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Falun Gong

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[I]f you really want some fun, read Li Hongzhi's Time magazine interview[1] 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 personality cult or a new religious movement disguised as a "spiritual practice" based on the Chinese qi gong and founded in 1992 by Li HongzhiWikipedia. Some people — including Rick Ross of the Cult Education Institute,[3] the Chinese government in Beijing,[4] and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation exposé[5] — regard it as a cult, others have disagreed on what it actually is.[6][7]

The Chinese government's attempts to suppress the movement have resulted in the group becoming something of a cause célèbre among human-rights groups (until they found about Li Hongzhi's vile views regarding race and homosexuality) and the anti-China crowd. Li Hongzhi claimed 100 million and claimed CCP official figures of 60 million and 70 million adherents. The 1999 investigation into Falun Gong by the CCP identified 2.3 million.[8] 2004 documents provided by defected Chinese analyst Chen Yonglin claimed 60,000.[9]

Many of its more visible members support social conservatism, segregated paradises where people of mixed race don't belong[note 1] and anti-communism — these stances have helped to popularize the movement in certain circles in the West, especially among the far-right. Falun Gong's rallying call is very easy to identify: 法轮大法好 (fǎlún dàfǎ hǎo; "Falun Great Law is good!") The Falun Gong also run The Epoch TimesWikipedia, which is rife with far-right misinformation and conspiracy theories such as QAnon.[10]


PPAP Five exercises of Falun Dafa.

Falun Gong combines Chinese folk religion, modern-day eschatology, and qigong techniques for "harnessing" body energy. The practice identifies as belonging to the "Buddhist school," though it deviates from traditional Buddhism and incorporates language and symbology from Taoism. 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.[11][12]

The founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi (李洪志), 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. He also believes that Falun Gong's exercises are means to the end of human salvation, as the earth is entering its last days to moral degeneracy.[13]

The Ten Greatest Evils in The World (世界十惡) according to Li Hongzhi:[14][15]

  1. 人無善念 人人為敵 (hostility)
  2. 破壞傳統 文化頹廢 (destroying tradition; embracement of cultural decadence)
  3. 同性慾亂 心暗魔變 (homosexuality and promiscuity)
  4. 興賭興毒 隨心所欲 (gambling and drug abuse)
  5. 開放性亂 導向邪惡 (sexual liberation and promiscuity)
  6. 黑幫亂黨 政匪一家 (gang influence on the ruling body)
  7. 自主亂民 逆天叛道 (deranging the masses against the Heavens)
  8. 迷信科學 變異人類 (Blind belief in science, apparently it leads to mutations)
  9. 吹崇暴力 好勇鬥狠 (reverence of violence)
  10. 宗教邪變 錢客政客 (the influence of money and politics on religion)

Li has stated that "drug use, sex changes, homosexuality, sexual freedom, organized crime, modern art, rock and roll,… [and] the soccer field" are absolutely evil.[16]

Li claimed in a 1999 Interview that Enlightened Beings™ can levitate, perform faith healing and walk through the Great Wall of China just as David Copperfield did. When asked why aliens wanted to corrupt humanity through the use of technology he replied, "The aliens want the human body."[1]

In a radical interpretation of Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms (and thus Three Kingdoms-era history), he claims that the 3rd Century warlord Cao Cao died because he rejected the supernatural powers of the doctor Hua Tuo, who purportedly discovered the cause of his headaches to be a brain tumor.[17]:10-13

The current universe we live in was made, "...after being exploded nine times."[17]:2

Only the most basic level of enlightenment is available to those who maintain relationships with non-believer friends and family.[17]:73

Modern medicine cannot cure illness, only complete obedience to Li's teachings can do so.[17]:10, 22

When asked if it is acceptable to urinate or defecate after practice, Li explained that excrement only contained a small amount of energy. He went on to add, "In teaching this class, the energy I discharged was immensely powerful, and was left all over the walls."[17]:77

Aliens among us[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: Extraterrestrial and Alien invasion

For someone who one would expect wanted to appear outwardly mainstream, Li gave away the "milk before meat" game by revealing his beliefs about aliens in his 1999 TIME Magazine interview:[1]

  • Aliens have invaded the human mind.
  • Aliens come from other planets and dimensions.
  • Aliens introduced machinery such as computers and airplanes to humans.
  • Aliens taught humans modern science.
  • Aliens intend to replace humans.
  • Aliens cause wars.
  • Aliens want to take over human bodies because human bodies are the most perfect in the Universe.

