Impressions After Watching New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) Exclusive Interview with Falun Gong Founder

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NTDTV attracted the attention of many overseas Chinese people for having hosted the Inaugural Chinese New Year Global Gala in New York's Manhattan Center. Then it broadcast an exclusive interview with Falun Gong founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi. This was the first time since 1999 that the Falun Gong founder has accepted a media interview. Addressing people who are not practitioners, the Falun Gong founder spoke on a few topics of interest to many people. Clearwisdom reporters interviewed some NTDTV viewers and asked them to talk about their impressions after having watched the interview.

Under the cruel persecution, has Falun Gong participated in politics through its peaceful appeal?

Mr. Wang, vice president of a real estate company in New York, said, "I had never figured out during the past four years whether or not Falun Gong has participated in politics. I feel that Mr. Li's answer to this question was quite reasonable. The reason is very clear. Falun Gong practitioners are not interested in politics, nor do they want to wrest power from the Communist Party. The Party gets into a fight with such a group of people who are in harmony with the rest of the world, brutally tortures them, and does not allow them to seek justice. On one hand, they brutally persecute Falun Gong, and then turn around and declare that Falun Gong has political aspirations. They deceived people and fabricated the reasons for further persecution. This is so irrational. Having listened to the interview, I am able to better understand the various approaches of Falun Gong in opposing the persecution during the past four years."

Another TV viewer, Mr. Liu, said, "The way I understand Falun Gong, they indeed don't participate in politics. They just peacefully appeal, doing their exercises, oppose the persecution and seek the basic freedom to meditate. Some friends think that Falun Gong's opposing the severe violation of human rights is also playing politics. That's a serious misunderstanding. Everything that Falun Gong practitioners have done in the past four years is good for China's true stability and even the entire human civilisation. Falun Gong practitioners' perseverance, tolerance, peacefulness and rationality are worthy of much respect, and they have established a very good model."

According to the viewers' recollection, Mr. Li Hongzhi said during the interview that Falun Gong teaches people to follow "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance," and that Falun Gong practitioners did not get involved in politics over the past four years of being persecuted. He said that the Chinese Communist Party slandered Falun Gong, saying it had attempted to overthrow the government, and gave people such illusions. He said that we have never said to overthrow the Communist Party, never talked about a political system, nor have we talked about striking anyone down. He said that we only want to have enough space for freedom of meditation and that we ask for nothing else. Everything that Falun Gong practitioners are doing is to oppose the persecution.

In the past 4 years, has there been any governmental organisation providing support, especially financial support, to Falun Gong?

According to the recollection of Mr. Zhang, who came to the U.S. to visit, Mr. Li Hongzhi's answer to this question was that since July 20, 1999, Falun Gong has not accepted a single penny from any government or enterprise. Though some may not understand this, Mr. Li said, people cannot understand cultivators. Christianity was persecuted brutally for 300 hundred years during its beginning, early years. Yet, the persecution did not make Christianity become extinct; instead, it became more and more popular. Why? The question involves one's belief. What Falun Gong has manifested is rather different from those people who don't cultivate.

Mr. Zhang said, "Before I came to the U.S., I believed what the Chinese government said, that Falun Gong had received support from foreign governments and financial institutions. I didn't think they could make it without financial support, for doing so many activities, printing so much material and persisting for so long. But after I came to the U.S., I have seen and got in touch with quite a few Falun Gong practitioners. I went to some of Falun Gong's public events. I got to know that Falun practitioners use money from their own pockets; that they don't have any outside financial support, and that they don't get any material rewards in return. In the beginning I couldn't understand and wondered why. As I got in touch with more and more Falun Gong practitioners and gained a better and better understanding of them, I came to realise that they could do it because they have been working hard in their cultivation of "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance," and because they are kind to all people. Their power of belief is great."

After the introduction of Falun Gong to the public, Falun Gong had drawn many people in China to practise and had gained support from China's Government as well. What is the reason that the Chinese Government later banned and persecuted Falun Gong?

According to comments from viewers who have watched the NTDTV Exclusive Interview, Mr. Li Hongzhi's answer to this question is that because Falun Gong has shown very good evidence in healing diseases and keeping people healthy, and because there are many other reasons, more and more people came to learn Falun Gong. The "wicked ringleader" could not stand this development and showed his resentment. According to the political leanings of the Chinese Communist Party, it does not allow such a large number of the populace to believe in Falun Gong, nor could the Party tolerate this outcome. Even though Falun Gong is good for society, good for the populace, and many people have started practising Falun Gong, a certain person only paid attention to his own power and did not care about the hardships and problems of the populace. He could not stand the fact that there were so many people practising Falun Gong, nor could he stand it when there were so many people calling someone "Master Li." It is his envy that makes him disregard the benefits Falun Gong brings to the country and the populace, and this is the reason he ignored many people's opposition and gave the order to ban and suppress Falun Gong. This is the realisation from looking at the surface and from the phenomena of everyday people's society. If we as practitioners look at these problems, we can also clearly see a deeper reason.

Ms. Zhang, owner of an international shipping company, said, "I learned a lot about the persecution of Falun Gong from the NTDTV programs. This kind of information has helped me to gain a true picture of the persecution of Falun Gong mobilised by Jiang Zemin and his regime. The degree of brutality and the breadth of its spread shocked me. I also recognised the cruelty of the person who issued the order to ban and suppress Falun Gong. So many innocent people have been tortured and even killed! So many innocent people have been illegally arrested, sentenced, detained in labour camps, suffered spiritual persecution, and there are so many miserable cases of the persecution that people simply cannot bear to view them. Today I know that it is the individual jealousy of the person with the highest authority that created this national disaster."

