Talk:Falun Gong

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Reversion[edit]

Disagree. The information seems missional to me. --Castaigne (talk) 14:59, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Changing the definition of Falun Gong to a cultivation system[edit]

I want to replace the claim that Falun Gong is a chinese cult, with the claim that it is a chinese cultivation system.

Back in 1999 after the persecution of Falun Gong began, the chinese media referred to Falun Gong as a "xiejiao", the literal translation is "heretical teaching", but it was mistranslated as "evil cult" into English. In traditional Chinese culture "xiejao" was used to refer to non Confucian religions, and nowadays it's used by the chinese government to refer to organizations that do not submit to the authority of the communist party.

I think we should refer to it by it's original definition as given by experts in the topic, as opposed to the mistranslated political definition based on a label from the chinese government.

I have some references to back this up if you'd like to read more.

The wikipedia article is very complete, specifically the section titled "Categorization":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong#Categorization

Benjamin Penny, professor of Chinese history at the Australian National University, says that: "the best way to describe Falun Gong is as a cultivation system. Cultivation systems have been a feature of Chinese life for at least 2,500 years", in his lecture: "The past, present and future of Falun Gong" at the National Library of Australia in 2001. (Here's a transcript of the lecture including the quote above: http://www.nla.gov.au/benjamin-perry/the-past-present-and-future-of-falun-gong). He also published a book called "The religion of Falun Gong", where he states that: "Qigong practices can also be understood as a part of a broader tradition of "cultivation practice". So according to Penny, Falun Gong belongs to that superset of "cultivation practices" and not qigong specifically.

Additionally, according to David Ownby, Professor of History and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the Université de Montréal, religion is used in China for well established faiths like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and the like, which have a clergy and traditional texts. So it doesn't fit for Falun Gong which has none of those and it also doesn't have temples, rituals or worship or any established hierarchy, which makes it quite different from what is known in the west as a cult.

Penny further elaborates in his book that if Falun Gong were actually considered a religion, it would have invited immediate supression. Yet it remained a very popular practice from 1992 all the way until 1999.

