Bronze-level articleFalun Gong

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Knock it off — it's the Falun Dafa emblem: it doesn't mean that anyway.
Drink the Kool-Aid


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But you WANT to stay
[I]f you really want some fun, read Li Hongzhi's Time magazine interview(link) and enjoy as it slowly goes from "yeah, sounds reasonable" to "wtf, he's talking about aliens invading earth?"

Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (Great Law of the Falun) is a Chinese cult based on traditional qi gong practices that was founded in 1992. The Chinese government's attempts to suppress the movement have resulted in the group becoming something of a cause célèbre among human rights groups and the anti-China crowd. Many of its more visible members support social conservatism, segregated paradises[2] and anti-communism, which helped popularize the movement in the West. Their rallying call is very easy to identify: 法轮大法好 or "Falun Great Law is good!"


[edit] Political movement or harmless religious group?

Attitudes towards Falun Gong are sharply divided.[3] Chinese government sources charged that the group was a threat to social stability and was seeking to overthrow the government,[4] while supporters argue that they are being oppressed because the group had grown too large and its beliefs conflicted with the government's atheist philosophy.[5] Public perceptions in the English-speaking world are skewed by the highly successful public relations campaigns operated by Falun Gong practitioners, and knee-jerk paranoia about the Chinese government.[6]

Jiang Zemin, the leader of the Communist Party, banned Falun Gong's publishings in 1997, causing Li Hongzhi to immigrate to the United States. A crackdown on the movement formally began after a 1999 incident in which ten thousand practitioners quietly surrounded the CCP compound in Beijing to request legal recognition in response to a teens' magazine article that attacked the practice.[7][8] The government produced, among others, a videotape called "Falun Gong--Cult of Evil" and a comic book titled "Li Hongzhi: The Man and His Evil Deeds." They accused Li of being a fraud, a "swindler," a rich tax evader, a decadent patron of foreign casinos and brothels and a "despotic tyrant like Hitler." Even the description on the official arrest and bounty warrant was insulting: "Li is about 1.78 meters in height with slanted eyebrows, single-edged eyelids, a little bit fat…"[9]

Before the crackdown, Falun Gong had been promoted and sponsored by regional governments as a healthy traditional/indigenous form of exercise. This led to a large number of people in the Chinese police, jurisdiction and propaganda systems becoming practitioners.[citation needed] It is still debated whether Falun Gong actively extended its structure to gain a power hold, or if some opposition inside the party used connections made through Falun Gong infrastructure for their own benefit.

It has been alleged that Jiang Zemin began the persecution of Falun Gong as a means to repair his own suffering popularity. Of particular note is that he used his power over the military and police to create the 610 Office, a paramilitary security organization loyal to the CCP. Its primary goal was to investigate and apprehend people thought of as threats to the CCP. Its primary target of suppression includes Falun Gong, although house church Christians, Buddhists and other religious or spiritual groups are also included.[10] Discrimination against Falun Gong continued with his successor Hu Jintao. [11] Under Xi Jinping, his rival, forced organ harvesting from political prisoners, including Falun Gong, was discovered, showing that persecution continues to this day.[12]

[edit] Teachings

Five exercises of Falun Dafa.

Falun Gong claims to combine Chinese folk religion with modern-day eschatology. The organization is vehemently opposed to homosexuality and premarital sex, and generally holds the same social views as the Catholic Church. As part of the larger Qi Gong movement, Falun Gong also endorses traditional Chinese medicine, its adherents claiming that the techniques they teach are a replacement for evidence-based medicine.[3] Falun Gong takes a Christian science approach to illness, claiming that sickness is the result of past-life transgressions.

Falun Gong combines Chinese folk religion with qigong techniques designed to harness energy in the body. The practice identifies as belonging to the "Buddhist school," though it deviates from traditional Buddhism[citation needed]. It also incorporates language and symbology from Daoism. Its stated central tenets are "truth, compassion, and tolerance" (zhen, shan, ren in Chinese), which it regards as the highest manifestation of the Dao or Buddhist Dharma.[7][13] It espouses socially conservative views comparable to those found in Buddhist and Christian beliefs.[14] That includes prescriptions against pre-marital and extra-marital sex, as well as homosexuality, which are described as producing negative "karma."[15] However, these teachings are only regarded as guidelines for personal conduct, and they do not translate into a social or political position.[16]

Falun Gong holds ancient Chinese knowledge to be a superior epistemic system than Western science.[17] Because Falun Gong teaches that sickness is the result of karma accrued in past lives, followers sometimes eschew conventional medical treatment in non-life threatening situations.[18]

Despite the common perception that they are general troublemakers, Falun Gong states that they are aggressively nonviolent.[19] The group's teachings officially eschew most forms of political involvement.[20] Of course, given the beliefs of the group, "political involvement" is rather creatively defined — protests and advocating against same-sex marriage or the Chinese government is acceptable, while actually becoming a politician[21] is discouraged.[22]

The founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi, is regarded in Falun Gong beliefs as a type of savior who has come to the earth to "rectify" the way (the Dharma) and prevent "true" spiritual teachings from being lost.