Relations with major religions[edit]

In the speech titled "Teaching Fa at the Fa Conference in North America", Li Hongzhi recognizes the power of Buddhist and Daoist gods, but claims that Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism and Judaism are out of touch with today's modernized society and that God does not recognize religions.[18]

In Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhi writes that the "Daoist school practices solitary cultivation; The Daoist religion should not exist" and that Falun Dafa transcends both Buddhist and Daoist teachings. [19]

Cult of personality[edit]

Li Hongzhi (李洪志) in 2010
See the main article on this topic: Personality cult
TIME: Are you a human being?
Li: You can think of me as a human being.[1]

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 further claims that this ancient Chinese knowledge is far superior to science.[20] His propagandists are known for hijacking reprints of Buddhist texts and inserting him as the "Main Buddha of the Universe".

Master Li currently resides in a compound called Dragon Springs in New York state, which housed temples, schools, and residences of the Shen Yun performers.[21] Former practitioners noted Li's control of the compound, which restricts Internet access, discourages modern medicine, and promoted arranged relationships.[22]


The organization is vehemently opposed to homosexuality and premarital sex, generally holding the same social views as the Catholic Church. It espouses socially conservative views comparable to those found in Buddhist and Christian beliefs.[23] That includes proscriptions against pre-marital and extra-marital sex, as well as homosexuality, which are described as producing negative "karma."[24] However, these teachings are only regarded as guidelines for personal conduct, and do not necessarily translate into a social or political position.[25] (Whether that would remain the case were Falun Gong to ever gain political power is yet to be seen.)

Views on races[edit]

The movement's teaching on race-related issues are vehemently racist. 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.[26]

Li Hongzhi himself believes mixed-race people should be outcasts of every human society. At a 1996 Sydney lecture:[27]

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.

And at a 1999 Los Angeles lecture:[28]

In fact, no one knows that even though many people talk about believing in Buddhas or believing in gods, the truth is, if you aren’t someone from that particular god’s world he won’t save you whatsoever. I once made a statement that whether it’s Christianity or Catholicism, in their paradises there are no Eastern people. This is an absolute truth which man doesn’t understand. Yet Western religions went to the East with the Crusades, and the way they spread wasn’t good to begin with, since both Jesus and Yahweh prohibited their disciples from spreading the teachings eastward. It was to prevent the mixing of human races, but they didn’t understand this.

And at a 1999 Sydney lecture:[29]

Student: People of the white race are left over from the previous civilization. Then people of the yellow race and members of other races are…

Teacher: During the previous cycle of civilization the continental plates were different from those of today. But roughly speaking, people of the yellow race lived in the regions of South America and North America. The Native Americans who live there at present are classified as being of the yellow race. The people of the yellow race who lived in the place where China is now—the most central place [where they were] at that time was at Kazakhstan—after the Great Flood, they migrated to the region that is the great desert of Xinjiang. At that time it was a land of fertile soil. Later on they continually migrated eastward. Strictly speaking, Indians, Egyptians, Persians, the yellow race, the white race, and the black race are the six major races of the present Earth. All the other ones are mixed races.

At a 1999 Sydney lecture:[29]

The Indan race was created by Buddhas, and that's why the dancing of Indians, the way they carry themselves, and their hand gestures are similar to those of Buddhas. Indians really are a race created by Buddhas. As far as Orientals go, a portion of them were created by Nu Wa, while another portion were created by Daos. Actually, to put it more precisely, the earliest race in the early days of North America and South America was the yellow race. They're now called people of the red race, but they're in fact of the yellow race--they were tanned by the sun. (Everyone laughs) The people of the true red race were the ancient Egyptians. Maybe it's not possible to find them now, since most of them have mixed their blood with blacks.