Lastly, Cherish Shun-ching Chang an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology of the University of Hong Kong in China says in her paper: "The Falun Gong in China: A Sociological Perspective" (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quarterly/article/the-falun-gong-in-china-a-sociological-perspective/FD3C0DF94D2E0525895AF381D29501F7) that Falun Gong is "categorically not a sect", since it is "loosely structured with a fluctuating membership and tolerant of other organizations and faiths," and it is more concerned with personal, rather than collective worship.--Deepthought (talk) 00:30, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Unless Falun Gong is growing soybeans in China, they're not a "Chinese cultivation system". "Chinese cultivation system" is Falun Gong-speak, so you're showing your bias here. You don't dispute that Li Hongzhi is believed to have performed miracles and to be the savior by Falun Gong members, so you're not really convincing anyone that they're not a cult. Bongolian (talk) 05:53, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Oh, wait a minute, you think cultivation system refers to cultivating land or something? hahaha! Hey I'm just repeating what third party experts on the matter are saying. These are peer reviewed studies and these researchers have been studying this practice for a long time. They call it a cultivation system, it is not Falun Gong speak or something I just made up. You can check a book called "Falun Gong and the Future of China" also written by Prof. Owenby, on page 4 it refers to Falun Gong as a cultivation system, it also says in academia scholars don't describe it as a "cult" because they don't think it has the dangerous connotations it implies. Here's the source for your reference: https://books.google.com/books?id=4f0wQafEl3MC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false . We need to use the description that the scientific community or third pary experts use about the practice, not a political label that has no basis in reality. Scholars have not found any evidence of Falun Gong being a cult of some kind, so what is said in the page about it being a cult is a false claim, as it is not backed up by scientific evidence or any form of research of any kind. The wikipedia article is marked as good by the wikipedia community and has a neutral POV with lots of good sources. I highly recommend a read. I have also seen it reffered to as a qigong, which is also a valid definition. We have a page in rationalwiki about qigong and I think it's pretty accurate in it's description about what qigong is.--Deepthought (talk) 10:22, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Cultivation system may be the name used by sinologists, but it's not a common expression in English and not widely intelligible. For that reason, it shouldn't be used without a definition, and doesn't belong in the article lead. I agree it's dangerous to spread the Chinese government's views without questioning, e.g. that they're a cult. What's wrong with something more neutral like religious organisation, religious group, religious order, religious movement, whatever is most accurate? And possibly if there's any similar Christian movement that would make a comparison, I've no idea if they're more like the Society of Jesus or the Alpha Course. Annquin (talk) 11:12, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Good point Annquin, I think we can define it as a qigong practice then, and provide a link to our page on qigong: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Qigong It mentions that it is a "a traditional Chinese practice, located at the intersection of religion, martial arts and Traditional Chinese medicine" which I think is pretty accurate for Falun Gong. Some experts have mentioned it can also be confusing to refer to it as a religion as it implies clergy, a temple, priests, these kinds of things that qigong practices don't have and Falun Gong in particular doesn't have either. In fact, in China, Falun Gong has never been considered a religion and doesn't fit the criteria for it either so it could be a bit misleading. What do you think about defining it as a "Chinese qigong practice"?--Deepthought (talk) 13:31, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
The problem is the ascribing of miracles and being a savior to the living leader; this is an indication of cultishness. Using "practice" is again Falun Gong jargon, it is a religion, not a "practice". Bongolian (talk) 17:51, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Actually, Barry Beyerstein, a Psychology Professor and Cult Expert from Simon Fraser University has mentioned that he does not think Falun Gong is a cult. Here's the source where he expresses it: (https://nowtoronto.com/news/falun-gong-goes-to-war/). About the claim of it being a religion, unfortunately the experts on the matter disagree with you Bongolian. You can refer to my previous quotations where professor Ownby mentions that he doesn't think Falun Gong is a religion since it has no clergy, no ranks or any kind of worship. I see no research in the current scientific literature supporting the fact that Falun Gong is a cultish religion like you're mentioning. Maybe the claims of supernatural powers sounds religious to you? If so, I recommend a book called: "Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China", it will provide the necessary cultural background. The book mentions that at the time of the Qigong boom in China, claims of supernatural powers weren't seen as religious but rather there was an effort by the government to study these claims through scientific means. It was part of the chinese government's health policy to promote qigong practices among the population. According to Prof. Penny the government even established an agency called the: China Qigong Science Research Society (CQRS) in 1985 to oversee and study these qigong practices and their leader's claims of supernatural powers and healing through alternative means and the like so it wasn't seen as religious for them.--Deepthought (talk) 00:47, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
OK, maybe we're getting somewhere here. First, let's not cite any clearly biased sources by any of the following without labeling it as such: the PRC or its affiliates, fundamentalist Christian cult awareness organizations, Falun Gong itself or by people within Falun Gong who are also academics. Second, let's review the list of warning signs on the RW cult page and see how many of these can be answered with citations. It may be that they're some honest unbiased disagreement about whether or not FG is a cult, but let's have some unbiased citations from both sides if possible. Specifically, is it a cult of personality (e.g. Li Hongzhi's claims of miracles and member's belief that he's the savior)?
As to whether FG is a religion, remember that Scientology (a "self-help" method later incorporated as a religion), Buddhism (large parts of which have no belief in God), and Hinduism (which has atheistic sects) are all religions. So no, I don't think you can get a way with calling it a "practice", it's a religion. Bongolian (talk) 01:49, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
I believe you represent the majority view here, Bongolian. Stay skeptical. I'm not a Communist, and as a firm believer in freedom of (and from) religion — and as a humanist — the violent persecution of Falun Gong adherents by the Chinese government seems to me truly deplorable. That being said however — as a scientific skeptic — the Falun Gong aren't "right". Their metaphysical claims are false, the miracles they point to are not real, and the fact that Communists commit atrocities against them doesn't mean that their religious altmed woo is suddenly not bullshit. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:09, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
Hi Bongolian, about Falun Gong being a religion, actually Professor Penny intially wrote a book in 1999 called "The religion of Falun Gong". At the time, he thought that Falun Gong was a religion and he held similar views from yours.
Then later on in his lecture at the National Library of Australia titled: "The Past, Present and Future of Falun Gong" in 2001, after having spent a couple years more researching Falun Gong, he said as follows:
"The best way to describe Falun Gong is as a cultivation system. Cultivation systems have been a feature of Chinese life for at least 2 500 years and probably much more. They are sets of mental and physical regimens that may involve special techniques of breathing, exercises, visualisations, meditations, diets, behaviours, or sexual practices that aim at refining the body into a higher form. The various versions of qigong are all cultivation systems, though some have been stripped down to the simple physical aspect. Taiji quan—or taichi as it is known here —is one of these."
At the beginning of this lecture, he mentions that he is not a Falun Gong practitioner nor is he associated with the Chinese communist party. So we can consider him an unbiased third party expert. Here's the source for your reference: https://www.nla.gov.au/benjamin-perry/the-past-present-and-future-of-falun-gong
In his book "The Religion of Falun Gong", Prof. Penny mentions that varieties of cultivation practice are found throughout Chinese history, spanning Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian traditions. He doesn't think it's a particular Falun Gong word, but rather an element of Chinese culture. He also mentions that in the term qigong, the "gong" word can be best translated in this context as a "practice", this is why I've proposed the term "qigong practice", but we can omit that word then and instead we can say that it is a "a type of qigong" or "a system of qigong" or a "form of qigong" and provide the link to the qigong article we have in our wiki.
In fact, other experts refer to Falun Gong as a "form of qigong":
Prof. Ownby whom I've quoted above calls it "a form of qigong" (source: http://archives.cerium.ca/IMG/pdf/Microsoft_Word_-_Ownby_China.pdf)
I'll introduce another expert into our dialogue, Richard Madsen is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California in San Diego. He wrote a paper titled "Understanding Falun Gong" published in the Current History Journal ( the source for your reference: http://search.proquest.com/openview/d6ce2627ff580c6e8bd0aa457f35bb57/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1816367). In page 244 of the Current History journal (2000), he mentions that Falun Gong is "a form of qigong". He then goes on to say that "from the Western viewpoint, most forms of qigong look more like a religion than medicine", and thus the confusion. But we have a wiki page that explains what qigong is, so I think we can just use the accurate definition and just call it a form of qigong.
About the "cult" definition, in that same paper he says that Falun Gong is "not so much a new religion as a recognizable variant of qigong practices. It's leader is seen as a charismatic figure with extraordinary levels of insight, but most founders of Buddhist and Asian sects in Asia--even groups considered quite mainsteam--are considered by their followers to have extraordinary spiritual capacity". He then goes on to say "Finally, most Falun Gong members are well integrated with the rest of society. For many, Falun Gong practices are attractive precisely because they do not take an undue amount of time and do not interfere with work or ordinary social life". Then he finished by saying that "Though perhaps near the outer edge of the normal spectrum of Chinese indigenous spiritual practices, Falun Gong does not go far enough over that boundary to be considered a cult".
So far in my investigation we have Prof. Irons, Prof. Ownby, Prof. Penny, Prof. Madsen, Assoc. and Prof. Chang in Hong Kong not thinking that Falun Gong is either a religion or some form of cult. I can continue my investigation and keep providing more sources, or look for some additional researchers if you're still not quite convinced, so let me know your thoughts!--Deepthought (talk) 18:22, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