[edit] Cult of personality

Li Hongzhi claims to have miraculous powers. He claims that he is the savior of humanity, who has come to the earth to "rectify" the way and prevent "true" spiritual teachings from being lost. He claims that ancient Chinese knowledge is far superior to current teachings on science.[23] His propagandists are known for hijacking reprints of Buddhist texts and inserting him as the "Main Buddha of the Universe".

[edit] Teachings on race and homosexuality

The movement's teaching on race-related issues are somewhat questionable. Li Hongzhi maintains that interracial relationships are a symptom of moral degeneration and a sign of the Dharma ending period and that race divisions continue to exist in the afterlife, that people of different skin colors go to different heavens, and that as a result interracial children cannot go to heaven without the personal intervention of Li Hongzhi.[8]

According to a letter to the editor of the San Francisco News Sentinel in 2006 written by a man who claimed to be the son of Falun Gong practitioners, the movement also teaches that "homosexuality is not the standard of being human, the priority of Gods will be to eliminate homosexuals and that gays are demonic in nature."[24] Other postings on the internet echo this.[25]

[edit] View on modern science

Only Buddha(s) are the greatest scientists.
—Li Hongzhi's lecture in Sydney[26]

Falun Gong seems to be endorsing a view similar to evolution denial or Vedic creationism. Plate tectonics is mentioned immediately after this paragraph but used as an evidence AGAINST speciation, and for ancient civilizations from "from tens of million years ago". New Age concepts imported into China during a 1978-1983 popular science boom such as Atlantis, Mu and Lemuria are implicitly mentioned.

Some people claim, "Our human race evolved from apes." In fact, let me tell you that man did not evolve from apes at all. Darwin proposed a theory, which says, "Man has evolved from apes." When he made public this theory at that time, he brought it out with great trepidation. His theory is full of loopholes and is incomplete, and yet, it has been accepted by people to this day. Please think about it. The evolutionary process that he proposed of apes evolving to man, a process of tens of millions of years, cannot be found. There isn’t one. Why weren’t there such people between apes and human beings? Not just human beings, but other things as well. None of the evolved animals that he referred to had the transitional process. In addition, why are the species that exist on the continent of Australia different from the species that exist on other continents? He could explain none of these. Nevertheless this theory of evolution with all its loopholes has been accepted by human beings. This is indeed strange!

In fact, man did not evolve from apes at all in our view, only that there are different species existing in each time period. The continental plates on the earth planet inhabited by mankind are shifting and changing. Geologists call the continents of Asia, Europe, America, North America, and South America the continental plates. The continental plates changed from time to time, and the civilizations on them would sink to the bottom of the waters. Then, another continent would perhaps surface in another ocean, and such changes are continually taking place. Now, people have also discovered huge ancient buildings and the existence of past civilizations under the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, as well as many other oceans. However, upon examination, they are all found to be things that existed several hundred thousand years or several million years ago, or even earlier than that. At least, our present mankind knows that the continental plates have not changed in the past several hundred thousand years. When did they sink to the bottom of the waters then? They definitely sunk very early, several hundred thousand years ago or even earlier than that. Therefore, when different continental plates changed, the species on them were also different. They did not come from evolution. There were similarities, but they were not of the same species.

Li Hongzhi himself believes mixed-race people should be outcasts of every human society. He said his practice will send whites to heaven and Asians to Buddhist heaven. Selling to xenophobes. Yeah, he's selling his belief to anyone with a price discrimination.

The races in the world are not allowed to be mixed up. Now, the races are mixed up and it has brought about an extraordinarily serious problem. Once races are mixed up, one does not have a corresponding relationship with the higher levels, and he has lost the root. Mixed races have lost their roots, as if nobody in the paradise will take care of them. They belong to nowhere, and no places would accept them. Therefore, you find the place where the continents of Europe and Asia meet a desert in the past and a depopulated zone. When the transportation means were not advanced, it was difficult to pass through it. With the progress of modern means, all these are broken through. Thus, races have become increasingly mixed up, which can lead to serious consequences. Of course, I will not go into details. I'm just saying that the higher levels do not recognize such a human race.

Discarded scientific concepts and pseudo-scientific concepts are a large source for Falun Gong's worldview. They play a smaller part in the propaganda outside China after the crackdown, but they have not been changed in the texts.