Regarding the progress and development of China, Mr. Long said that Jiang Zemin has held great power and authority, but his vanity is just too great. If he felt that someone was in the spotlight, he would think that his authority is threatened, and he would then abuse his authority to attack and retaliate against his opponents. Now almost everybody in China knows that Jiang Zemin has done everything possible to prevent the new Chinese leaders from walking in the front. Jiang Zemin's intense, envious mentality is fully exposed before the people, that is the reason for Jiang Zemin banning and suppressing Falun Gong. Although it sounds absurd, unfortunately, it is true.

In the past few years, whenever Jiang visited other countries, Falun Gong practitioners have used the form of practising exercises on a large scale to hold protests. In December of 2003, when China's Premiere Wen Jiabao visited the USA, Falun Gong held banners saying, "Welcoming Wen Jiabao's Visit to the USA" and requested to "Punish Jiang Zemin." What are the reasons for doing so?

Ms. Zhang said that Mr. Li Hongzhi indicated in the interview that actually, Falun Gong's clarifying the truth aims directly at this persecution, and directly opposes this persecution. Thus the people Falun Gong are aiming for are the wicked ringleader and his regime who have persecuted Falun Gong. For the people in China and officials in the Chinese government who have not participated in persecting Falun Gong, Falun Gong will always treat them with compassion.

Ms. Zhang said, "Even only in this regard, I highly respect Falun Gong because they can still maintain calmness and rationality under such a brutal persecution. They have been treating people with compassion. Meanwhile they have also been unambiguously investigating the primary culprit and his partners in starting this persecution campaign. I cannot help but highly admire and respect the unusual degree of magnanimity, calmness and wisdom from Falun Gong. These matters have let me have a more open and broader understanding of the 'Truth-Compassion- Forbearance' of Falun Gong."

Falun Gong has spread to over 50 countries in the world, and the voices to stop the persecution have been stronger and stronger. Currently, the Chinese authorities' persecution of Falun Gong has reached a situation likened to "riding a tiger and finding it hard to dismount." If this continues, what will be the final outcome of this persecution?

Mr. Long said, "Mr. Li Hongzhi gave an analysis of the current situation. Jiang Zemin's persecution of Falun Gong has brought great losses to China and the Chinese people. Some people who do not pay attention may not be able to see clearly, but the high-level officials in the Communist Party all know that this suppression has severely affected China's social stability and development. If the Falun Gong issue is not resolved, many big problems, such as social stability, society's morality, economic development and others cannot be fundamentally resolved. To resolve the Falun Gong issue, the only way is to announce a resolution that quickly and thoroughly brings to justice those directly responsible for causing this persecution. I think this is the only way to reduce the losses for the Chinese people."

Ms. Zhang said, "There are several precedents in history, how those who committed all kinds of evil deeds came to an end, for example, the tyrant Nero in ancient Rome who persecuted Christians and, in recent history, former Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu. What Jiang Zemin has done has put him in the same category. Actually, he can only walk towards his unavoidable fate."

Mr. Li Hongzhi said during the interview that the reason for him to accept the interview is because NTDTV dares to speak the truth. Especially on the issue of Falun Gong, NTDTV has the courage to expose the truth, whereas other media have not been able to.

Mr. Long said, "Those who have knowledge of China's modern history know that after the "Anti-Rightists Movement," the Chinese media did not dare to tell the truth anymore. Even now, and for the past several decades they have only been permitted to reflect the will of persons in power instead of echoing people's true voices. In dealing with the Falun Gong issue, the authorities put even stricter controls on the media. As a result, except for slander and lies, no one reports the voice of Falun Gong. Moreover, the Chinese authorities also utilise economical, diplomatic and political means to infiltrate and control the overseas media, to prevent them from speaking truthfully on the Falun Gong issue. Mr. Li's accepting the NTDTV interview also reflects Falun Gong's spirit of seeking truthfulness."

Ms. Zhang said, "At the end of the interview, Mr. Li said a few things for the audience. The general idea being: What the purpose of life is, why man lives in this world; people have been painstakingly searching for an answer for thousands of years; however, what you are looking for maybe is what you have already known; make sure you don't miss the opportunity."

Ms. Zhang said, "I can feel from Mr. Li's words his heart of great compassion. What is the purpose of life? Why does man live in this world? I feel that no matter how plentiful material life is, man's spiritual world needs more profound matters to substantiate it. We should indeed think carefully about these two questions."

New Tang Dynasty Television is a non-profit Chinese language television station headquartered in New York, which began broadcasting in North America in February 2002. NTDTV began to broadcast through satellite in July 2003, providing Chinese language programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all over the world, free of charge. NTDTV won two awards for its films, "False Fire" and "The Legend of Ye Lili" during the Columbus International Film Festival. "False Fire" in particular caught people's attention.

On January 23, 2001, a few people set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square, Beijing. One woman died on site; others were severely burned, including a young girl. The Chinese official media immediately reported this case and alleged that those people were Falun Gong practitioners. Next, the Chinese government propagandised the case widely all over the world, aiming to incite people's hatred toward Falun Gong. But when people viewed the propaganda program from CCTV, they found many suspicious inconsistencies. In "False Fire", NTDTV, whose aim is to uphold justice and support human rights, systematically analysed these inconsistencies and exposed that the so-called "self-immolation case" was very likely directed by the Chinese government to frame Falun Gong and to fabricate excuses for the persecution of Falun Gong.

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