That's great that you have some academic positions from people who are supposedly unaffiliated with the PRC and FG. What you need to do though is address the specific points that imply that FG is a religion:
  1. It was derived from Chinese folk religion.
  2. It belongs to the Buddhist school.
and is a cult:
  1. Li Hongzhi is regarded as a savior.
  2. Li Hongzhi has miraculous powers.
Just saying that it isn't a religion or a cult because some academics said so isn't good enough. Frankly, you're not going to convince people on RW that FG is not a religion, you've got a better chance saying that there's some dispute about whether it's a cult. This quote by Li himself makes it sound like a religion:
Many people aren’t able to completely understand what qigong is about. Since the time Dafa was made public, I have unveiled some inexplicable phenomena in qigong as well as things that hadn’t been explained in the qigong community. But this isn’t the reason why so many people are studying Dafa. It's because our Fa can truly enable people to Consummate, truly save people, and allow you to truly ascend to high levels in the process of cultivation. Whether it's your realm of mind or the physical quality of your body, the Fa truly enables you to reach the standards of different levels.
Bongolian (talk) 05:38, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Ok, so according to my research so far:
1. All qigong is derived from folk religion (Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, etc), it was just toned down during the cultural revolution to avoid persecution, and was approached from the point of view of it being a component of chinese medicine and for fitness. (The Qigong Fever book explains this well). This is why the rationalwiki article definition for qigong says that it's a "traditional Chinese practice, located at the intersection of religion, martial arts and Traditional Chinese medicine". Notice it includes religion there. This is why I think it's a good definition. It's not a religion, but it contains concepts and ideas from religions. More info at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_qigong
2. Yes it belongs to the Buddhist school and it explains terms or ideas and theories from buddhism. But buddhist qigong aren't religions. Take for example Yijin Jing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yijin_Jing). There's also Shaolin Gongfu that although it is a martial art, it contains a qigong component, and it is not considered a religion either. Si duan gong is also a buddhist qigong as well as ba duan jing. In fact, Shaolin Gongfu has about 72 qigongs and none of them are religious (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaolin_Kung_Fu). Same with daoism it has a lot of qigong that aren't the religion of Daoism such as Tai Chi Quan (founded by Zhang Sanfeng, a Daoist monk, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Sanfeng). Calling a qigong a religion because its from the buddhist school is similar to calling mindful meditation, very trendy nowadays in secular society, a religion. Many people who practice mindful meditation, atheist or agnostic among them, would disagree.
At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong qigong practices are classified as Daoist, Buddhist and Confucian, yet none are characterized as religious or a religion, in fact the term "practice" is used.
3. About the savior thing. Salvation is a term used in Buddhism. In Daoism the equivalent would be Consummation. Qigong Masters each have their own interpretation of what that means. Some believe it is healing people's illnesses, others believe it is becoming enlightened, or becoming a junzi, or it's breaking away from the cycle of samsara or reincarnation, others believe it's going to a Buddha's paradise or a daoist heaven, etc. The Qigong theories attempt to explain these religious terms in a "scientific way" and it's part of their teachings. Similar to how Shaolin Kung Fu explains and teaches some theories from Bodhidarma, a buddhist monk (religion), but Shaolin Kung Fu isn't considered a religion. Also qigongs, including Falun Gong don't have devotional methods, there is no god that is worshipped, no holy scriptures, no prayers, no "mass" or rituals of any kind, no "rapture" theories, so how can it be categorized as a religion just because they use some theories or terms of religion to explain their own teachings? They draw from religious teachings, which is why qigong is "located at the intersection of religion, martial arts and Traditional Chinese medicine", but they aren't a religion.
4. About the miraculous powers. This is something that practically all qigong masters claim that they have, and something all qigong masters claim their practices can develop. In fact qigong is practically all about these supernatural or "miraculous powers". Among them, getting healed from illnesses miraculously. In fact it would be strange if a qigong master did not make a claim about miraculous powers. The China Qigong Research Society was set up by the government in the 80's precisely to study these kinds of miraculous power claims in a "scientific way".
To me it seems inappropriate to have a page defining qigong, and then a page defining Falun Gong, which is a qigong, as a religion. In that case, might as well define qigong as a religion to be consistent. Otherwise it's misunderstanding what qigong actually is.--Deepthought (talk) 02:09, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
The qigong page is a stub on RationalWiki, so it's not really worth referring to for this discussion. You might try expanding that page first. There is a lot of irrationality in Falun Gong, so it's either going to be a pseudoscience or a religion. Which do you prefer? Li included science as one of the 10 great evils, and has claimed that Falun Gong is superior to science. These statements, I think, push Falun Gong (as a whole) out of the realm of pseudoscience and into religion, though there is certainly quite a bit of pseudoscience within Falun Gong's teachings. Bongolian (talk) 06:16, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Most articles get two templates. Falun Gong could get any combination of the altmed, new age and pseudoscience navs. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:26, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
It seems to me that Deepthought's latest counterpoints leave a lot to be desired. Points 1 and 2 are waffling over Falun Gong's origins and trying to draw (as I see it) false parallels to non religious practices such as meditation. Just because meditation can be conducted in a non religious setting that doesn't mean that FG is not a religion or a cult.
Point 3 is adopting a(n unstated) flawed definition of religion by insisting that these must have scriptures, meaning that it would be impossible to have religions in oral cultures. It also ignores examples of Buddhism which also doesn't have any god(s) to be worshipped, yet is still considered a religion (although some Buddhists use this characteristic to push a parallel of the Christianity is not a religion shtick).
Point 4 simply tries to absolve FG from criticism of its miraculous claims by saying "But all the others do it to!", citing similar claims from the intersection between Chinese folk religion, Buddhism, Daoism and exercise regimes.
So, if FG is not a religion or a cult, according to Deepthought, I'm left with the same question as Bongolian: What is it then? Labelling FG a "cultivation system" seems at best to be nothing more than a anglicised term from Sinology and not one that is in general use when discussing FG'esque phenomena which are far from unique (slapping a more or less heterodox collection of "traditional" beliefs and practices into a more or less new configuration). At worst, it reeks of whitewashing (as has been mentioned by Reverend Black Percy before, the PRC's persecution should not make us jump into sugarcoating FG's woo; it is possible for both sides in a conflict to be in the wrong). FG is certainly more than just an exercise regime like, say, Pilates or aerobics, unless you want to follow Bongolian's suggestion and go all the way and call FG a pseudoscience of the health woo variety due to its unsubstantiated miraculous claims.
As Deepthought seems to agree that FG is drawing heavily on Chinese folk religion and beliefs, I wonder what is it in FG's beliefs and practices that has moved it out of this particular subsection of the religion/cult territory and into which new (non religious) category it should then be placed. ScepticWombat (talk) 12:40, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Alright then, let's talk about a stated, apparently non flawed definition of religion then ScepticWombat. Let's look at the definition of Religion from our RationalWiki: Religion. In the definition section we can see that for something to be categorized as a religion it must have all or some of the following:
  1. A shared social system: Falun Gong can be learned by oneself, and there is no requirement to practice in groups. The learner has all he needs from the internet. Somebody can be a practitioner and never get to meet other practitioners if he doesnt want to. There's also no membership in Falun Gong. You can practice it forever by yourself isolated at your home, with nobody ever knowing about it.
  2. Mythologies: No mythologies have been created by Falun Gong, although they draw on some buddhist and daoist expressions or words and attempt to explain them using modern language. Actually this is one of the most characteristic things about qigong practices. Which is why the definition we have on rational wiki (saying it's at the intersection of religion, traditional chinese medicine, etc) is so adequate.
  3. Addresses a person's faith through rites of passage: No rites of passage in Falun Gong
  4. Explore meaning of life: check. So does philosophy and qigong.
  5. Explain beginning and end of the world: No Genesis or Apocalypse in Falun Gong
  6. Provide guidelines for morality and ethics: check, but philosophies and qigong practices also do that, and they aren't religions
  7. Rituals of worship, specially social ones: No worship or prayers in Falun Gong
  8. State a set of taboos: No taboos in Falun Gong
  9. Define a calendar: No Falun Gong calendar
  10. Add to that no institutions, no clergy, no temples, no holy scriptures and no prayers.
Looking at this, Falun Gong looks to me exactly like just another form of qigong. A kind of "Taichi with a philosphy" or ethics system so to speak. Also a lot of qigong practices have "Gong" at the end as part of the name "neigong, Ji duan gong, etc", that's why Falun Gong is called so "Falun practice" is an approximate translation. That's how qigong practices are named usually, adding that gong part at the end. Anyways, we have a qigong page in rationalwiki. Since Bongolian thinks it's a stub and not useful, although it's already used in the Falun Gong article as part of the definition, I can still expand it so that we can use it to say Falun Gong is a form of qigong. About the part of it being a cult, the chinese government actually has an official list of cults created by the ministry of public security of the people's republic of China. Falun Gong is not on that list (source for your reference http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/articles/chinese-cults-sects-and-heresies and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governmental_lists_of_cults_and_sects specifically the China section). Falun Gong is not even considered a cult by chinese communist party. As I explained before, it is a mistranslation from the word chinese word xie jiao which is a political label given to groups that have an ideology that the communist party disagrees with. In my previous paragraphs I have sources from experts explaining this further. In that wikipedia link, you can also see that the Hate Crimes Unit of the Edmonton Police Service in Canada has actually confiscated materials calling Falun Gong a cult for considering it a hate crime (yikes!) --Deepthought (talk) 04:06, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