I am telling everyone that this dimensional layer where mankind lives is between two kinds of particles. As for particles, those of us who have studied physics know that molecules, atoms, nuclei, quarks, and neutrinos are each a layer of particles. They are physical elements that constitute larger particles. Which layer of particles does mankind exist in? The largest things that we see with human eyes are planets, and the smallest things that we can see under the microscope are molecules. In fact, our mankind just exists in this dimensional layer between the planets and the molecules. We may find it very vast, very extensive, and incomparably big. I say that modern science is not advanced. No matter how far a spacecraft can fly, it cannot fly beyond this physical dimension of ours. However developed a computer is, it cannot match the human brain. Now the human brain is still a mystery. Therefore, the science of mankind is still very shallow.

Falun Dafa materials often mention a 2-billion year old nuclear reactor in Africa, which is an artifact of an advanced ancient civilization.[27][13][7] While the reactor in question definitely exists,[28] all available evidence suggests that it has formed naturally, without any intervention from ancient intelligence.

[edit] Generic craziness

An idea that once was prominent in Chinese Falun Gong is Yuan Man or "Consummation/Full Circle",[29] a state related to Moksha but not very specific. (Mis)Intepretation by low-level Falun Gong instructor and missionaries often blends this idea into the more indigenous notion of an afterlife, so self-flagellation from removal of palatine uvula to ritual suicides are not uncommon even a few years after the crackdown. Today, it is redefined after the more sane Moksha.

[edit] Propaganda and sabotage back in China

From June 23, 2002 to August 7, 2007, Chinese civil communication satellites including Sino I, Asia Pacific Sat VI and Asia 3S were hacked 252 times with a total of 160 hours by the Falun Gong organization.[30] According to the International Telecommunication Union, it is illegal to deliberately disrupt or jam normal satellite TV broadcasting.

On the evening of March 5, 2002, the trunk fiber optical cables in Changchun city and Songyuan city (Li Hongzhi's hometown), Jilin province, were cut off by Falun Gong members and reconnected to programs produced by the cult. Thousands of local citizens failed to receive the normal TV signals.

[edit] The ten greatest evils according to Li Hongzhi

世界十惡, or The Ten Greatest Evils in The World, 07/07/1998[31]

[edit] Victims of organ harvesting?

In 2006, the Kilgour-Matas report was released by a Canadian MP which suggested that Falun Gong members have been subject to involuntary organ harvesting.[32] However, the U.S. Congressional Research Service later released an analysis of the report arguing that there was insufficient evidence that this was actually the case.[33] Similar claims have been produced by journalist Ethan Gutmann, who also alleges organ harvesting targeted members of the Uighur ethnic minority group in the 1990s.[34] The United Nations Committee on Torture called for China to schedule an independent investigation into the allegations.[35]

Since 1999, human rights groups have reported that Falun Gong practitioners are subject to widespread arbitrary imprisonment, as well as torture and abuse in custody. An extra-constitutional body, the 6-10 Office was created to lead the suppression of Falun Gong.[36] The authorities mobilized state media apparatus, judiciary, police force, army, education system, families, and workplaces against the group.[37] The campaign, driven by a large-scale propaganda through television, newspaper, radio and internet, urged families and workplaces to actively assist in the campaign. There are reports of systematic torture,[38][39] illegal imprisonment, forced labour, and psychiatric abuses, with the apparent aim of forcing practitioners to recant their belief in Falun Gong.[40][41]

Foreign observers estimate that since 1999, hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in "re-education through labor" camps, prisons, and detention facilities for refusing to renounce the spiritual practice.[42][43] At least 2,000 Falun Gong adherents have been tortured to death amidst the persecution campaign,[44] with some observers putting the number much higher.

As with other information on Falun Gong, there is a great deal of obfuscation going on, as most media outlets that feature reports on the group are either drawn directly from Falun Gong supporters[45] or sources within the Chinese government. As international customers of organs often prefer to not disclose how many and specifically what organs are imported from China, it is hard to gain a profile on who is 'kidneying' whom through statistics alone.

[edit] Meme on the Chinese internet sphere

Due to somewhat reduced pressure by the government and the nature of the internet a lot of Falun Gong material has gone online for all to see since 2008. Their uncensored teachings are openly ridiculed by Chinese forum-goers and have given birth to the meme of calling any trend or popular thing a 大法 (or "Great Law"), combined with a ballad formatted after Falun Gong poems attacking the Chinese government. A collection of "Great Law" copypasta can be viewed here.

