Payday loansPayday Loans

Recent News

  • Myanmar Politician Preparing to Seek Legal Limits on Interfaith, Interethnic Marriage

  • Call for Religious Leaders to Teach Acceptance in Malaysia

  • Attacks on religion, liberty

  • Can Muslim lands learn to tolerate Christianity?

  • China vents anger over Dalai Lama's planned Norway visit

  • Militia attack Muslims in Central African Republic's capital

  • Egypt’s new charter stronger on personal freedoms

  • Pussy Riot members freed from prison

  • Frank Wolf, champion of religious freedom, will end congressional career

  • A Political Deal in a Deeply Divided Tunisia as Islamists Agree to Yield Power

  • Egyptian Christians Bridle at Prison Terms for Copts Only in Fatal Clash

  • The Central African Republic descending into ‘complete chaos’

  • French burqa ban challenged in top European court

  • Sharia in Sudan v. women and religious freedom

  • China aims to harness religious beliefs to promote harmony

  • Afghanistan Considers Reinstating Public Stoning for Adultery

  • Sunnis Close Baghdad Mosques to Challenge Religious Attacks

  • Modi campaign stirs religious divide in India's heartland

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, and Myanmar, faces an uncertain future

  • Syrian Christians flee persecution as Patriarch urges them to stay in war-torn country

  • Central African Republic on the verge of genocide, France warns UN

  • Myanmar rejects U.N. resolution on Rohingya Muslims

  • How the State Department Is Getting Religion

  • UN to Myanmar: Make Rohingya Muslims citizens

  • Our Failed Religious Freedom Policy

  • Turkey drops a screen over Christianity

  • Opinion: The oppression of Bahais continues in Iran

  • TAJIKISTAN: "The Law demands that all religious literature be checked by the State"

  • Sudan’s Enduring Question: The Role of Shari'ah in the Constitution and Law

  • The Role of the Hijab Is Becoming a National Problem for Russia

  • For Indian Christian leader, Narendra Modi is a threat to religious freedom

  • Commentary: The two faces of India

  • With 'loving kindness', Myanmar frees 69 political prisoners

  • New U.N. Rights Council Members Are Elected

  • Turkish court lifts headscarf ban for attorneys

  • Egypt's Christians close ranks as kidnappings spike

  • Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit

  • Frank Wolf Renews Calls for Release of U.S. Pastor from Iranian Prison

  • Many Sunnis and Shias Worry About Religious Conflict

  • China paper blames blind faith of “uncultured” Uighur youth for Xinjiang unrest

  • Turkey's Alevis protest for greater freedoms

  • KAZAKHSTAN: "He was told not to sell religious literature"

  • Myanmar violence between Buddhists, Muslims threatens reforms

  • UZBEKISTAN: Baptist camp ordered seized, Protestant pressured to inform

  • Tibetans Call China’s Policies at Tourist Spot Tacit but Stifling

  • Violence against Muslims threatening Myanmar reforms: U.N. envoy

  • Putin says unnamed foreign foes use radical Islam to weaken Russia

  • Malaysia’s curbs on use of the term ‘Allah’ hurting its moderate Muslim image

  • Vietnamese Court Orders Two Parishioners of Vinh Diocese Jailed

  • Opinion:State Department stays mute on persecuted religious minorities worldwide

  • Turkey, Religious Freedom and the Current State of Christian-Muslim Dialogue (1895)

  • In Nigeria, Wedlock Seen as Terror Fix

  • Northern Iraq no longer safe for Christians

  • Clerics call on UN military force to secure Central African Republic

  • EU condemns Egypt church violence, urges end to religion-based attacks

  • Young Turkish Jews emigrating due to anti-Semitism, tensions with Israel

  • Egypt orders trial of four policemen over killing of Islamist detainees

  • Passion of Pakistani Sufis infuriates Taliban

  • Egyptian writer may face jail for accusations of defaming religion

  • UN expert hails “key breakthrough for religious freedom reached in Cyprus”

  • Kenneth Bae's mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son

  • Conviction of Christians for Murder of Hindu Leader in India Biased, Unfounded, Attorneys Say

  • Opera Fights Hungary’s Rising Anti-Semitism

  • Buddhists and Christians denounce Hanoi for using law to control religions

  • ARMENIA: "Imprisoned conscientious objectors should be immediately and unconditionally released"

  • Bombs planted in confessional box of Syrian church

  • French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction

  • Suzan Johnson Cook to resign as religious freedom ambassador

  • BELARUS: Why is Catholic priest still detained by KGB secret police?