If Falun Gong is "just another form of qigong", why then do they have at least two propaganda departments (Epoch Times and Shen Yun)? I don't see Tai Chi practitioners starting up a national newspaper or creating a touring circus. Regarding the Edmonton incident, the DA decided not to prosecute. Bongolian (talk) 04:35, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
So if a group of qigong practitioners have the whole media aparatus of the chinese government producing massive amounts of negative propaganda against them nationwide and internationally for years, and they are also being heavily persecuted in China, with attempts of indoctrinating them out of their beliefs, and talk of even organ harvesting in some cases, then why can't they speak up or adopt ways of telling their side of the story? How does that make them a religion or a cult? Any popular qigong organizations or other kinds of groups would do the same if they were in that situation. I'll be expanding the qigong page for the moment. Once it's not considered a stub, we could use it to define the Falun Gong.--Deepthought (talk) 19:15, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
No one's disputing that Falun Gong were persecuted by the PRC; that's on our Falun Gong page. No one's disputing that Falun Gong are entitled to defend themselves against persecution. But why are the connections between Epoch Times and Shen Yun with Falun Gong not overt? This turns them into propaganda machines. Bongolian (talk) 19:31, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
The PRC has an agenda and persecutes Falun Gong practitioners violently. That being said, getting persecuted by nutty Communists doesn't make one's own metaphysical claims not bullshit. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:48, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
@Bongolian, ok, I can do more research in this direction and see what the connection is and whether it is overt. @Percy I'm not claiming that the Falun Gong theories or theology is true because they are being persecuted. I'm just proposing it not being called a cult or religion but a qigong.--Deepthought (talk) 01:36, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Hello everyone, just wanted to mention that I can understand now that there's a difference between qigong and Falun Gong, in the sense that the Falun Gong places more emphasis in their morality teachings than in the practice movements like qigong does. Since "cultivation system" is kind of a unique label or not easy to understand, I think we can just default to religion. After all, their persecution is considered a violation of religious freedom by some human rights organizations, and it's kind of an easier label to use I guess. So if everyone still agrees, shall I go and make the change? @Bongolian, what are your thoughts? Cheers.--Deepthought (talk) 20:37, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── My thought is that you're trying to remove the word "cult" from this page because of its sometimes pejorative meaning. One could change "cult" to "new religious movement", but that is just a euphemism for cult so it doesn't change anything. I think you should take a look at Cult#Warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader. and see how Li Hongzhi fits in before moving further. Bongolian (talk) 02:45, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Just trying to separate fact from opinion. I'll take a look at the warning signs and see how it relates. Thanks for the tip! --Deepthought (talk) 22:45, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Ok, so, I found answers to those warning signs through glancing at the wikipedia page on the practice. If something isn't clear, please let me know and I'll investigate further. Here it goes:
Warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.
- There is no legitimate reason to leave. Former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative, or even evil. Therefore, it is extremely hard to leave.
Cheris Shun-ching Chan says that Falun Gong is "loosely structured with a fluctuating membership and tolerant of other organizations and faiths,".
Wikipedia also says that:
"In most mid- to large-sized cities, Falun Gong practitioners organize regular group meditation or study sessions in which they practice Falun Gong exercises and read Li Hongzhi's writings. The exercise and meditation sessions are described as informal groups of practitioners who gather in public parks—usually in the morning—for one to two hours.[49][71][89] Group study sessions typically take place in the evenings in private residences or university or high school classrooms, and are described by David Ownby as "the closest thing to a regular 'congregational experience'" that Falun Gong offers.[48] Individuals who are too busy, isolated, or who simply prefer solitude may elect to practice privately.[48] "
- Promises are made of a new life, a "spiritual resurrection," and a rejection of one's former life, which are simply irresistible to many desperate people. Therefore, it's easy to be pulled in.
- The leader's authority is absolute, without meaningful accountability.
- The group/leader is always right.
- The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation; no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
- There is no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
- Followers feel they can never be "good enough."
From wikipedia:
"Li's spiritual authority within the practice is absolute, yet the organization of Falun Gong works against totalistic control, and Li does not intervene in the personal lives of practitioners. Falun Gong practitioners have little to no contact with Li, except through the study of his teachings.[49][70] There is no hierarchy in Falun Gong to enforce orthodoxy, and little or no emphasis is given on dogmatic discipline; the only thing emphasized is the need for strict moral behavior, according to Craig Burgdoff, a professor of religious studies.[70]"
- There is no meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
Also from Wikipedia:
"As a matter of doctrinal significance, Falun Gong is intended to be "formless," having little to no material or formal organization. Practitioners of Falun Gong cannot collect money or charge fees, conduct healings, or teach or interpret doctrine for others.[81] There are no administrators or officials within the practice, no system of membership, and no churches or physical places of worship.[14][71][82][83] In the absence of membership or initiation rituals, Falun Gong practitioners can be anyone who chooses to identify themselves as such.[84] Students are free to participate in the practice and follow its teachings as much or as little as they like, and practitioners do not instruct others on what to believe or how to behave.[49][62][85]"
- There exists an unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions.
- Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
The practice is persecuted actively in China, and I assume you don't dispute that so I wouldn't call it an "unreasonable fear".
- There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
As far as I'm aware this is only in China, produced by government controlled media, by a government set on forbidding the practice. More from wikipedia:
"The Chinese government's campaign against Falun Gong was driven by large-scale propaganda through television, newspapers, radio and internet.[93][150] Within the first month of the crackdown, 300–400 articles attacking Falun Gong appeared in each of the main state-run papers, while primetime television replayed alleged exposés on the group, with no divergent views aired in the media.[201] The propaganda campaign focused on allegations that Falun Gong jeopardized social stability, was deceiving and dangerous, was "anti-science" and threatened progress, and argued that Falun Gong's moral philosophy was incompatible with a Marxist social ethic.[14]
China scholars Daniel Wright and Joseph Fewsmith asserted that for several months after Falun Gong was outlawed, China Central Television's evening news contained little but anti-Falun Gong rhetoric; the government operation was "a study in all-out demonization", they wrote.[202] Falun Gong was compared to "a rat crossing the street that everyone shouts out to squash" by Beijing Daily;[203] other officials said it would be a "long-term, complex and serious" struggle to "eradicate" Falun Gong.[204]
State propaganda initially used the appeal of scientific rationalism to argue that Falun Gong's worldview was in "complete opposition to science" and communism.[205] For example, the People's Daily asserted on 27 July 1999, that the fight against Falun Gong "was a struggle between theism and atheism, superstition and science, idealism and materialism." Other editorials declared that Falun Gong's "idealism and theism" are "absolutely contradictory to the fundamental theories and principles of Marxism," and that the "'truth, kindness and forbearance' principle preached by [Falun Gong] has nothing in common with the socialist ethical and cultural progress we are striving to achieve." Suppressing Falun Gong was presented as a necessary step to maintaining the "vanguard role" of the Communist Party in Chinese society.[206]
Despite Party efforts, initial charges leveled against Falun Gong failed to elicit widespread popular support for the persecution of the group. In the months following July 1999, the rhetoric in the state-run press escalated to include charges that Falun Gong was colluding with foreign, "anti-China" forces. In October 1999, three months after the persecution began, the People Daily newspaper claimed Falun Gong as a xiejiao.[23][80] A direct translation of that term is "heretical teaching", but during the anti-Falun Gong propaganda campaign was rendered as "evil cult" in English.[151] In the context of imperial China, the term "xiejiao" was used to refer to non-Confucian religions, though in the context of Communist China, it has been used to target religious organizations which do not submit to the authority of the Communist Party.[207][208]
Ian Johnson argued that applying the 'cult' label to Falun Gong effectively "cloaked the government's crackdown with the legitimacy of the West's anticult movement." He notes, however, that Falun Gong does not satisfy common definitions of a cult: "its members marry outside the group, have outside friends, hold normal jobs, do not live isolated from society, do not believe that the world's end is imminent and do not give significant amounts of money to the organisation ... it does not advocate violence and is at heart an apolitical, inward-oriented discipline, one aimed at cleansing oneself spiritually and improving one's health."[58] David Ownby similarly wrote that "the entire issue of the supposed cultic nature of Falun Gong was a red herring from the beginning, cleverly exploited by the Chinese state to blunt the appeal of Falun Gong.".[14] According to John Powers and Meg Y. M. Lee, because the Falun Gong was categorized in the popular perception as an "apolitical, qigong exercise club," it was not seen as a threat to the government. The most critical strategy in the Falun Gong suppression campaign, therefore, was to convince people to reclassify the Falun Gong into a number of "negatively charged religious labels",[209] like "evil cult", "sect", or "superstition". The group's silent protests were reclassified as creating "social disturbances". In this process of relabelling, the government was attempting to tap into a "deep reservoir of negative feelings related to the historical role of quasi-religious cults as a destabilising force in Chinese political history."[209]"

