Thousands of people are gathering in New York this week to celebrate an ancient meditation practice of mind and body, which is embraced in the United States and many other countries. But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has brutally cracked down on it for two decades.
It is Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, a cultivation system of exercises combined with the moral teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
“The effectiveness of Falun Dafa in improving health, as well as the principles upon which it is founded, have proven to be immensely popular throughout the world,” said the New York State Senate’s Resolution 1115, which commemorates the 20th Annual World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2019. “Falun Dafa is a practice which has brought better health and inner peace to millions around the world.”
Falun Dafa was first introduced to the public in China on May 13, 1992, by Master Li Hongzhi, and quickly made its profound impact on Chinese society and spread to various countries.
“Today, Falun Dafa is practiced and cherished by millions of people in more than 70 countries with 41 languages and has received over 3,000 awards,” according to Resolution 1115 of the New York State Senate.
Falun Gong practitioners around the world are celebrating May 13—World Falun Dafa Day.
Thousands of practitioners from different countries are gathering in New York to join an experience sharing conference, a street parade, and exercise performances to celebrating the special day.
The anniversary is “to celebrate the benefits of Falun Dafa in the lives of practitioners, to introduce Falun Dafa to more people, and to raise awareness about persecution faced by practitioners in China,” stated Resolution 1115.
While embraced in the United States and other countries, Falun Gong has been viciously persecuted in China since 1999 by the Chinese communist regime, when the number of practitioners was estimated at 70 to 100 million, larger than the number of CCP members at that time.
In July 1999, Jiang Zemin, then leader of the CCP, ordered a nationwide campaign against Falun Gong practitioners to “ruin their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.”
The campaign involves arbitrary arrests, forced labor, physical torture, and even a “systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting” from the practitioners. It was raised as a concern of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Leihtinen in resolution H.R. 343, in June 2016.
The brutal campaign has been accompanied by two decades of multifaceted propaganda to justify the persecution and erase the positive impressions among the people about Falun Gong.
All of the CCP’s propaganda should be understood as being opposite of the truth, according to Chen Yonglin, former official at the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia. He told YouTube program China Uncensored, “So if CCP said that this is an evil part, an evil group, Falun Gong is evil, that means that Falun Gong is really good,” said Chen, who defected to Australia in 2005.
People from different corners of the world—both practitioners and non-practitioners—have been speaking out for 20 years as a way of raising awareness of the truth behind the propaganda of the Chinese communist regime.
What is Falun Gong and how does it benefit people?
“Falun Dafa is a meditation practice, that you can do in your daily life. It’s very simple exercises and meditation, and there is also a very simple philosophy to try to be a better person,” Dr. Damon Noto, New Jersey physiatrist said to CiCiLicious Vlog.
“It makes me a better physician. It makes me more caring towards my patients and more giving of my time and my energy. And also makes me a better parent,” said Dr. G. Weldon Gilcrease to NTD Television during a Falun Dafa experience sharing conference in Los Angeles on Oct. 16, 2015.
“The main benefit I got from becoming a Falun Dafa practitioner was that, it changed my mind and my thinking, and that’s really hard to do in people,” said Lucia Dunn to NTD. She is a professor of economics at Ohio State University, who has been practicing Falun Gong for nearly two decades. “I started living my life by truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. And it just changed everything, it made everything for me and my family happier.”
Why does the Chinese Communist party persecute Falun Gong?
- Jealousy in the communist leadership
The Chinese regime has erased its initial support of Falun Gong, as well as the popular enthusiasm of Chinese citizens had toward Falun Gong’s teachings.
“The exercise of Falun Gong was actually encouraged initially by the authorities on the basis that it was healthful and it cut down on the health bills in the system,” David Matas, Canadian human rights lawyer, said in an interview by Dr. Robert Donmoyer, Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego, published on Youtube in June 2012.
Matas said: “And it grew from a standing start in ‘92 until ‘99. According to government estimates, they were estimating the size of various essential communities. It was 70 to 100 million practitioners, which was more at the time than the membership of the Communist Party, which was 60 million.”
“This was seen by Jiang Zemin, then the leader of the Communist Party, as a threat to his own position,” said Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament (2004-2014) in a press conference in 2010. “It wasn’t of course, but he saw the opportunity of creating an enemy within, just as during the war the Nazis singled out the Jews’ special characteristics and did what they did to the Jews. The same is happening today to Falun Gong in China. That is why it is genocide.” McMillan-Scott referred to the Chinese state-sponsored forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.
