HAMBURGER MORGENPOST: Meditating for Peace

July 16, 2001

A remembrance meditation in front of the Chinese Consulate – In China, followers of this meditation practice are being brutally persecuted.

They stand at the edge of the road – eyes closed, hands gently swaying toward heaven. Cars race past. Yet, the Falun Gong practitioners appear relaxed. They are just now absorbing energy from the cosmos and rid their bodies of bad elements. And they are sending righteous thoughts toward all who suffer.[]

More than 262 practitioners of Falun Gong in China have been murdered or died as a result of severe tortures while held in custody; more than 50,000 practitioners in China have been arrested. Almost daily, Falun Gong members meet in front of the Chinese Consulate at Elbchaussee (a street name; translator) and sit in quiet meditation, to remind any and all of the plight of the practitioners in China. Some of the members sit throughout the night. Their “SOS-action” is carried out in 50 different countries around the world and is a peaceful attempt to awaken the world community toward human rights abuses so rampant in China.

“Falun Gong is forbidden there, although it is a completely non-political meditation system,” declares a woman. The thirty-five-year old businesswoman and organizer of this quiet demonstration event relates how almost all of those who practice this system of Falun Gong achieve positive results from the Tai Chi-like exercises. “Before I practiced this system I suffered from anemia and everything upset my stomach,” she said. “Since practicing Falun Gong, I am robustly healthy, more balanced and can feel the energy all throughout my body.”

The group sat down in the lotus position, lifts the right hand toward the chest, fingers upward and remains in that posture for ten minutes. The cassette recorder emits soft music, meditative sounds and sonorous voices. “Over 70 million people in China practice this system of Falun gong,” she says. “ Such huge popularity apparently made the government uneasy. They could not stand it to see the numbers of practitioners exceeding the numbers of those registered in the ruling Chinese party.”

The meditation system was banned in China as of April 1999, although prior to that time, the Chinese government had heaped this system with high praise, a system whose chief tenets consist of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Suddenly, the police became brutally aggressive toward Falun Gong and its practitioners. Tens of thousands of them were arrested and beaten; their homes were plundered; millions of legally produced and published Falun Gong books were publicly burned. In an effort to eradicate, slander and discredit Falun Gong, the government propaganda machine created a campaign of hatred and misinformation.

Heinz-Hermann Leist has practiced for six months and had this to say: “More than 600 practitioners in China are secretly incarcerated in psychiatric institutions and another group, at least ten thousand, are being brutally tortured in Re-Education-through-Labor camps. Over 262 have already succumbed.” The 47-year-old citizen of Hamburg hopes that the sit-ins in front of the consulates and the appeals by countries in the West and their politicians will no longer fall on deaf ears in the power corridors of Beijing.

“In Falun Gong there are no churches; we don’t venerate anyone nor pray to anyone. All instructions are given by volunteers and are free of charge. This systematic persecution in China is a clear violation against human rights.” Since mingling in political affairs or acts of violence are against the teachings of Falun Gong, the Hamburg followers cannot do anything more but explain the truth and appeal for the restoration of human rights.

And so the group at Elbchaussee returns to the “arrow position,” (Shuangshou Chong’guan), puts their hands above their heads, closes their eyes and then turns the Buddhist law wheel with their hands.

Laura Brauer

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