Views on homosexuality[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Homosexuality

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."[30] Other postings on the internet echo this.[31]


See the main article on this topic: Pseudoscience
Only Buddha(s) are the greatest scientists.
—Li Hongzhi's lecture in Sydney[32]

Falun Gong both denigrates science (antiscience) and pushes non-scientific belief systems (pseudoscience).

Apocalyptic teachings[edit]

According to former members, Falun Gong believes that in an upcoming apocalypse, communists and people who speak ill of the practice will be sent to a special hell, while practitioners and supporters of the practice will be spared.[21]

Quitting the Party[edit]

Falun Gong has long advocated for members to announce that they have quit from the Chinese Communist Party (退党); more specifically, they advocate "三退" (the three quits): quitting not just from the Party but also its affiliated organizations, including the Young Pioneers of China and the Communist Youth League (komsomol equivalent), into which many Chinese are initiated. By "quitting the party", Falun Gong does not mean simply no longer attending Party events; instead, it means publicly renouncing the Party, with renunciations under pseudonyms also being permitted. Many of the criticisms they raise of the Chinese Communist Party in their Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party (《九评共产党》) are completely legitimate political criticisms of an authoritarian and oppressive party, albeit written in the style of a McCarthyite polemic. However, Falun Gong's advocacy for quitting the Communist Party is not simple political advocacy; it carries a strong eschatological bent, as evident in the catchphrase "退党保平安" (tuì dǎng bǎo píng Ān; quitting the Party ensures your peace and safety).

According to Falun Gong teachings, those who have joined the Chinese Communist Party or its affiliated organizations must announce their separation from them in order to avoid the wrath of God. According to one Falun Gong website, the Chinese Communist Party is Satanic in nature, with the Great Red Dragon in the Book of Revelation being the "manifestation of the Communist Party in a different realm."[33] People who have been sworn into the ranks of the Communist Party or its affiliated organizations have therefore acquired the mark of the Beast and will perish when "the Heavens destroy the Chinese Communist Party" unless they "announce [their] departure from these organizations of the Chinese Communist Party [and thereby] wipe away the mark of the Beast."[33]

So far, the paper proclaims that "hundreds of millions" of people have quit the CCP, even though the Party itself only has 90 million official members as of 2020.[34]

Ancient Chinese knowledge > science[edit]

Falun Gong holds ancient Chinese knowledge to be a superior epistemic system to modern science. For example, Zhuan Falun writes: "Modern equipment is pretty advanced, but I'd say it's still not as good as ancient Chinese medical science."[20]


As part of the larger Qi Gong movement, Falun Gong endorses traditional Chinese medicine. Its adherents claim that the techniques they teach are a replacement for evidence-based medicine.[35] Falun Gong takes a Christian science approach to illness, denying the reality of pain and disease and believing them to be deceptive misconceptions of the pure spiritual nature of man and God. Furthermore, Falun Gong claims that sickness is the result of past-life transgressions.

Because Falun Gong teaches that sickness is the result of karma accrued in past lives, followers often eschew conventional medical treatment, sometimes even in life threatening situations.[36] Former Falun Gong practitioner Ben Hurley noted that several fellow practitioners died as a result of refusals to seek medical treatment, hiding their illnesses from their own families and believing that their diseases were caused by their lack of "righteous thoughts."[37]

"Ancient civilizations" and evolution denial[edit]

Falun Gong seems to be endorsing a view similar to evolution denial or Vedic creationism. Plate tectonics is mentioned immediately after this paragraph, but it is used as evidence AGAINST speciation, and for ancient civilizations 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.

Falun Dafa materials often mention a 2-billion year old nuclear reactor in Africa, which is an artifact of an advanced ancient civilization.[38][12][11] While the reactor in question definitely exists,[39] all available evidence suggests that it has formed naturally, without any intervention from ancient intelligence.

Quantum woo[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Quantum woo

Outdated scientific 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.

