Clarification of Specific Allegations

There have been numerous allegations made by the Chinese government whose sole aim has been to discredit Falun Gong. To provide credit to these claims, the state-controlled media and officials have fabricated all kinds of cases and statistics. Some are straightforward, blatant fabrications, some are complete misrepresentations of the truth and others were created through corruption, bribery, and threats. All of them are fake. There are countless reports, which expose specific “cases” as being lies and fabrication. Not one of the Chinese government’s claims about Falun Gong has been independently verified. None of these claims have been observed outside China. Quite the contrary, the observations of Falun Gong outside China have been very positive. Please see the reference section at the end of this category for further information.

The Issue of Taking Medicine

The Jiang regime has repeatedly claimed that the founder of Falun Gong, Mr Li Hongzhi, has forbidden practitioners from taking medicine or that the teachings of Falun Gong forbid taking medicine. This is absolutely not true.

Mr Li has clearly stated that the goal of Falun Gong is not to heal one’s ailments. In the most widely read Falun Gong book, Zhuan Falun, Mr Li states, “I do not talk about healing illness here, and neither will we heal illnesses here.” He has also emphasised that seriously ill people should go to the hospital without delay.

“Some sources claim that I forbid people to take medicine. Actually, that is absolutely untrue. I have simply explained the relationship between cultivation practice and taking medication. I have enabled more than 100 million people to achieve health. Countless terminally ill patients have recovered and have become healthy. This is a fact. As for those who are critically ill or mentally ill, I have always advised them to not learn Falun Gong. Yet some people nonetheless insisted on learning it without my knowledge. In that case, is it fair to call this kind of individual who died of his own illness my disciple? I have never heard that people who are not being taken care of do not die just because they have learned a few exercise movements. Then, just because hospitals are able to treat illnesses, does that mean that there should not be anyone dying in hospitals?” Li Hongzhi (A Brief Statement of Mine, July 1999)

Many people have been attracted to Falun Gong because of its healing capacities. It is true that the by-product of practising Falun Gong is improved health. As a result of this, many people no longer need to take medication. A health survey of 12,731 practitioners in Beijing in 1998 revealed a disease improvement rate of 99.1%, and a cure rate of 58.5%.The improvement rate was 80.3% in physical health and 96.5% in mental health. In a second survey of 584 practitioners, also in Beijing in 1998, 96.5% reported that their disease symptoms had disappeared or been much reduced.


1400 alleged cases of death through refusal to accept medical treatment.

The issue of refusing to accept medical treatment has been dealt with above.

“Some people want to damage (Falun Gong) and on the issue of taking medicine they say “we’re not allowed to take medicine once we start practising this system”, I do not as a matter of fact, forbid you to take medicine” Mr Li Hongzhi, Lecture, New York, 1997

The Chinese authorities have not been able to provide evidence to substantiate such statistics. They originally claimed 743 deaths, then 1400. Many of these cases have been clearly revealed as fabrications. In terms of research into causes of death, attributing clear causes takes a great deal of painstaking research and statistical analysis, and is not something which can be rashly concluded on the basis of anecdotal, unsubstantiated reports. Let us consider the Chinese government’s case on its own terms. For the sake of argument we will imagine that 1400 deaths somehow occurred in 1999 (though this is actually a seven year total). Let us suppose, as claimed by the Chinese government, that all Falun Gong practitioners cannot take medicine. Therefore, it is fair to say that any practitioner’s death in 1999 should have been included in this “1400” figure. The next supposition is that 70 million people practised Falun Gong in China at the time of the ban (according to official government census). This means that the mortality rate for Falun Gong practitioners was 0.02 in 1999. This is bearing in mind that many of them were elderly and normally death and illness rates are considerably higher in this segment of the population. The age adjusted mortality rate for China in 1998 was 6.50 per 100,000 people. If the same mortality rate were to be assumed for 70 million people who practised Falun Gong in 1999, one would anticipate an astounding 455,000 deaths. According to the Chinese authorities’ line of argument, this means that Falun Gong, in reality, saved lives!

Please consider if Falun Gong were in fact a practice that caused either death or the deterioration of health, it would disappear without a ban. Instead, the reverse occurred. Without any publicity this practice had in seven years gained 100 million adherents worldwide.

Date of Birth Issue

Some have claimed that Mr Li changed his date of birth from July 7 1952 to May 13 1951, so that he could claim to be a reincarnation of Buddha Sakyamuni (the founder of Buddhism).

During the "Cultural Revolution" in China the whole country was in great disarray. Many records were lost or replaced. It was quite common to have someone's date of birth and other personal data recorded incorrectly in one's residence file in the workplace or in the local police station. Mr Li's case was just one of many. Anyone who has knowledge of the bureaucratic system in China would know that this is all very common

Mr Li later had the error corrected. It is usually a long and troublesome process to change any information in one's residence records because the police need to search through personal records and sometimes they interview the applicant's family members. In other words, Mr Li could not correct his date of birth without proof and the approval of the government record office.