Does that make sense? Please let me know if any of the points wasn't clearly answered. I'm fine with qigong or religion, though I personally think qigong is more accurate.--Deepthought (talk) 21:17, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

OK, so what, if anything, are you now proposing to change on the main page? Bongolian (talk) 22:24, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm just proposing to change the sentences in the main page that call it a cult, to calling it a qigong practice. So, the sentence: "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" could be modified to "Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (Great Law of the Falun) is a Chinese qigong practice that was founded in 1992", and the sentence: "...Jilin province, were cut off by Falun Gong members and reconnected to programs produced by the cult" would change to "...Jilin province, were cut off by Falun Gong members and reconnected to programs produced by the group". And we would also be removing the cult tag/category. Actually, I could create a qigong tag or category, and include this practice and some other qigong practices too so that we could have a category for all qigong practices.--Deepthought (talk) 19:32, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
No, you can't do that. See [1]. Bongolian (talk) 18:50, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Ah I see, then in that case, we can add to the main page a fragment that says the chinese government considers it a cult. I just dont think we should define it this way as it isnt accurate. This conference you point out to happened in China, and it was sponsored by an agency of the Chinese government, so it is fair to say that they consider it a cult, or that they have taken advantage of the label, as it isnt considered a cult in China but something like a "heretical teaching". There is an official list of cults (in the Chinese sense of the word) in China, and Falun Gong is not among them. I just dont want to confuse politics with the opinion of experts.--Deepthought (talk) 13:01, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I have modified the page. See what you think. The China Anti-Cult Association, which is PRC-affiliated, listed Falun Gong as a cult.[2] I don't regard this as particularly evidentiary, but I do give more weight to the Cult Education Institute, even though they appeared at a PRC forum. Bongolian (talk) 18:56, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