Generic enthusiasm: "full circle"[edit]

An idea that once was prominent in Chinese Falun Gong is Yuan Man or "Consummation/Full Circle",[40] a state related to Moksha but not very specific. (Mis)Intepretation by low-level Falun Gong instructors 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.

Religious media[edit]

Scholars have noted the embracement of Falun Gong by mainstream media in the Western world, often minimizing its woo and depicting it as simply a series of harmless exercises.[41][42][43] This is aided by Falun Gong's ability to mobilize its supporters quickly and its penchant for lawsuits and protests. News publications often uncritically publish information from press releases created by Falun Gong affiliated groups.[44]

Epoch Times[edit]

Truth and Tradition
—The slogan of Epoch Times since about 2019[45] — it's not so much of either as detailed by Media Bias/Fact Check and its Beyond Science section
Epoch Times for sale in Manhattan: 25¢ for you, free elsewhere

Falun Gong publishes the widely-distributed and multilingual newspaper Epoch Times.[46][47] Besides its usual anti-PRC diatribes that ask readers to "resign" from the Chinese Communist Party regardless of actual membership, the paper often publishes woo and conspiracies such as chemtrails,[48] UFOs,[49] and an entire section titled "Beyond Science."[50] The Beyond Science section includes such things as "12 Million-Year-Old Vehicle Tracks",[51] ancient Sumerian spaceships,[52] and hype over meditation[53] and near-death experiences.[54]

Former employees noted the secrecy of the publication's ownership and funding, and tendency to promote red-baiting as well as anti-abortion and homophobic views.[21] Other former writers noted its almost slave labor-like work environment, where they need to meet a quota of writing five articles per day and reaching 100,000 views, and are paid in "virtue," a "white substance in another dimension that you gain when you do good things."[37] Falun Gong-associated editors then remove mentions of issues which conflict with "traditional values" as well as those unfavorable to Trump.[21] This is not surprising since it was promoted by Chris Kitze of fake new website Before It's News.[55]

In 2015, taking advantage of social anxieties over the refugee crisis, the German edition has taken an anti-Muslim bent, with unverified stories such as German schools banning Christian festivals to appease Muslims[56] and a gang of refugees kidnapping and raping a German schoolgirl,[57] as well as outright antisemitic claims such as the Rothschild family profiting from the refugee crisis, sourced from a far right conspiracy website.[58] A German media report found that the paper offers favorable coverage of right wing populist and anti-immigrant groups like Alternative für Deutschland and PEGIDA, presenting them as "guardians of democracy," and accuses German public broadcasters of "media bias." Its staff, mostly made up of practitioners of Falun Gong, are untrained in the basics of journalism and fact checking. They have a reputation of publishing almost anything, including claims that Chancellor Angela Merkel is attempting to transform German society by replacing White Germans with Muslim refugees.[59] So far, its attempts to bed German far right has paid off, gathering over 4 million views in January 2016, and becoming one of the favorite media sources of PEGIDA supporters.[60][61]

The French edition of Epoch Times has promoted far right politicians such as Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine Le Pen.[59]

The paper is heavily supportive of Donald Trump.[62] One of its editorials praised Trump for "changing America's socialist policies."[63] The paper supports Trump to the degree of outright promoting conspiracy theories such as QAnon[21] and Spygate, which denies the Trump-Russia connection.[64] It regularly publishes articles supporting Trump's policies, including supporting his border wall with Mexico,[65] his brand of US nationalism,[66] and referring to climate change advocacy and government welfare as communism.[67][68]

In August 2019, Facebook banned The Epoch Times from advertising on its site because it had violated its political ad transparency policies by creating sockpuppet accounts that bought $2 million worth of pro-Trump ads while disguising the original source of the ads.[69]