  • Q&A: What Court Decision on Use of ‘Allah’ Means for Malaysia

  • The Surprising Story Of 'Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an'

  • Religious tension runs deep for Vietnam’s minorities

  • Malala Yousafzai wins EU's Sakharov human rights prize

  • Religious liberty takes center stage in diplomacy with Iran

  • Turban row: Sikh NGO wins case against France at UN

  • Vietnam Lets Churches Thrive, but Keeps Control

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Pastor to be transferred from prison to house arrest

  • Kenya Salvation Army Church Torched; Four Killed

  • Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng gets U.S. platform to promote human rights

  • Orthodox leader calls for end Christians' persecution

  • Jewish groups slam Council of Europe Assembly resolution on circumcision

  • Opinion: Quebec’s coup d’etat against religious freedom

  • Small town, big impact: Supreme Court case could define religion’s role in public

  • European council passes anti-ritual circumcision resolution

  • Council of Muftis complain to U.S. reps about disrespect for Muslims in Russia

  • Woman, 94, killed as Buddhist rioters attack Muslim villages in western Myanmar

  • RUSSIA: What's wrong with "extremist" Koran translation?

  • Persecution against Christians increases in many parts of the world

  • How Promotion of Religious Freedom Can Help Prevent Extreme Violence

  • RUSSIA: Muslims rush to challenge Koran "extremism" ruling

  • Judge Ordered Sikh to Remove 'That Rag' from Head, Says ACLU

  • Donate by Paypal or Credit Card

    Solution Graphics

    Click Amazon to Help ICRF

    amzn-ba100x70.gif (2357 bytes)

    Help ICRF with your donation

    Follow ICRF on Twitter

    Twitter Image

    Like Us on Facebook

    Facebook Image
    Who’s Afraid of the Falun Gong? PDF Print E-mail

     

    Who’s Afraid of the Falun Gong?

    By Alex Colvin

    Chinese Communist Party chiefs have declared that the number one threat to Chinese security—more serious than even the Taiwan issue or Tibet—is the Falun Gong. They may be right. For almost two years now they have been waging a futile war against this organization. What exactly is Falun Gong and why are they proving to be a possible nemesis for the Communist Chinese government?

    Falun Gong grew out of a larger exercise movement known as Qigong. Qigong is a popular form of exercise similar to Tai Chi that has been practiced in parks and public squares for years without causing any consternation on the part of Chinese authorities. In 1992, Li Hongzhi introduced the practice of Falun Dafa or Falun Gong. In 1993, he published his first book of teachings entitled Falun Gong. This book and Li’s later publications are available at the Falun Dafa website http:// www.falundafa. org.

    Li maintains that Qigong has existed since prehistoric times. In the introduction to Falun Gong, he explains:

    The Falun Gong emblem features the ancient "wan" or swastika symbol, signifying good fortune.

    The "Qi" we talk about now was called "Chi" by ancient people. They are, in essence, the same…Through cultivation, the movements of the [Qi] energy substance in human body shall be activated, changing the physical state of the body, achieving the effect of healing and fitness… A person who, through practice, possesses advanced capability emits a high-energy cluster that is manifested in the form of light with fine particles and high density. This is "Gong."

    "Fa" means "Law" in the sense of a primary cosmic law that pervades all things in the universe. "Dafa" is "Great Law." "Falun" means "Law Wheel." The purpose of Falun Gong is to cultivate a person’s higher energy or "Gong." This is done not only through physical exercise but more importantly through the development of a person’s mind-nature or "Xinxing." It is this emphasis on the development of one’s internal character or mind and the stress on a non-material energy that differentiates Falun Gong from other forms of Qigong.