Furthermore, Mr Li has never claimed to be a reincarnation of Buddha Sakyamuni. Besides, many millions of people were born on that day, maybe some criminals, so there is nothing unusual about May 13th 1951 except that it was indeed Mr Li's date of birth.

Killings and Suicides

There have been various claims by the Jiang regime that Falun Gong has lead to suicides and killings. Anyone who has read the books of Falun Gong, or listened to Mr Li's lectures will be only too aware that a true practitioner of Falun Gong would never commit such violent and destructive actions. Mr Li has clearly said that killing and suicide are sins. Furthermore, Falun Gong cultivates the principle of Compassion. Taking one's life or that of others would be completely against this basic tenet of the practice. Genuine practitioners would feel very sad to learn of suicides or murders.

Mental Illness

The Jiang regime has claimed that Falun Gong induces mental disorders. This dramatic claim is irresponsible and deceptive. The causes of mental illness are closely debated in the community of psychologists and psychiatrists. To claim that one can become mentally ill from practising any form of meditation and gentle exercises or from reading the books of Falun Gong is completely unscientific and unsubstantiated, and denies all common sense and rationality.

A common experience of those who practise Falun Gong is a reduction in stress levels and increased peace of mind and mental clarity. It is known that stress levels can cause mental illness. Practitioners learn to take the stresses and strains of modern day living more and more lightly, thus becoming more and more free of stress and less and less likely to become mentally ill. Mr Li Hongzhi advocates that one's mind should be clean and clear and that one's mind should be tranquil whilst practising the exercises. Therefore, how could consciously working on improving one's moral standard, reducing one's stress levels, and practising tranquil exercises lead to insanity?

Falun Gong encourages people to have greater self-control, which is the opposite to the experience of those suffering from mental illnesses. Indeed, people with mental illnesses are advised not to practise Falun Gong. Mr Li has stated that patients with severe mental illness (psychosis) are forbidden from attending his classes or practising Falun Gong as their minds are not balanced and they are unable to control themselves. One strict requirement of Falun Gong is that one should have both mental and physical self-control. However as Falun Gong is not a formal organisation with control over practitioners, anybody could, therefore, take up the practice of Falun Gong. Given that there are about 16 million mentally ill patients in China, how can it be expected that none of these people decided to take up the practice?

There is clear evidence that Falun Gong practitioners, who are not mentally ill, are being detained in mental hospitals and being subject to torture and abuse of psychiatric methods. An estimated 1000 Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to such treatment. Disturbingly, this fact has then subsequently been twisted by the Jiang regime to give credit to their claims.


Cult

Falun Gong is not a “cult.” Cults dominate all aspects of their members’ lives, negatively controlling their minds and bodies. Members surrender all material goods, both to enrich the cult itself and to render the cultists completely dependent. Cults typically live communally, with members being deprived of sleep and food, all the while being brainwashed with the cult’s doctrine. All Falun Gong activities are free and entirely voluntary. Practitioners lead normal lives, with their own families in their own homes and hold all kinds of ordinary jobs. They are integrated members of everyday society. When doing the exercises and meditation, practitioners are advised to practise under the control of their main consciousness. This means, unlike other meditation practices, you do not go into trance but are clear-minded, aware and in charge of yourself. In cults, members are pressurised to bring in money. Falun Gong is not involved in any such activities. No one is forced or obliged to practise. Cultivation is of one’s own free will.

End of the World Theory

There have been accusations that Mr Li has been an advocate of “doomsday theories.”

On the contrary, he said on numerous occasions that the so-called “end of the world” does not exist, and that anyone who promotes such ideas is irresponsible and harmful to society.

Mr Li Hongzhi made the following statement on 29 March 1998 in response to such rumour- mongering : “There are some crooked religions that are spreading. All of them teach about the end of the world – they all talk about these things. Of course, I have said that catastrophes do exist. Buddhism also believes in them and Christianity, Catholicism, and Taoism share the same viewpoint as well. This is the law of the universe’s evolution, but it is absolutely not like what those wicked religions have professed … I can proclaim here to everyone in all earnestness that all of those alleged catastrophes on earth, the doom of the universe, and things of this sort in the year 1999, are absolutely non-existent. Why would there be catastrophes?”

