FALUN GONG &
History of the movement
History of Falun Dafa
The Falun Dafa movement is one tradition within Xulian -- ancient Chinese methods to cultivate mind and body as
a means of keeping fit and healing oneself. They appear to
have pre-historic roots that may date back many millennia. However, the term Xulian
had long been associated with practices that had religious sounding names.
In order to make the practices more acceptable to the government, the
leaders of Falun Dafa
adopted a new word: Qigong (pronounced chee-gong). Qi means universal life energy; Gong
means cultivation energy.
incorporates Buddhist and Taoist
principles, and combines them with exercise and body
individuals are drawn to Falun Gong because of the beneficial impact produced by
its practices and exercises.
"Published experiences by practitioners stress the positive effects for
their health. Given the growing expense of the health system to many people and
faltering mutual support networks, the positive effects of Qigong practice and
the support networks resulting from membership will have been supportive for the
spread of the Falun Gong." However, the Falun Dafa is taught as a path
which is more than just the practice of Qigong; is seen a way of life. 1
Founder Li Hongzhi (a.k.a. Master Li) has said that, in the past, its secrets
were passed only from master to student. Hongzhi made the movement public in
China in 1992. It is now available to anyone. It currently has branches throughout the
world. It claims a membership of 70 million on China and 30 million
elsewhere in the world. Theirs is not a religious
organization in the conventional sense of the term. They continually deny
being a religion, cult or sect. They are mainly
"a network for transmitting information and practices, in which
people may dip on an incidental basis or more regularly." 1
Falun Dafa was registered with the Qugong Research Association of
China in 1992. However, it became obvious that Qugong's emphasis on
"healing illnesses and keeping fit, as well as displaying
supernormal powers at exhibitions" did not match Falun Dafa's
emphasis on "genuinely guiding people to higher dimensions."
So Li Hongzhi withdrew the movement from the Association. By this time,
the Chinese government had become concerned about the popularity of the
Falun Dafa. The number of Falun Dafa practitioners had exceeded the number
of people in the Communist Party. In fact, Falun Dafa had included many party
members. The government refused the Falun Gong permission to join any other association.
Thus they have remained an independent group without legal protection or status in China.
Li Hongzhi left China in 1996, and now resides in New York state. He speaks at
annual Experience-Sharing Conferences.
About 10,000 Falun Dafa
members engaged in a peaceful gathering outside the Communist Party headquarters
in Beijing on 1999-APR-25. On 1999-MAY-9, three students were fired from a university in Dalian City,
China for practicing Falun Gong. One student was expelled. In subsequent months,
practitioners were harassed in various areas of the country, as they were
performing group exercises. Some practitioners were told that their phones were
being monitored and that if they continued, their retirement pensions would be
terminated. Police and other officials started to break into practitioner's
homes and confiscate Falun Gong material. Some followers were arrested and have disappeared from sight.
2 Thousands of members
demonstrated peacefully in about 30 Chinese cities.
The group was outlawed on 1999-JUL-22. The government accused it of
"spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating
disturbances and jeopardizing social stability." 3 On
JUL-23, Master LI called on "all governments, international organizations,
and people of goodwill worldwide to extend their support and assistance to us in
order to resolve the current crisis in China." 4 On
JUL-29, Chinese authorities issued an arrest warrant for Master Li. According to
the official Xinhua News Agency, the Ministry of Public Security in
Beijing said that sect founder Li Hongzhi "spread superstition and malicious
fallacies to deceive people, resulting in the deaths of many practitioners."
He is also accused of organizing demonstrations without first applying for
In an apparent violation of the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which China recently signed, the government
has arrested hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and is proceeding with show trials.
Some have allegedly been sent directly to labor camps without trials. A
spokesperson for the Falun Gong Practitioners in North America has stated
that: "lawyers in China have already been told not to defend these
innocent civilians unless they agree with the government propaganda. Also,
no legal representation on behalf of them from the concerned international
community is allowed to be present at the trial." 6
The U.S. Congress -- both House and Senate -- unanimously passed resolutions on 1999-NOV-18 and
19 which criticized the Chinese government for its crackdown of the Falun Gong.
"Both resolutions urge the Chinese government to honor the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it has signed, to stop arresting,
detaining and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, to release all detained
dissidents, and to respect the basic human rights such as freedom of belief and
freedom of speech." 7 Chinese foreign ministry
spokesman Sun Yuxi commented that Falun Gong is not a religious organization. It
is not simply a Qugong group. He sees it as a destructive cult that harms Chinese society
and its people. He regards the resolutions as a gross infringement of China's
internal affairs. 8
In late 1999-NOV, over 700 Falun Gong practitioners went to Seattle WA during the
Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meetings. Their intent was to launch
a global campaign that they hope will pressure the Chinese government into
negotiating with them.
- Barend ter Haar, "Falun Gong: Evaluation and further
references," at: http://sun.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/
- "Chinese Government's severe violations of Falun Gong
practitioners' human rights," at: http://minghui.ca/
- "Banned sect joins long Chinese history of religious
repression," Associated Press, 1999-JUL-22.
- "Statement by Master Li on Falun Gong and the situation in
China," 1999-JUL-23, at: http://minghui.ca/eng/china/calldialogue.html
- "Falun Gong crackdown", ABC News, at: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/
- "Statement Regarding Pending Show-Trials in China," 1999-AUG-25,
Falun Dafa Clearwisdom, at:
- "U.S. Senate and House passed resolutions related to Falun
Gong," at: http://minghui.ca/eng/report/usrsl1119.html
- "China strongly opposes U.S [sic] House Joint Resolution on
Falun Gong," at: http://ppflg.china.com.cn/baodao/1121/01e.htm
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 1999-NOV-26
Latest update: 2004-JAN-28
Author: B.A. Robinson