    The Chinese people have been bombarded by Marxist materialism for 50 years. The Chinese government, while accepting the impracticability of Marxist economic policies, continues to cling to materialism in its official ideology. Yet millions of Chinese are dissatisfied with a purely physical explanation of reality. They are turning to a wide range of religious teachings to satisfy their spiritual hunger. Movements that present such teachings are a direct threat to the power of the Communist Party because they strike at the very heart of the party’s justification for existence—its ideology.

    The Falun Gong found fertile ground for rapid expansion among the myriad Qigong practitioners. It was only a matter of time before Li Hongzhi and his followers—with their emphasis on nonmaterial reality accompanied by teachings concerning the opening of the "third eye," dangers of "demonic influences," the promise of supernormal abilities, and the ability to heal diseases—would draw the attention and the ire of Chinese authorities. Suspicion toward Falun Gong was magnified in 1998 when Li moved from China to New York. Directing the activities of his growing movement from the United States added the fuel of "foreign influence" to an already unwelcome mix of attributes.

    Until two years ago, most people had never heard of Falun Gong. Early in 1999, as part of a general crackdown on unapproved spiritual and religious groups, physicist He Zuoxiu wrote an article attacking the Falun Gong. He Zuoxiu is a science delegate to Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that advises the Chinese legislature. He is also a crusader against supernatural and "unscientific" thinking. His article caused concern among Falun Gong practitioners and helped to prompt the protest rally by 10,000 Falun Gong members in Tiananmen Square in April 1999 that caught the government totally by surprise.

    The campaign against Falun Gong began in earnest in July 1999 when the government outlawed the organization and began to arrest its leadership. In October 1999, the national legislature passed a law enabling authorities to sentence members of "evil cults" to up to seven years in prison. Thus, Falun Gong leaders were tried under a law that was passed after they were arrested.

    In the past two years, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong members have been arrested and 10,000 or more have been sentenced to labor camps and reeducation centers. According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong, 62 Fulan Gong members had died in custody through November of last year. Three hundred or more have been sentenced to 18 or more years in prison.

    Yet despite the heavy hand of repression, Falun Gong has not only survived, but has continued to carry on demonstrations against the government. On October 1, 2000, they embarrassed the government by holding a rally interrupting the 51st anniversary celebration of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China. Moreover, the movement has been gaining a wide support among expatriate Chinese throughout the world.

    The persecution of the Falun Gong has caught the attention of the human rights community. In January, newly appointed Secretary of State Colin Powell raised the issue of Falun Gong in his meeting with outgoing Chinese Ambassador Li Zhao Xing. In February, the Bush administration announced its  decision to ask the UN Commission on Human Rights to censure China. During the same month Dutch Foreign Minister, Jozias Van Aartsen, cancelled a trip to China because the Chinese government would not allow a planned meeting with Falun Gong members to take place in Hong Kong during the minister’s visit.

    The clash between Chinese authorities and Falun Gong continues to intensify. The Chinese government has sought to use the self-immolation of several apparent Falun Gong members to incite popular feeling against the group. Falun Gong leaders maintain that suicide is unacceptable and that the victims were therefore not real members. Anti-Falun Gong scientist He Zuoxiu recently accused the US Congress of funding the Falun Gong in an attempt to undermine the government of China.

    Intensifying the persecution has strengthened the resolve of Li Hongzhi and his followers. Li has taught that practitioners of Falun Gong must expect tribulations as a test of one’s faith and discipline. Last November, Li released a speech in which he instructed members that they may abandon "forbearance" in their opposition to government persecution. The attitude of Falun Gong members has changed over the past two years. Originally, they wished only to be left alone to practice their chosen path. Increasingly they see the Chinese government as an enemy possessed by evil forces.

    Where will these dynamics of polarization and confrontation lead? It is hard to tell. In the campaign that the Chinese government is fighting against unregulated religions, "Falun Gong" has become China’s obsession and the focal point of international attention. China’s leaders may have opened a can of worms that reveals their Achilles heel.