Ethan Gutmann, an American investigative journalist, cited the nerves among Chinese communists as a reason for persecuting Falun Gong.
Gutmann said in the documentary of “Tears and Blood Behind Made in China”: “The government decided to frame Falun Gong as an enemy, some of the most obvious ones are that it had become already larger than the Chinese Communist Party in terms of its membership—those sorts of issues. And I think those are true, and I think from a Marxist perspective seeing the spread of Falun Gong through the different class levels and occupations, rural, urban, and all the way up to the Chinese Communist Party itself, was terrifying. This is the way Marxism is supposed to spread, not Falun Gong.”
- Long history of persecution against faiths
To preserve its atheist ruling in a traditionally religious country like China, the CCP conducted various anti-religious campaigns, starting in 1949 when the communists took over.
Priests and monks were humiliated, Christian crosses and bibles were burned, churches and temples were destroyed. Those were normal scenes during the Cultural Revolution, which was implemented by the CCP during 1966-1976. Similar crackdown against religions can be seen in China today.
On the surface, Chinese people seem to have religious freedom as they can participate in registered religion communities. The communities are in fact controlled by the regime and their heads are appointed by the regime.
Falun Gong with moral teachings is persecuted severely because the regime cannot control the practice as it does other faiths.
“If you look at what’s happening in China with the Catholic Church, the Communist Party appoints a bishop, and with the Buddhism they’ve got their own Panchen Lama, and Islam they have their own Imams,” Attorney David Matas said in the Coalition Roundtable 2017 hosted by Chris Chappell, the host of China Uncensored.
Forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners
Chinese Falun Gong practitioners are the main target, says H.R.343, of “systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China.”
Uighurs, Tibetans, and House Church Christians are also among those who have been victimized by the transplant abuse, according to the 2016 report “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update” by David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann, all three Nobel Peace Prize nominees.
“The government in China is doing a terrible thing, which is comparable to what the Nazsi did,” David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), said in the documentary “Human Harvest.”
“The parallels to what was happening to Jewish prisoners and others in Nazi concentration camps in Germany were too obvious to ignore,” said Prof Paul Macneill, Honorary Associate Professor, Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney, Australia, in 2017.
Chinese regime propaganda exposed
“The CCP and Chinese officials typically assert that Falun Gong needed to banned because it … was having a nefarious influence on society. The claims have not held up to scrutiny when investigated in China, nor when one considers Falun Gong’s spread in other parts of the world, including democratic Taiwan,” said Sarah Cook, Senior Research Analyst for East Asia of Freedom House, in a written statement for Congressional-Executive Commission on China, in Dec. 2012.
“There’s no evidence of political actions to try and bring down the Chinese government. There’s no evidence of anything other than a deep desire to be left alone to practice their spiritual belief in peace and to not be locked up and murdered,” said Wendy Rogers, Deputy Director of Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics, Australia.
How have the U.S. and world reacted to the persecution?
In the resolution H.R.343, the U.S. House condemned “the practice of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting” of Falun Gong and other victims. The resolution also demanded “an immediate end” to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
The issue of organ harvesting was also condemned by the European Parliament in 2013 and 2016.
“There have been persistent credible reports on systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, primarily from practitioners of Falun Gong peaceful meditation and exercises but also from Uighurs, Tibetans and Christians,” said the 2016 declaration of the European Parliament.
The Chinese regime denied and ignored any accusations of organ harvesting, but did not provide any proof to dismiss the reports nor allow any international investigation of its organ transplant industry, which has been booming since the persecution of Falun Gong.
On the occasion of Falun Dafa Day 2019, U.S. Congressmen have expressed their support to the meditation and their concern of the on-going persecution in China.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said to NTDTV: “It’s important to recognize this persecution of these individuals for their religious beliefs, because this is one of the most basic human rights, the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of association.”
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said to NTDTV: “We wish peace, and we wish freedom and the respect for religious freedom all over the world and for the Falun Gong.”
“Why are they so afraid of a group of people who are committed to peace, reconciliation, peace of mind?” House Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) referred to the Chinese regime in an interview with NTDTV. “They could learn something from Falun Gong.”
Smith continued: “To the 20th anniversary of those who are persevering, Falun Gong and other people of faith, will be free some day in China.”
In the occasion of Falun Dafa Day two years ago, Smith spoke to NTDTV and called for the world leaders to press China in order to stop the persecution.
“Leaders in the free world, including President Trump, need to raise this case with Xi Jinping very directly and earnestly, and with great belief that things can change for the better if we use the tools at our disposal,” said the New Jersey Congressman.