About Falun Gong

What is Falun Gong?

For thousands of years, the Chinese have engaged in body, mind and spiritual practices loosely known as “qigong,” whose purpose is to improve one’s health and cultivate one’s virtue. Tai chi, the martial arts and yoga emanated from this rich tradition and Lao Zi and Confucius are examples of its teachers. Falun Gong is one of these body, mind and spiritual practices. Like its kin, it consists of five gentle exercises, and meditation. Falun Gong is based on the principles of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Those who practice, regularly find it to bring them better health (Health Survey), reduced stress, inner peace, a deepened sense of morality and a state of selflessness and inner balance. Although it is an ancient practice, it was first made public in China in May 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong. It then quickly spread by word of mouth.

By 1996 Mr. Li’s third book, Zhuan Falun, was on Beijing’s bestseller list; Mr. Li began to teach the practice abroad, traveling to Sweden, France, Germany, Australia, the United States and other nations. Today tens of millions of people in over 75 countries practice Falun Gong.

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A number of governments outside of China have lauded the practice, bestowing Falun Gong and its teacher with more than thirteen hundred proclamations along with four consecutive nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. A number of states and municipalities in the U.S. have designated days or weeks in recognition of Falun Gong and its civic value. A number of officials, ranging from the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), have been vocal in their support of Falun Gong, and the US Congress has passed legislation supporting Falun Gong.

Why the Chinese Communist Regime Persecutes Falun Gong

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party head Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution against Falun Gong. Several major reasons have been suggested for his decision. First, historically, the Communist party is known for its suppression of independent thought. The atheist Communist regime could not accept the fact that after more than 40 years of Marxist indoctrination so many people, including Communist party members, would look elsewhere for moral and spiritual guidance. Second, Jiang used the persecution as a means to consolidate his power, control his cohorts, and demand their loyalty. Key figures supported Falun Gong: two of seven Politburo members practiced it, and all had relatives or family members who were practitioners. Third, by 1998, the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded the number of Chinese communist party members. Fourth, Jiang, who is well known for his personal jealousy and insecurity, envied the popularity of Falun Gong’s founder.

For a more in-depth analysis of the reasons for the persecution, please visit: Special Report; In-depth Analysis.

There is no doubt about the brutality of the persecution. In spite of the regime’s attempt to control information, sources have revealed that, within the past seven years, more than 2,898 practitioners have been tortured to death in police custody. In fact, according to the government's official internal statistics, the actual number of practitioners who died after being arrested reached 1,600 just by the end of 2001. In addition, at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced to prison; estimates have been made that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 have been sentenced to forced labor camps; human rights workers have documented over 38,000 specific cases of torture or severe abuse. More than 500 have been sentenced to prison terms for up to 18 years. It is also known that hundreds of thousands have been subjected to forced brainwashing, physical and mental torture, loss of employment and pension income, expulsion from school, and loss their homes and families. They have even been forcibly sent to psychiatric hospitals to be tortured with injections that damage the central nervous system.

Finally, a number people of conscience have reported that the Communist regime is harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners to advertise and sell internationally at a profit. 

There is no doubt that the persecution of Falun Gong is a biggest human rights violation ever to have occurred in China. In the past seven years, Falun Gong practitioners worldwide have been continually working toward stopping the persecution and gaining more and more support from the international community.

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