During the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak, Epoch Times has spread misinformation about the virus being manufactured by the Chinese government, and echoing Donald Trump, began referring to it as the CCP Virus.[70] Special issues were spammed to politicians and residents alike in several countries, including Canada, Australia, and the UK.[71][72] Epoch Times also produced a widely viewed "documentary" supporting its claims, which was flagged by Facebook as fake news, but nevertheless gained prominence among wingnuts.[73] The video falsely linked COVID-19 with HIV based on the existence of similar sequences, which it uses as "proof" that the virus was manmade, even though similar sequences can be found in other viruses and lifeforms.[74] Among the cranks cited was Judy Mikovits, a disgraced former biochemistry researcher turned conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccination activist, who claimed that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu and does not require vaccination, and that it is activated by wearing face masks.[75]

The paper heavily promoted falsehoods about the 2020 U.S. presidential election and publicized the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot. After the latter turned into an outright insurrection, the paper backpedaled and claimed it was an Antifa false flag.[76]

Shen Yun[edit]

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."[77] Shen Yun promotional websites disclose their connection to political Falun Gong activism.[78] Theater material such as the program and sales literature prominently disclose this connection. This doesn't mean it isn't propaganda; it is, since politics is mixed into their performances, either in the narration between performances, the lyrics of songs (with translated supertitles projected on a screen), and traditional Chinese dance performances.[79][80]

One attendee stated: "We paid a premium for seats that would provide us an excellent view of Chinese tradition. Instead, we contributed unwittingly to a religious movement that denies evolution and science, claims the earth was inhabited by aliens, demonizes atheists and homosexuals, and condemns mixed marriages."[81] Another reviewer from The New Yorker noted song lyrics such as "We follow Dafa, the Great Way … Atheism and evolution are deadly ideas. Modern trends destroy what makes us human."[82]

An extraordinarily large amount of money is spent on Shen Yun advertising; 62% of Shen Yun Performing Arts Inc.'s budget ($18.5 million in 2017) is spent on it.[83] This compares to only 7.5% of budget for the average company.[83] Shen Yun is apparently able to maintain this budget lopsidedness based on having a very large number of volunteers (Falun Gong members) and a low average wage for employees (<$30,000).[83] The financial structure of Shen Yun does seem to confirm the propagandistic nature of the performance.

New Tang Dynasty Television[edit]

New Tang Dynasty Television (新唐人電視臺), also known as NTD, is a Falun Gong-run satellite TV station. The name of the station refers to bringing back the "good old days" of the Tang dynasty. The channel's now-closed website stated its mission is to "promote uncensored information on China; to restore and promote traditional Chinese culture; and to facilitate mutual understanding between the East and West." The channel's former annual Chinese New Year Spectacular special (which ran from 2004-2006) didn't even try to hide the channel's connection to Falun Gong, with it usually taking a break from Chinese performances to show messaging and imagery sympathetic to Falun Gong, as well as "artistic representations of the persecution of practitioners in China."

NTD also is behind the QAnon-promoting YouTube channel "Edge of Wonder."[84] A reporter for The Daily Dot states that the channel's hosts "embrace QAnon completely" even though "almost nothing QAnon has foretold has actually taken place."[85]

Falun Gong and Chinese politics[edit]

Despite the common perception that they are general troublemakers, Falun Gong states that they are aggressively nonviolent.[note 2] The group's teachings officially eschew most forms of political involvement.[note 3] 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[note 4] is discouraged.[86]

In Australia, the group is on friendly terms with the allegedly xenophobic and far-right group Party For Freedom, which campaigned against Chinese investment in Australia.[87] Furthermore, in 2016, a Falun Gong activist and organizer of multicultural festivals, Shan Ju Lin, was pre-selected as the candidate for the xenophobic One Nation party, where she claimed that Australia is being taken over by the Chinese Communist Party, and that all the "good Asians" will vote for her.[88] Later on, she was dumped by One Nation due to her homophobic comments where she proclaimed that "gays should be treated as patients" and "abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime."[89] Apparently, she is the wrong type of bigot to run for One Nation. In spite of this, the New South Wales chairman of One Nation, Bob Vinnicombe, also serves as a Falun Gong activist.[90]

Political movement or harmless religious group?[edit]