I was disappointed to find that there is no agriculture category. 175.36.91.0 (talk) 01:49, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Organ harvesting: irrefutable evidence[edit]

The new 680-page report of june 2016, titled “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter: An Update,” estimates that as many as 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year took place in China from 2000 , with the source primarily being non-consenting Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Thus the Falun Gong death toll from forced organ harvesting may be as many as 1.5 million over 15 years. The basis of the report is a meticulous examination of the transplant programs of hundreds of hospitals in China, drawing on media reports, official propaganda, medical journals, hospital websites and a vast amount of deleted websites found in archive. It analyzes hospital revenue, bed counts, bed utilization rates, surgical personnel, training programs, state funding and more. The report shows that the Chinese regime is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year as opposed to 10,000 per year (the Chinese claim). [3] Many Countries have adopted resolutions condemning organ harvesting in China and and has recognized that forced organ harvesting is taking place and needs to stop. United State House Resolution 343 "EXPRESSING CONCERN REGARDING PERSISTENT AND CREDIBLE REPORTS OF SYSTEMATIC, STATE-SANCTIONED ORGAN HARVESTING FROM NON-CONSENTING PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, INCLUDING FROM LARGE NUMBERS OF FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS AND MEMBERS OF OTHER RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS.114th Congress 2015-2016".[4] United Nation General Assembly 8 march 2007 "organ harvesting has been inflicted on a large number of unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations, for the purpose of making available organs for transplant operations. Vital organs including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas were systematically harvested from Falun Gong practitioners".[5] Europa: “deep concern over the persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners" [6] Italy: [7] Australia: [8] Spain: [9] France: [10] — Unsigned, by: Tom90 / talk / contribs

