With my investments in Shandong and Fujian provinces for the last more than 10 years, I have traveled extensively in China as a Hong Kong businessman. But I had never heard anything about Falun Gong and or noticed it until recent years, when CCTV, radio, TV stations, and all types of media suddenly began criticizing Falun Gong, assaulting Li Hongzhi, and reporting many events such as the "besieging" of newspaper agents, appeals to higher authorities, and the "besieging" of Zhongnanhai and other strongholds of the Party Central Committee.
Later, scenes such as an alleged Falun Gong practitioner committing suicide and the "Self-immolation at Tiananmen Square" were broadcast on TV. That's how I first became familiar with Falun Gong. At that time, even though I felt annoyed by -- even disliked -- the endless propaganda and criticism from CCTV, I still understood and supported the decision of the Party Central Committee.
A few days before National Day in 2000, I went to Beijing on business. At Tiananmen Square, I saw with my own eyes dozens of large public buses lined up along the side of Tiananmen Square, and many policemen. At Tiananmen, there were many groups of Falun Gong practitioners, dozens in each group, hundreds of people.
It was said they had come from Hebei, Henan, and Shandong provinces to appeal. They were escorted off to the public buses group by group. Some of their materials, such as banners, were confiscated by the police and piled in the tree shadows. There was no violence at all. Police had no guns, and those who came to appeal didn't shout or curse. It looked like they were dealing with a large crowd of tourists, as it was so orderly. I asked a policewoman: "What are they doing?" The policewoman answered loudly, "Falun Gong practitioners. They came to Beijing to appeal. We are going to send them back to their home towns."
To tell you the truth, I supported the police's action at that time and found it understandable.
Maybe because it was beyond my own business, I never took Falun Gong seriously. Occasionally I had read some articles about it in Hong Kong or Taiwan. Unconsciously, or maybe even purposely, I had tried to avoid any information about Falun Gong... until one year ago, that is.
I was in Taipei and called an old friend of mine whom I hadn't seen for a long time. He was in Australia to spread the Fa and to participate in the Fa-conference in Sydney. I was very surprised that my friend, who used to be very active in the democratic movement and concerned with the politics and the future of Taiwan, became a practitioner of Falun Gong, flying 1,000 miles to promote Falun Gong to westerners. It was quite strange. Maybe out of curiosity or friendship, I decided to stay two more days to wait for my good friend's return.
As soon as he saw me he promoted the Fa to me. He felt it was "odd" for the Chinese communists to regard Falun Gong as [slanderous terms omitted]. He wanted me to know the truth about the "Tiananmen Self-Immolation" and denounced the Chinese police slandering Master Li Hongzhi and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. He sent me some related VCDs.
I was quite reluctant to watch the VCD he gave me. However, as the narrator in the video pointed out, the behavior of the Chinese policemen at the site of the self-immolation indeed aroused my suspicions. Following the prompts of the narrator, I compared the hand gesture and the sitting position, and I suddenly realized something: There was plenty of evidence and many ways this video program refuted what the Chinese communists did and said.
It occurred to me that it was very necessary and reasonable for Falun Gong to make such a CD to make its point and clarify the truth. Suddenly, I understood some of reasons behind it. I hoped to start from the beginning to know Falun Gong from the perspective of research and with an attitude of seeking the truth.
At the same time, my friend took me to attend a "nine day lecture class," a group reading, and group exercises, and to listen to some speeches that Li Hongzhi had given at different places. This is how I got in touch with Falun Gong and what I saw. Comparing my own experiences to the propaganda of the Chinese communists, I felt what the Chinese communists said was quite biased.
Most of the practitioners I saw were quite refined and courteous in their speech and behavior. They did not seek reputation and gain; they treated others kindly; they worked harmoniously among each other, and learned from each other. They sought purity of mind and body and cultivated their bodies and character. They showed themselves to be a group of people who were most self-cultivated. From some of his speeches on the tape, I realized Li Hongzhi's noble and moral virtue in teaching people to be kind and to lead people to higher levels, not like what the Chinese communists accused at all.
On May 13, 2002, there was a conference to "Celebrate Falun Dafa's 10 Year Anniversary Since Introduced to Public" at "Sun-Moon Lake." As a tourist, I went there to observe their activities. There were three or four thousand people, all wearing the yellow clothes and standing in lines to do the exercises together at the tourist boat docks. To the sound of the gentle and melodious music, they slowly moved, which was quite beautiful and orderly.
The three Chinese characters for the words "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" were formed by the crowd and could be seen from a distance. I thought in my mind, "It's quite clear that Master Li Hongzhi teaches his disciples to be honest, to be kind to others, and to be tolerant. It's all about the principle and the philosophy of life." I wished that "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" could be the golden words for me to live by and to conduct myself in society.
Later, during the break and before dinner, the three or four thousand people were all at the small dock, which is just a few hundred meters long. People just sat on the ground, in threes or fives, or tens. Some exchanged experiences; some just talked about family trifles; some corrected each other on the movements of the exercises. They all kept their voices low, speaking quietly. No one called out loudly or made noise. With the loudspeaker only playing gentle and stimulating folk music, there was no disturbing racket.
