World Book Encyclopedia (2002): Falun Gong

Falun Gong is a spiritual way of living that emerged in China during the early 1990's. Falun Gong teaches techniques of meditation through exercises as a means of gaining improved physical health and fitness and moral and spiritual purity. The name Falun Gong means turn the wheel of law in Chinese. Falun Gong is also called Falun Dafa (the great law). Falun Gong claims millions of followers in dozens of countries.

Falun Gong followers state that the movement aims to promote truth, tolerance, and compassion--universal virtues that cross cultural, national, and racial boundaries. Those who practice Falun Gong seek to guide people to higher dimensions and spiritual enlightenment.

Falun Gong was invented by Li Hongzhi[...].

In 1992, Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Gong to a group of followers. It soon grew into a movement that became popular throughout China. Li completed the system's main book of teachings, Zhuan Falun, in 1994. In addition to describing the principles of Falun Gong, the book examines evolution, the meaning of space and time, and the mysteries of the universe.

Followers of Falun Gong perform open-air exercises designed to promote good health by harnessing and controlling a spiritual energy called qi (chee). They follow the teachings of Li Hongzhi as published in Zhuan Falun and other books, as well as on video and audio tapes and Internet sites on the World Wide Web. [...]

In 1996, Li left China to conduct classes in Falun Gong in Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 1998, he moved to New York City, which became the headquarters of the movement.

Practitioners of Falun Gong state that it is not a religion or [slanderous term] and has nothing to do with politics. They say that believers are not required to give up material possessions, work, or family life. The goal is to gradually shake off selfish desires. However, in China, the government called Falun Gong a threat to the state [Jiang's regime cannot tolerate any belief in large scale that is different from communist ideology and thus frames it to persecute].

In 1996, the Chinese government stripped Falun Gong of its legal status and protection and banned its publications. Falun Gong practitioners in China later said that they were suffering harassment from police. On April 25, 1999, a crowd of about 10,000 Falun Gong followers carried out a daylong peaceful demonstration outside the central government buildings in Beijing. The government responded on July 22, 1999, with a total ban on Falun Gong in China. It also issued an international warrant for the arrest of Li Hongzhi on charges of [Jiang regime's slanderous terms omitted]. The warrant has been ignored by the United States government and by the international police organization Interpol.

Author not available, Falun Gong. , World Book Encyclopedia (2002), 01-01-2002

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