None of your links proved anything, and the NGOs simply expressed "concern" without actually endorsing FLG's claims. China has admitted that it takes organs from executed prisoners, which is a different issue from FLG's claims. Furthermore, Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann are not medical professional, but right wing activists, and Matas in particular is known for his Israel apologism in Canada. None of them even set foot in China. In contrast, other medical professionals disputes FLG's claims [11] — Unsigned, by: 59.100.173.184 / talk / contribs

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. ClickerClock (talk) 06:11, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
The reference you cite is from a Chinese government-sponsored publication (China Daily), so it would seem to be biased in this regard due to the Falun Gong-PRC antipathy. If you have independent sources, please cite them. Bongolian (talk) 06:28, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
Nope. China Daily is simply a Chinese media publication, or are you suggesting that all media sources from China are biased? Furthermore, it actually cited medical professionals like Jose Ramon Nunez Pena of the WHO, and Michael Millis of the University of Chicago. I should also point out that the passage uncritically cited Kilgour and Matas, despite the fact that neither of them set foot in China let alone having any sort of medical background. Kilgour, Matas, and Gutmann are all conservative political activists - Gutmann is a member of the right wing think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies [12], Kilgour is a politician who is a member of the groups Friends of a Democratic Iran and Council for a Community of Democracies [13], and Matas is a chairman of the Canadian B'nai B'rith who is noted for his Zionist activism [14] - he opposed Christine Chinkin's investigations into Israeli war crimes during the 2008 Gaza War, claiming that Hamas's rockets justify Israel's response [15][16].--LucasGeorge (talk) 13:02, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
The Wikipedia page for China DailyWikipedia's W.svg states that the publication is owned by "the Communist Party of China" and "State Council Information Office (escrow)". You should be able to find other sources for these medical professionals' statements. Bongolian (talk) 18:34, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
United States in the resolution 343 not only expresses its concerns but defines these accusations as "persistent and credible". Therefore,they openly confirm this. You wouldn’t have an official text approved from Congress, or any parliament, if the members were not convinced that the crime takes place. The passing of the resolution is recognition that it really takes place. LucasGeorge, you criticize the authors but you're not able to deny even a sentence in "Bloodyharvest/The Slaughter: an update", every statement they make in their report is independently verifiable. There is no verbal evidence without sources. Their study has been corroborated by independent disinterested researchers and it is much more reliable of your "medical professionals' statements". To investigate this crime and to overcome the censorship of the Chinese government are needed investigators and not doctors. — Unsigned, by: Tom90 / talk / contribs
Are you that damn gullible? The US government is currently in a small cold war with the Chinese government, they're not a neutral party on Chinese domestic politics, and the US Congress and Senate pass ridiculous condemnations all the time. The sponsor of the bill, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is a hard right anti-communist who also supported sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela, the invasion of Iraq, and the Honduras coup, and is also an Israel apologist who opposed the recognition of Palestine. I don't need to prove anything, because the burden of proof lies upon Kilgour and Matas, who never set foot in China, and only produced circumstantial evidence, which they want to use to pressure outside parties for a "proper" investigation. It's funny that you think that actual medical professionals are not reliable sources when their views don't match yours, yet two conservative political activists are totally serious investigators.--LucasGeorge (talk) 12:48, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and argue that it's just a grey-market human trafficking operation at this stage. The East Turkistan operations, Erfan Halgheh and Falun Gong. It's not so much a matter of political agitation as they are just advertising their commodity to consumers and the potential to sell services to wholesalers(UN,NGOs,Politicians). If you say that you've been tortured and your whole family has been killed and a range of other terrible things then you get a referral from the UNHRC and an asylum class visa(medical, education, social programs and employment) instead of a refugee class visa(warehoused until conditions in your home country improve). You can start a new life in a country without economic problems. Sure anyone who's at the top of the pile can be successful in a high disparity country but if you draw the sorghum farmer card in China or Iran then your options are pretty limited. 175.36.91.0 (talk) 03:13, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Michael Barker[edit]

The man's position seems to be that, because humanitarian and human rights agencies are from Western countries and intervene in non-Western countries, they are automatically bad an imperialist. The meat of the article is just tying humanitarian and human rights agencies together with shady Chinese figures -- and it never uses Hanlon's razor to assume the agencies are misinformed, rather than that they are purposefully promoting these shady Chinese figures. The article reads much like every other leftist critique of "globalism" -- acting as though liberal intervention never works and is always evil-intentioned. Why? FuzzyCatPotato of the Round Zebras (talk/stalk) 18:21, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

abot organ harvesting[edit]

Some pro-Falun Gong media claim that CCP has conducted some live harvest operations without anesthesia. For example, this news report in The Epoch Times:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinese-regimes-vast-state-run-industry-to-harvest-organs_2097522.html (archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20171123083118/https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinese-regimes-vast-state-run-industry-to-harvest-organs_2097522.html )

"This includes the testimony of a former paramilitary police officer, who said he witnessed a live harvest operation conducted without anesthesia, and that of a former health care worker in Jinan."

