[whatisfalungong] What is Falun Gong

martin at travare.net martin at travare.net
Sat Sep 4 16:50:34 EST 2004

Frequently Asked Questions About Falun Gong     

How many people have been affected by Jiang Zemin's persecution against Falun Gong? 

Since the leader of China, Jiang Zemin, began the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in 1999:
100 million people practiced Falun Gong in 1998, but lost that right when Jiang banned it in 1999. 
Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally arrested and detained.
More than 500 have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 years.
More than 1,000 have been forced into mental hospitals, an act condemned by World Psychiatric Association.
Over 100,000 have been illegally sent to labor camps without trials.
At least 1023 deaths through police torture have been confirmed, with government sources inside China disclosing that the actual number exceeds 1,600. 

What is Falun Gong? 

Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Persons who practice regularly find it to bring them better health, reduced stress, inner peace, and deepened morals. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Falun Gong is practiced by over 100 million people in 40 countries.

For more information about the practice of Falun Gong, visit http://www.falundafa.org/.

Who is Mr. Li Hongzhi?

Mr. Li Hongzhi is the founder and teacher of Falun Gong. He introduced the practice to the general public in China in 1992. In keeping with Chinese tradition, Li is often respectfully referred to as "Master" or "Teacher," but he is not accorded special treatment, nor does he accept money or donations from students of Falun Gong. Li has given lectures on Falun Gong in many countries, including Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. For his contributions to humanity he has been given over 400 honors and awards, and is a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Is Falun Gong a religion?

Like religions, Falun Gong has its spiritual beliefs. Through practicing, one strives to become a better person who is able to contribute more to our society, so the goal is similar. But in Falun Gong there are not any devotional activities or worship, nor any set doctrine or canon; there is also no membership, organization, or hierarchy. Falun Gong is more properly referred to as an ancient form of self-cultivation practice, often called qigong.

Why is the Chinese government persecuting Falun Gong?

Falun Gong is a group that simply grew too large for the communist leadership's liking; its 70-million-plus practitioners in China far outnumbered communist party members. The persecution was ordered by communist dictator Jiang Zemin, who feared losing control over people's hearts and minds. Other, smaller groups that the State has not been able to take control of are persecuted, too, like Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Tibetan Buddhists.

For a more detailed account of why the Chinese leader is persecuting Falun Gong, visit our special report on the subject (http://www.faluninfo.net/why/index.asp).

How has Falun Gong responded to this oppression?

Practitioners of Falun Gong in China have made appeals to the Chinese government via the proper legal channels, and have resisted the persecution with nonviolent public protests. There has not been a single report of responding with violence, destroying property, or the like - despite beatings, torture, jailings, murder, and other grave injustices. Practitioners outside China have taken up long marches, done hunger strikes, staged sit-ins, launched letter-writing campaigns, staged rallies, held press conferences, and documented rights abuses. 

What has been the United States' response, and that of the international community?

The US government has been unequivocal in its opposition to China's actions against Falun Gong. In November of 1999 the US House unanimously passed resolution 218, with the Senate concurring, which condemned Beijing's actions and called for the immediate release of all jailed practitioners. A new, even stronger resolution, HR 188, was introduced in July of 2002. President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have spoken out and issued statements. Governments around the world have responded with similar force. Human rights groups and other organizations have been outspoken in their support for Falun Gong's freedom of belief, including Freedom House, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the National Organization for Women.


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