2, 1999 that "When [China's Communist leaders] found themselves without the laws they needed to vigorously persecute a peaceful meditation society, the Party simply ordered up some new laws. Now these will be applied - retroactively, of course ... By these standards, Stalin was a scrupulous observer of civil rights."

Since July 20, 1999, over 100,000 practitioners, including pregnant women, the elderly, and young children, have been sent to labor camps without trial; thousands have been illegally jailed, with terms of up to 18 years; and millions of innocent people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, almost all under inhumane conditions. Thousands of practitioners have been detained and severely tortured with nerve-damaging drugs in mental hospitals. Thousands more have died in custody, while countless others are still unaccounted for. Meanwhile, Jiang created a nationwide system of "610 Offices," with absolute authority over the judiciary and all levels of the Communist Party, expressly to eradicate Falun Gong. The scope and severity of the atrocities are difficult to fathom.

A Staged Self-Immolation and the Deception of World Opinion

Jiang's regime has also launched a far-reaching campaign of disinformation to justify its persecution and to escape world condemnation. State-run media have flooded the printing presses and airwaves with fabrications about Mr. Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong. As with all lies, the propaganda fails miserably in the details. For example, the Chinese government made up claims that the practice of Falun Gong caused 1,400 people to die or to become insane. This number, even if assumed to be true, divided by 100 million practitioners, would be many orders of magnitude below the national average. In another example, the Chinese government claimed that Mr. Li Hongzhi had falsified his date of birth, and even produced a "hospital record" to prove that his mother was treated with oxytocin in 1952 before his birth. Oxytocin, however, was not to be identified until 1953.

In early 2001, desperate to turn the tide, the Chinese government attempted an outrageous stunt: a staged self-immolation of five people in Tiananmen Square. The state-run media then blamed it on Falun Gong. This staged self-immolation, however, has been analyzed by neutral reporters and by careful observers of the same videotape that was published by the Chinese government:

  1. An investigative story published by the Washington Post revealed that Ms. Liu Chunling, one of the "immolators," had never practiced Falun Gong;
  2. Police were mysteriously patrolling Tiananmen Square with dozens of pieces of firefighting equipment that day;
  3. Liu Siying, the 12-year-old girl, was purported to have had a tracheotomy, but spoke and sang clearly, a medical impossibility;
  4. Ms. Hao Huijun, another immolator, was reported to have graduated from a Henan Music College in 1974, a year in the Cultural Revolution when no students were graduated;
  5. Mr. Wang Jindong was shown to have been badly burned; however, his hair and the plastic 7-UP bottle that he had "used to dowse gasoline" remained miraculously intact.

These holes prompted International Education Development, a UN NGO, to issue the following statement during the 2001 session of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: "The regime points to a supposed self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, as proof that Falun Gong is an ˇ®evil cult'. However, we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government." (For an analysis of the CCTV footage of the staged immolations, please visit:

The Chinese Government's Global Coercion of Conscience

The sole objective of the Chinese government's persecution is to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief. This coercion against conscience, however, does not stay just in China.

The Chinese government has repeatedly made threats of economic sanctions towards countries, states, cities, and businesses that dare to criticize its persecution of Falun Gong. This creates a fear, a fear of being left out of some economic gain, a fear of speaking for conscience. With this tactic, the Chinese government has induced several major Western news media corporations to apply self-censorship in reporting China's human rights violations, forced cities in a number of countries to rescind their moral support to the victims, and even coerced some democratic governments to stifle the voices of Falun Gong practitioners.

The Chinese agencies, however, do not stop at blackmailing. Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders had the following to say about a physical assault by Chinese diplomats in February 2000:

"I wore [a T-shirt that talked about Falun Gong] out to a function that was being hosted by the People's Republic's embassy here, in this building [Parliament]. I stood at the back of the room, and then all of a sudden I had four or five men surround me and start to harass me, and point fingers, and jostle me physically, saying that I had to leave, that I wasn't welcome, go home, you know, cowboy, you don't know what you're doing" and what crossed my mind immediately was four or five people that comprise a gang on behalf of the People's Republic of China think they can get away with doing that to me as a Member of Parliament, on Canadian soil, in my place of work, in the House of Commons - can you imagine what they're doing to people back home in their own country? It was absolutely over the top! And then when a media reporter came over with his camera, they started to grab his camera, they tried to force it down to the ground, they told him to go away" They were issuing orders to a member of the free press here in Canada. "It was absolutely outrageous. And it just proved what Falun Dafa is up against. We're at a very critical moment. "If we don't take a stand now, history will look back at us and sigh."