Attitudes towards Falun Gong are sharply divided.[35] Chinese government sources charged that the group was a threat to social stability and was seeking to overthrow the government,[91] while supporters argue[92][93][94] that they are being oppressed because the group had grown too large and its beliefs conflicted with the government's atheist philosophy.[95] Public perceptions in the English-speaking world are skewed by the highly successful public relations campaigns operated by Falun Gong practitioners, and knee-jerk McCarthyite paranoia about the Chinese government.[note 5] The group also has attracted significant support among the Western political establishment, and receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, although it is questionable whether they are actually aware of Falun Gong's teachings.[96] For instance, in 2001, some San Francisco lawmakers nominated Li Hongzhi for a Nobel Peace Prize, only to have the nomination withdrawn after becoming aware of his homophobia.[97] 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.[11][26] 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…"[98]

Scholars such as Maria Chang argued that the crackdown on Falun Gong is simply the most visible part of the Chinese government's "anti-superstition" campaign against all unregistered religious groups, of which a large number are New Age and Buddhism-based groups, which also include the Unification Church.[99] Chang also notes the role of millenarian movements and secret societies in overthrowing the Chinese emperors of the past, which included the Yellow Turbans, White Lotus Society, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, and Boxers, which naturally made the communist party grow wary of perceived challenges to its power.[100][note 6]

Scapegoat supreme[edit]

Destruction of Falun Gong writings, 1999.

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.[101] Discrimination against Falun Gong continued with his successor Hu Jintao.[102] Under Xi Jinping, his rival, allegations of forced organ harvesting from political prisoners, including Falun Gong, continue.[103]

Allegations of satellite sabotage[edit]

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.[104] 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 Jilin Province's cities of Changchun and Songyuan (Li Hongzhi's hometown) 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.

Victims of organ harvesting?[edit]

David Kilgour at a conference in Brussels (2006), discussing the allegations of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China

In 2006, the Kilgour-Matas report was released by David Kilgour,Wikipedia Canadian Minister of Parliament and former-Secretary of State, and David Matas,Wikipedia human rights lawyer and counsel of the Zionist organization B'nai B'rithWikipedia, which suggested that Falun Gong members have been subject to involuntary organ harvesting.[105] Similar claims have been produced by journalist Ethan Gutmann, who also alleges organ harvesting targeted members of the Uyghur ethnic minority group in the 1990s.[106] This seems like only a minor inconvenience as practitioners can simply regrow removed organs overnight.[107] The United Nations Committee on Torture called on China to schedule an independent investigation into the allegations.[108] 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.[109]

Falun Gong adherents protest against China's involuntary organ harvesting outside the EU parliament.

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.[110] The authorities mobilized state media apparatus, judiciary, police force, army, education system, families, and workplaces against the group.[111] 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,[112][113] illegal imprisonment, forced labour, and psychiatric abuses, with the apparent aim of forcing practitioners to recant their belief in Falun Gong.[114][115]

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.[116][117] At least 2,000 Falun Gong adherents have been tortured to death amidst the persecution campaign,[118] with some observers putting the number much higher. The original allegations also claimed that the Chinese government is engaging in "live exports" by kidnapping people, shipping them overseas, and performing transplantation operations inside their overseas embassies.[119] Questions of feasibility aside, it is highly unlikely that such operations would escape the attention of Western intelligence agencies, and as such this rather sensationalist claim has been removed in the English translation. Furthermore, Ko Wen-je, a Taiwanese mayoral candidate and one of the creators of Taiwan’s organ transplant registry, also accused Gutmann of falsifying claims that he was involved in the organ trade, a claim which Gutmann later withdrew.[120]

In 2016 and 2017, an updated report was authored by Kilgour, Matas and Gutmann for the International Coalition End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC).[121] According to the report, sources used included a wide range of personal interviews, professional and media statements,[105][121] as well as data from hospitals and immunosuppressant manufacturing. The updated report concluded that the involuntary harvesting of organs was larger than initially estimated, and claimed that many of the organs are derived from the killing of Falun Gong practitoners, as well as Uyghurs, Tibetans, and underground Christians.[121]:418 They also accused the party and state institutions of being complicit in the trade, and called for an international investigation into the practices and an end to organ tourism.[121]