Also this report from a website of Falun Gong itself: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/4/14/132706.html (archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20120511212631/http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/4/14/132706.html )

However, it seems that it is very unlikely to do such a surgery without the use of anesthesia:

https://www.quora.com/If-a-patient-is-not-anesthetized-is-it-possible-to-remove-their-organs-without-harming-the-organs

https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/02/anesthesiologist-needed-organ-donation.html

It seems that it is very hard, if not impossible, to conduct such a surgery without the use of anesthesia

--123.192.73.160 (talk) 11:39, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

Number of practitioners[edit]

crossposting this from wikipedia where I was banned for criticising The Master.

There are no credible sources for numbering in the millions. Persecuted minorities often claim far larger numbers in order to assert the validity of their claims. The only vaguely credible report is from a Chinese defected spy who worked in China's Australian diplomatic mission. The Senate inquiry reported that Chen Yonglin stated there were 60 000 practitioners in China which is less than 0.1% of the currently stated figure that is promoted by The Epoch Times, a falun gong run publication.[1]

  • The Falun Gong is a self-described spiritual movement that blends aspects of Taoism, Buddhism, and the meditation techniques and physical exercises of qigong (a traditional Chinese exercise discipline) with the teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi. There are estimated to have been at least 2.1 million adherents of Falun Gong before the Government's harsh crackdown on the group beginning in 1999. There are reliable estimates that hundreds of thousands of citizens still practice Falun Gong privately." [2]
  • "Falun Gong is a self-described spiritual discipline that is Buddhist in nature. Falun Gong combines the meditation techniques and physical exercises of qigong (a traditional Chinese exercise discipline) with the teachings of its founder Li Hongzhi. Prior to the Government's 1999 ban on Falun Gong, it estimated that there were 70 million adherents; the Government subsequently adjusted the number of adherents to approximately 2 million. Falun Gong sources estimate that tens of millions continue to practice privately."[3]
  • "Falun Gong sources estimated that since 1999 at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been sentenced to prison, more than 100,000 practitioners had been sentenced to RTL, and almost 3,000 had died from torture while in custody. Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in RTL camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher."[4]

Li Hongzhi claimed 70 million adherents, the 1999 investigation into Falungong by the CCP identified 2.3 million practising FalunGong according to Zong Hairen in 2002. [6]

various other sources state 70 million as the CCP official figure as of 1999 but the source of this figure is unclear. [7] [8] [9]

In an interview with Time Magazine Hongzhi claimed 100 million but rounded it down to a conservative 60 million as an 'official' 'CCP figure.' [10] His ability to conduct this census may be because he possesses the psychic ability to perform remote viewing.[11]

I admit however that i am not spiritually enlightened which is possibly why i am so attached to the meaning of numbers which take different forms in different dimensions so The Truth will not be revealed to me due to my being possessed by demons which seek to confuse me.[12] Perhaps i need to chant The Masters name some more.:65

So there are estimates of between 60 thousand and 70 million with the higher estimates giving no source but it's likely to be activists. the 60 thousand estimate gives the name of a defected Chinese government operative who has been confirmed to have been a consulate official. he stated in his testimony that he was a member of 601 and working as an analyst he would have access to restricted documents. He affirms that he believes falun gong to be a peaceful organisation and argues that he did all that he could to protect practitioners. 60 000 members in china is the number that should be used. There are 90 000 clandestine organ transplants from falun gong practitioners every year.[13] If this sounds inconsistent it's simply because you're not enlightened enough to understand the multi-dimensional consciousness of Glorious Leader. 175.36.91.0 (talk) 23:47, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

References
  1. "Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Mr Chen Yonglin's request for political asylum". September 1, 2005. p. 50. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/asylum/report01/index. 
  2. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2007/90133.htm
  3. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2009/127268.htm
  4. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm
  5. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2014religiousfreedom/index.htm#wrapper
  6. Vuori, Juha A. (2014). Critical Security and Chinese Politics: The Anti-Falungong Campaign. Routledge. ISBN 9781135076931. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=gAccBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75. 
  7. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/chinas-enemy-within-the-story-of-falun-gong-6103124.html
  8. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/04/23/asia-pacific/politics-diplomacy-asia-pacific/20-years-falun-gong-survives-underground-china/#.XNw_lsgzaUk
  9. http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/east/07/24/china.fg.overview/
  10. DOWELL, WILLIAM (May 10, 1999). "Interview with Li Hongzhi". Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2053761,00.html. 
  11. Hongzhi, Li (April 1, 2001). "Falun Gong". http://falundafa.org/eng/eng/flg_2001_1.htm. 
  12. HONGZHI, LI. "FALUN GONG (english translation 2016)". p. 39. https://falundafa.org/eng/eng/pdf/flg_2001.pdf. 
  13. Delozier, Thomas (July 25, 2016). "En Chine, 90 000 greffes clandestines font tourner des hôpitaux entiers". http://sante.lefigaro.fr/actualite/2016/07/25/25236-chine-90-000-greffes-clandestines-font-tourner-hopitaux-entiers.