Similar incidents of intimidation and assault have also happened in the United States, Iceland, Germany, Australia, Russia, Romania, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and many more. Simply put, the Chinese government has exported its persecution to the world as a global campaign of evil against conscience.

The Struggle Between the Truth and Lies

For their belief, and also for humanity, Falun Gong practitioners have stood up against the evil. In contrast to the Chinese government's violence and deceit, Falun Gong practitioners have adhered to peace and truth.

Throughout the brutal persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have remained true to the principle of "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance." They remain peaceful during police beatings; they remain peaceful when inmates are instigated by police to torture them. Their great tolerance, compassion, and righteousness have even inspired many torturers to become Falun Gong practitioners.

As the persecution is completely based on and sustained by lies, Falun Gong practitioners also take great risks to inform the public of the truth.

On March 5, 2002, Falun Gong practitioners in the city of Changchun successfully tapped into the local cable TV system to broadcast documentary films exposing the Chinese government's brutal persecution. Similar broadcasts followed in many other cities. For these righteous acts the practitioners suffered enormously. In Changchun alone, over 5,000 people were arrested, and at least a dozen died of torture during "interrogation." Even a visiting US citizen, Dr. Charles Li, has been jailed with a three-year term on the charge of "intending" to carry out a similar broadcast.

Falun Gong practitioners of foreign nationalities have also participated in clarifying the facts to the Chinese people. On November 20, 2001, thirty-six westerners gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to stage a peaceful petition. Since then, hundreds of foreign citizens from dozens of countries have been to China to tell the Chinese people that Falun Gong is welcomed and legally practiced everywhere else in the world. All of them were arrested, mistreated, and deported; many were severely beaten.

Falun Gong practitioners have made great sacrifices to expose the persecution and clarify the true facts of Falun Gong. Their benevolence has awakened many from being misled by the propaganda of hatred, from blindly following government orders, and from being unwitting accomplices of the evil.

The Quest for Justice by Falun Gong Practitioners and the Quest for Rights and Dignity by Chinese People

It is important to point out that the Chinese government's persecution of Falun Gong is no deviation from its 50 years of continuous persecution of intellectuals, labor activists, dissidents, Christians, Buddhists, and other nonconformists. Various studies by Western scholars have indicated that eighty million or more have perished because of the non-stop persecution under the Chinese communist rule. These killings far outnumber even those of the Nazis, and they are all born of the same purpose: the destruction of human nature.

The peaceful persistence and horrific suffering of Falun Gong practitioners have drawn international attention to the Chinese government's heinous crimes against humanity. With the help of many prominent human rights lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners in eleven countries have filed lawsuits against Jiang and his lieutenants for, among others crimes, genocide, torture, and other crimes against humanity. In the courts of New York and San Francisco, Falun Gong practitioners have won their cases by default. As more and more shocking facts of the Jiang regime's hate incitement, state terrorism, violence, and cruelty are revealed, the day of a new Nuremberg trial for the regime's crimes against conscience is bound to come.

An Appeal to All Good People of the World

The persecution of Falun Gong is still going on in China; the death toll rises daily. Many Falun Gong practitioners have risked everything to publicize the violations they or their fellow practitioners have suffered. The cases reported by the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Commission account for a very small fraction of the tragedies, but they must not be taken lightly, lest the values of hope, courage, and the most fundamental human rights be forsaken. In presenting these documents, we now ask you to speak for those who have no voice, to do all within your power to stop the injustice and cruelty.

    ©2003-2007 Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, All Rights Reserved