I found many ready-to-eat food boxes piled along the road. No one was in charge and no one had to distribute food. Everyone was selfrestrained, taking the food in an orderly way. Some voluntarily collected the garbage, and the empty boxes and bottles just disappeared without a trace. Everything was going on quietly just like a family. The ground was clean and everyone still sat on the ground; it manifested the harmony and tacit understanding among the several thousand people. From the bottom of my heart, I was shocked and deeply moved. I could only respect these people. I think they are the most self-restrained, most excellent group. They should be our role models.
That evening, there was a "Falun Gong Concert." I should not be overcritical because they were apparently not professional musicians. What made me curious about it was the words the host and hostess used. They called and asked the Chinese communists to treat kindly their "fellow practitioners" in China. The words they used were so cordial, just like the "comrade" used by the communists. They said that the mainland of China and Taiwan were one family and both were Chinese with the same language and the same race.
To sum up my points, I realized the following:
· Falun Gong practitioners wish only to take their stance on the "Tiananmen Self-immolation Incident" to clarify the facts and to refute the slander about Falun Gong practitioners made by the Chinese communist party. They declare that practitioners will not self-immolate nor commit suicide. They do not acknowledge the people who self-immolated as their fellow practitioners.
· Falun Gong practitioners do not have any political aspirations, let alone do they care to intervene in politics. To regard Falun Gong as a political organization that intends to subvert the Chinese communist party is a claim that simply cannot be supported by facts.
· Dafa disciples are all patriotic. They see China as the birthplace of Falun Gong.
· Dafa disciples are not against the communist party.
· Dafa disciples only aim at the two persons, Jiang and Luo, who initiated the persecution against Falun Gong. They believe that Jiang is the one who labeled Falun Gong [slanderous term omitted]. Luo is the one responsible for staging and clumsily directing the farcical "Tiananmen Self-immolation Incident."
· The Falun Dafa Association in Taiwan appealed to the Chinese communist party and the police to stop the persecution in China and to treat their fellow practitioners well.
The above is my rough understanding of Falun Gong as an observer. It is derived from comparing the propaganda disseminated by the Chinese communist party with my own experience. I do not wish to criticize the communist party, but I do not believe nor agree in any way that Falun Gong should be labeled or treated as a [slanderous term omitted].
Recently, a friend of mine in Taiwan received a fax from Shandong. It exposed three cases of persecution in Qingdao City in which Dafa disciples' families had been broken apart because of the Chinese police actions.
In the past, I had heard similar accounts of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners. Reports like these are being constantly posted on the web but I never believed them. Because I know a few Chinese police, I asked them for verification, and expressed to them my concerns. They always refuted and denied the accusations. Thus, I decided to pay a visit to Qingdao myself to investigate the truth of the fax content.
From March 25 to 28, along with two of my friends from Shandong, we secretly investigated those persecution cases of Falun Gong practitioners. The results made me quite angry. I really cannot believe it. The information in the fax was all true.
In recent years, the Chinese communist party has seen Falun Gong as a great calamity. The party has categorized Falun Gong as a political organization that aims to overturn the communist government. Luo is in charge of the persecution of Falun Gong at the federal level, the 6-10 Task Force has been established within police departments with Vice Minister Liu Jing as the person in charge, and provinces and cities throughout China have established "610 Offices"* to specifically handle any information related to Falun Gong. To deal with Falun Gong practitioners, the communist party has deployed agents everywhere to prohibit Falun Gong associations and to ban or regulate practitioner activities. Customs also checks relentlessly to block information related to Falun Gong from coming into and going out of China and to disrupt the means of contact between practitioners. They try everything to completely block them.
However, things reverse course once they reach a peak. The excessive persecution and assault on Falun Gong has brought about negative effects. Falun Gong is oppressed in China, labeled as a [slanderous term omitted]. The people have no choice and are too frightened to speak out. But they do not entirely believe the Chinese communist party's propaganda, which is a sign that they do not agree with the way the government is treating Falun Gong. Overseas, Falun Gong is spreading rapidly. Over a hundred thousand practitioners and Falun Gong associations simultaneously appeared in countries and regions around the world. This is not what Jiang had expected.
To appeal against the slander and persecution perpetrated by the Chinese communist party, Falun Gong practitioners overseas often protest at times that grab the media's attention, and in front of the Chinese consulates. At first, local governments and police were on their guard with shields and police batons, but the situation quickly changed, for the authorities soon saw that there were no rallies, no speech making, no flier distributing, no advertising. In short, there was no extreme behavior at all during the appeals. The only things that could be seen and heard were the banners with the words "Falun Dafa is good" and the gentle music performed on traditional Chinese instruments. No matter the number of participants or the size of the events, they always do the exercises along with the music, which is graceful and moving. Thus, the governments overseas and the police have come to welcome and respect these peaceful, rational, gentle, and kind "protestors." Jiang could not have expected this, either.
I am not a Falun Gong practitioner, nor am I an official of the Chinese communist party. I am just a freelance writer from Hong Kong who likes to poke around in other people's business. What I write is based on evidence, and I want to share these personal opinions with others. I hope that there will be an opportunity for me to investigate the true motives of the Chinese communist party for trying to eliminate Falun Gong, as well as the influence Falun Gong has on Chinese humanities and culture.
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