Some skepticism about the report should be exercised because the organization that put out the report, ETAC, represents itself as an "independent, non-partisan organisation,"[122] but Kilgour, its principal author, has been quoted in puff pieces for Shen Yun in The Epoch Times on at least three occasions.[123][124][125] The management committee of ETAC also includes people who appear to be affiliated with The Epoch Times — Susie Hughes (ETAC co-founder, The Epoch Times photographer),[126] Margo MacVicar (ETACH National Manager, New Zealand, The Epoch Times reporter),[127] and Rebecca "Beck" James (ETAC UK National Manager, Outreach in 2019; organizer of a Falun Gong art exhibition)[128][129][130]

The Chinese government has previously rejected the claims, and stated that it has phased out its organ donation system from one dependent on executed prisoners to a voluntary based one.[131][132][133] Furthermore, the World Health Organization-affiliated Transplantation Society and medical professionals such as Francis Delmonico also noted China's progress in reforming its organ donation system by establishing a registry of donors and phasing out of organ tourism.[133][134][135] The Washington Post also noted that there is no corresponding increase in demand for immunosuppressants (anti-rejection drugs for organ recipients), and there are far less foreigners in China for organ transplantations compared to India and the United States, and that it's not plausible for China to be conducting more transplantations than the US without the information leaking out.[133] Chinese lawyers who defended Falun Gong practitioners also doubted the claims.[133] In 2019, an organization calling itself the Independent Tribunal Into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China, comprised of human rights lawyers based out of London and various parts of South East Asia found evidence they deemed compelling that the Chinese government was harvesting organs without consent and that prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong members were among the sources.[136]

A Falun Dafa website argued that China has the capacity to transplant over a million organs a year.[137] This may be a confusion of the information that 169 hospitals collectively performed about 10,000 transplants in China in 2016.[138] There have been high profile cases of illegally performed organ transplants, the largest ever prosecuted uncovered 51 kidneys transplanted by a network of 16 people, some of whom were renowned surgeons at a top hospital. It has been suggested that some reports may be urban legends due to the technical implausibility. There has not been any link drawn between Falun Gong and these prosecuted cases.[139][140][141]

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[142] or sources within the Chinese government. There also appears to be confusion between organ transplantation from executed criminals, which China has admitted to, versus organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, which China denies. 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.

"Great law is good" meme on the Chinese internet sphere[edit]

On the Chinese Internet sphere, "Great Law is Good" refers to a short verse of propaganda of the "TuidangWikipedia" movement, one of the political campaigns launched by Falun Gong. It can be best expressed in a series articles named "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party"[143] and the official editorial of this movement published in The Epoch Times,[144] while the "Great Law is Good" propaganda verse is a short summary of it.

The verse is written in a rhyming and vulgar language, as a ballad-formatted, quasi-poem jingle, consisting of six or seven lines, usually beginning with the line "Falun Great Law is Good" (法轮大法好), "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" (九评共产党), or "Heaven is watching people's action" (人在做,天在看). It consists of mostly ultra-conservative religious rhetoric, claiming that the Communist Party of China is innately immoral, satanic (literally, with a complete conspiracy theory), and betrays "the Law of heaven, earth and the universe" and will be perished from Earth. Quitting and opposing the Party (a.k.a Tuidang, quit the party) is the only way that brings salvation of oneself and the only hope for one to be saved by Heaven.[145]

Originally printed on paper bills in circulation in China by Falun Gong supporters,[146] 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, with the verse being widely sent as spam. Sure, not everyone is a great fan of the Communist Party, but its funny language, mediocre propaganda techniques and the woo rhetoric has gained an equally notorious reputation among liberal and conservative Chinese.

