New York City (January 25, 2004) - An exclusive interview with Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, aired globally at 9:00 p.m. EST January 20, 2004 on New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV). This is the first interview that Mr. Li has granted to media since 1999.
When being asked why he agreed to an interview with NTDTV, Mr. Li said: "New Tang Dynasty TV is different because they dare to report the truth, and they dare to expose things. Particularly when it comes to Falun Gong being persecuted, they dare to boldly report things." He added: "And it doesn't have any political leanings."
In recent years, Mr. Li has seldom appeared in public and has kept a low profile. He said: "As somebody who does self-cultivation, I wouldn't want to get involved in more worldly things." He continued: "In fact, as people who cultivate themselves, all we're asking is to have some space that allows us to follow our beliefs, and to have our personal freedom to do our practice, that's all. We're not after anything beyond that."
When being asked what the reason is that the Chinese Government suppresses Falun Gong, Mr. Li said: "It was in fact jealousy, and it's exactly that jealousy that brought on the persecution." Mr. Li clarified, "When you're in the context of the Chinese Communist Party's political regime, they won't allow you to have so many people, to have so many from the masses, believing in something such as Falun Gong [...] He doesn't care about the suffering of the people. So he couldn't tolerate it -- so many people were taking up Falun Gong, despite the fact that it was good for society, and despite the fact that it was good for the people, all he could see was his own political power."
Last year when Premier Wen Jiabao made official visits abroad, Falun Gong practitioners displayed banners that on the one hand, welcomed Wen on his visit to the U.S., and, on the other, demanded that Jiang Zemin be brought to justice. Why the different stances on the two figures? Mr. Li said: "What we're simply doing is opposing the persecution, and the main thing is we're targeting the chief instigators of the persecution."
When asked if Falun Gong has received any financial support from any governmental agencies in the past four years, Mr. Li said: "From July 20th of 1999 right on up to today, over such a long period of being persecuted, we've never--be it from some government, or even from society, and that includes big corporations--we've never taken a single penny, in fact."
As to those who do not believe these, Mr. Li said: "An average person can't understand those who cultivate themselves. Long ago Christians were persecuted for 300 years, and in those 300 years the persecution they suffered was just ruthless, but it turned out they couldn't defeat them, and instead it only made Christianity flourish. And why is that? When you touch on that question it involves the matter of faith. In our Falun Gong practice, the part of Falun Gong you see before you includes recovering health and some other things, and that part alone makes for a big difference between us and people who don't do self-cultivation."
Mr. Li was asked what the outcome of the persecution will be. He said: "A lot of people have realised that the persecution of Falun Gong has been a massive drain on the national economy [...] So if the government's position on Falun Gong isn't changed, Chinese society has no hope of stability." He continued: "And if the stance on Falun Gong were to be reversed, well, then all the families of the people who were killed in the persecution, the many people whose homes were ransacked, those who were heavily fined, those who were persecuted terribly, and some who were even crippled from all the maltreatment, wouldn't you have to answer to all those people? Then who should be held responsible? I think it should be that wicked ringleader in China who's persecuted Falun Gong. He should be brought to justice. You can see how scared he is when he's faced with the law. He hangs on to money and power with a death grip [...] Actually, a lot of people know this even without hearing me explain it."
NTDTV (www.ntdtv.com) is an independent, non-profit Chinese-language television based in New York City. NTDTV began airing in February 2002 in North America free of charge via satellite 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and quickly expanded coverage to Asia, Europe, and Australia. Our mission is to provide Chinese people with accurate and objective information to enrich their knowledge and their lives, to promote the universal values of human rights and freedom, and to foster understanding between Chinese and Western communities.
NTDTV can be seen on Time Warner Cable channel 30 in Manhattan Mon-Fri, 8-11pm and Sat-Sun, 9pm-12am. Further cable coverage can be found at www.ntdtv.com.
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