[edit] Other media

[edit] Epoch Times

Falun Gong publishes the free, widely-distributed and multi-lingual newspaper Epoch Times.[46] Besides its usual anti-PRC diatribes which asks readers to "resign" from the Chinese Communist Party regardless of actual membership, the paper often publishes woo and conspiracies such as chemtrails[47]. Recently, the European editions has taken an anti-Muslim bent, with unverified claims that German schools banned Christian festivals to appease Muslims,[48], as well as a gang of refugees kidnapping and raping a German schoolgirl [49]. Such stories were picked up by far right wingnutters such as Infowars and Pamela Geller.

[edit] Shen Yun

Shen Yun Performing Arts (神韵艺术团) is a Falun Gong-run operation, which presents itself as "a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization."[50] Shen Yun promotional materials rarely, if ever, mention their connection to Falun Gong. This is disingenuous since politics is mixed into their performances, either in the narration between performances, the lyrics of songs (with translated supertitles projected on a screen), or in ballet performances.[51][52]

[edit] Footnotes

  2. Yes, you did not read this wrong, segregated heavens are mentioned in Li Hongzhi's Sydney lecture.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Critics and followers of Falun Gong
  4. One example
  5. Vivienne Shue, "Legitimacy Crisis in China?".
  6. The group's Wikipedia article, which completely whitewashes the organization, is currently under discretionary sanctions imposed after a 2007 arbitration
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Benjamin Penny (2012) "The Religion of Falun Gong"
  8. 8.0 8.1 New York Times: Rooting Out Falun Gong; China Makes War on Mysticism
  9. Washinton Post:
  13. 13.0 13.1 Li Hongzhi, Zhuan Falun
  14. "China's Policies Toward Spiritual Movements".
  15. Misconceptions: "Intolerant"?
  16. Hu Ping (2007) "The Falun Gong Phenomenon".
  17. "Modern equipment is pretty advanced, but I'd say it's still not as good as ancient Chinese medical science." — Zhuan Falun.
  18. Noah Porter, Falun Gong in the United States.
  19. Just go with it.
  20. Aside from self-immolation, apparently.
  21. You know, somebody who might actually be able to change the law
  22. David Ownby (2008) Falun Gong and the Future of China
  23. "Modern equipment is pretty advanced, but I'd say it's still not as good as ancient Chinese medical science."
  24. Falun Gong: The face of Chinese opposition, or a Chinese Scientology?, Daily Kos.
  25. Falun Gong - Harmless exercise fanatics, or weird cult?
  26. Li Hongzhi. Falun Dafa: Lecture in Sydney
  27. Falun Dafa: Prehistoric nuclear reactor in Gabon Republic
  28. Geology: The Oklo Natural Nuclear Reactor
  29. 法輪大法
  30. Infringement of public interests by Falun Gong, Chapter 2 Harassment Goes Everywhere (page 11)
  32. [1]
  33. China and the Falun Gong
  34. Ethan Gutmann, "China’s Gruesome Organ Harvest," The Weekly Standard, Nov 24 2008
  35. MARKET WIRE via COMTEX, China's Organ Harvesting Questioned Again by UN Special Rapporteurs: FalunHR Reports, 8 May 2008, accessed 16/6/08
  36. Congressional-Executive commission on China, Annual Report 2008.
  37. Johnson, Ian, Wild Grass: three portraits of change in modern china, Vintage (8 March 2005)
  38. (23 March 2000) The crackdown on Falun Gong and other so-called heretical organizations, Amnesty International
  39. John Pomfret and Philip Pan. "Torture is Breaking Falun Gong." The Washington Post, 5 Aug 2001.
  40. United Nations (4 February 2004) Press Release HR/CN/1073, retrieved 12 September 2006
  41. Mickey Spiegel, "Dangerous Meditation: China's Campaign Against Falungong", Human Rights Watch, 2002, accessed Sept 28, 2007
  42. Congressional Executive Commission on China, Annual Report 2008
  43. U.S. Department of State, 2009 Country Report on Human Rights: China (includes Hong Kong and Macao)
  44. Andrew Jacobs. 'China Still Presses Crusade Against Falun Gong', New York Times, 27 April 2009.
  45. For example, [2]
  46. [3] Epoch Times website]
  47. Nervous-System Damage From the Sky by Louise McCoy, Epoch Times October 18, 2012.
  48. Rücksicht auf Flüchtlinge: Sankt-Martins-Fest soll in "Lichterfest" umbenannt werden Epoch Times, Samstag, 31. Oktober 2015 14:01
  49. Berlin: 13-Jährige 30 Stunden lang entführt und vergewaltigt
  50. Shen Yun about itself
  51. E. Assata Wright of The Hudson Reporter on Shen Yun
  52. Judith Mitchell of The Guardian on Shen Yun
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