Although there is undoubtedly some truth in the commentaries, they lack balance and nuance, and read like the anti-Communist propaganda written in Taiwan in the 1950s.[147]

Around 2012, some hobbyists of consumer electronics on the Internet started to write parodies of the verse. For example, one parody replaced "Falun Gong" with "Sony" and "Communist Party" with "Nintendo", resulting in the line "Sony Great Law is Good! Nintendo will be perished from Earth! Quit Nintendo to save yourself!" The parody included doctored Falun Gong posters, which depicted Kaz Hirai, the CEO of Sony, in place of Li Hongzhi as the cult of personality.[148]

It was meant to be an inside-joke about the cult-like following of major brands of consumer electronics and the frequent holy-wars between fanboys on the Internet. It became a meme and over 9000 versions have appeared, such as "Canon vs. Nikon", "Intel vs. AMD" and "Boeing vs. Airbus." Topics extended to video games, TV shows, anime, manga, and celebrities (e.g. "Star Wars Great Law is Good! Quit Star Trek to save yourself! Star Trek will be perished from Earth!").

After the meme died, new full verse parodies are seldom written. Still, any trend or popular thing is humorously called a "Great Law" (大法). Also, "Quit-Save-Perish" (退保灭) and "Keep-Peace-Safety" (保平安), abbreviations of the first line, have became humorous phrases to recommend people to stop using something and switch to an alternative.

A collection of "Great Law" copypasta can be viewed here.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. You did not read that wrong. Li Hongzhi's Sydney lecture explicitly mentions segregated heavens and also is explicitly racist against people of mixed race, characterizing them as a sign of "moral degeneracy".
  2. Just go with it.
  3. Aside from self-immolation, apparently.
  4. You know, somebody who might actually be able to change the law.
  5. The Falun GongWikipedia Wikipedia article, which completely whitewashes the organization, is currently under discretionary sanctions imposed after a 2007 arbitration.
  6. Ironically, many of the founding members of the CCP itself were also members of secret societies.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dowell, William (May 10, 1999). "Interview with Li Hongzhi". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on January 23, 2001. Retrieved February 16, 2022. 
  2. No, they're pretty crazy. That doesn't justify what China has done, but they're straight-up nuts: Or if you really want some fun, read Li Hongzhi's Time magazine interview and enjoy as it slowly goes from "yeah, sounds reasonable" to "wtf, he's talking about aliens invading earth?" Reddit (archived from January 11, 2020).
  3. Is Falun Gong a cult? by Rick Ross (January, 2009) The Cult Education Institute.
  4. Why China fears the Falun Gong by James Griffiths (July 14, 2014 · 6:00 AM UTC) PRI.
  5. The ABC is right: Falun Gong has some dangerous teachings
  6. Falun Gong and the Future of China by David Ownby (2010) Oxford University Press. ISBN 019973853X. pp. viii, ix, 6-7.
  7. Falun Gong: The End of Days by Maria Chang (2008) Yale University Press.
  8. Vuori, Juha A. (2014). Critical Security and Chinese Politics: The Anti-Falungong Campaign. Routledge. ISBN 9781135076931. "note:according to Zong Hairen in 2002. Hairen smuggled intelligence documents out of China which have generally been accepted as authentic by the intelligence community." 
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  134. TTS Interactions with China The Transplantation Society, July 31, 2016
  135. One doctor’s war against global organ trafficking PBS Newshour, May 29, 2017]
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  137. "WHAT IS ORGAN HARVESTING?". Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C.. 2019. 
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  139. 江, 杨 (March 19, 2012). "器官移植的灰色地带". Chinese Academy of Science (law blog)/文汇新民联合报业集团所有. ""对人体器官移植稍有了解的人就会知道这则消息并不靠谱"" 
  140. 龙, 张 (February 29, 2012). "张龙:“利益”催生活体器官买卖的“地下黑市”". 
  141. "黑中介“换肾一条龙” 起底猖獗的“人体器官黑市”". september 7, 2018. 
  142. For example, [4]
  143. Tuidang § Nine Commentaries on the Communist PartyWikipedia
  144. Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party English online version
  145. (Chinese) Official 'Tuidang' website with these claims
  146. (Chinese) News article: what to do when you've received paper bills with anti-Party propaganda, with a picture of these bills
  147. David Ownby, Falun Gong and the Future of China, (Oxford University Press 2008), p 221.
  148. (Chinese) A parody news reporting this phenomenon