Issue of Making a Fortune

There have been various allegations that Mr Li made a fortune from his teaching of Falun Gong. This is absolutely not true. The fact is that Mr Li’s lectures in China were several times cheaper than those of other Qigong masters, and they were all given under the auspices of the China Qigong Association, an official government agency. Actually, most of the income from the lectures had to go to the Association and to covering costs. In addition, since 1995, when the practice became popular and the demand for lectures was high, he stopped giving lectures. His books were also among the cheapest and all of them are available on the Internet for free down loading. Due to pressure in China, Mr Li moved to the US and he lives in the Queens area of New York and has given lectures for free. Actually, he has never charged a penny for the many lectures he has given around the world since 1996. This is in contrast to the practice of other Qigong masters who can charge up to 1000 dollars for a ticket to a seminar. If he really wanted to earn money from this cultivation practice, he could charge large sums of money for conferences and classes. He could also charge more for his books, as he earns his modest living from the royalties. It should be noted, too, that he does not receive royalties from the books sold in China as the Chinese authorities banned the books years ago. He could also simply charge each practitioner one dollar and would easily become a multi-millionaire. The fact that he has done none of these things shows that he is not interested in making money. In reality, the teaching of Falun Gong is free to the public.

Anti-science

Whilst Master Li has recognised the limitations of modern science, he is not “anti-science” in any sense whatsoever. References to science form part of the explanation and evidence for some of the principles behind the practice. Master Li himself refers to Falun Gong as an “extraordinary science.”

Zhongnanhai Incident

On April 25, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners showed up in an orderly fashion at Zhong-Nan-Hai, the Chinese leadership’s compound in Beijing. In a very peaceful manner, they appealed to the government to provide a free and legitimate environment for them to practise Falun Gong. Since it happened at Zhong-Nan-Hai, people refer to it as the Zhong-Nan-Hai incident. This incident became an instant focus for the whole world because it happened at the most sensitive place in China, and because of the unusually calm and peaceful manner the Falun Gong practitioners maintained throughout this incident. The Chinese government has made many acusations regarding this incident, so presented below is a detailled report:

The Zhong-Nan-Hai incident was triggered by the Tianjin incident, where He Zuoxiu from the Chinese Science Academy published an article entitled “I do not agree with adolescents practicing Qigong”, in Science Magazine (published by Tianjin Education College). In the article, he fabricated stories about Falun Gong leading to mental illness, and implied that Falun Gong could become an organization similar to the Boxers’, who led a rebellion in the 19th century that destroyed the nation. His false accusations were untrue and hurt the feelings of many Falun Gong practitioners. With no alternative, some practitioners used the government-approved approach of appealing to related organizations to correct the false accusations. This right is protected by Chinese law. Therefore, practitioners went to Tianjin Education College and other related offices on April 18 1999 to report the true situation of Falun Gong.

It was totally unexpected that the Tianjin Public Security Bureau showed up. They refused to communicate with practitioners appropriately. Instead, they sent people to beat some of the practitioners. On April 23, they started to disperse and detain people, which eventually blocked the only channel Falun Gong practitioners had for reporting the truth to the government. Practitioners turned to Beijing on April 25 to plead to a higher authority. They asked for the release of innocent people, for a legitimate and free exercising environment and to ease the pressure that had been put on Falun Gong practitioners for a long time. He Zuoxiu showed up during the day trying to provoke the practitioners; but no one responded to him.

According to a witness, on the evening of April 24, some practitioners working in the Public Security department had already submitted their name cards to Zhong-Nan-Hai, asking for a chance to report the situation. There was no response. At 9 p.m., practitioners started to gather on Fuyou Street near Zhong-Nan-Hai, some with luggage, some with meditation mats. Most of them were from cities outside of Beijing.

At 6 am on April 25, a witness went to the north entrance of Fuyou Street, and discovered that policemen were blocking the way to Zhong-Nan-Hai. None of the practitioners attempted to force their way through. But they witnessed an astonishing scene. Police first led the practitioners from the east side of the street to the west side, and then directed them to march south towards Zhong-Nan-Hai. Meanwhile, another group came from the opposite direction, and both groups met right outside the main entrance of Zhong-Nan-Hai. According to the media, there were over 10,000 practitioners gathered outside Zhong-Nan-Hai.

Soon there were practitioners approaching from all directions. They filled all the pavements outside of Zhong-Nan-Hai. But the traffic was not blocked at all, even the route for the handicapped people remained clear. There were 70 and 80 year old elderly people, pregnant women who were close to delivering and mothers holding their new born babies. Many of them hardly ate any food or drank any water to reduce the time needed to use the toilet. No one knew where others came from. They "came from nowhere, disappeared to nowhere."

Practitioners did not wander the streets, did not have any slogans or banners and did not start any fights. In China, pleading to the government does not require a permit from the Public Security Bureau. Every practitioner only represented himself. They came to report the mistreatment that they and their friends had been experiencing. They did not violate any laws or regulations. Since practitioners thought that they had achieved the goal of expressing their concerns and seeking understanding and support from the government, they quietly dispersed at 11:30 p.m. (4/26, Central Daily).


References

Mr Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, released the following statement on July 22, 1999, in response to the Chinese government's announcement of a nation-wide crackdown on Falun Gong.

A Brief Statement of Mine

"Falun Gong is simply a popular qigong activity. It does not have any particular organization, let alone any political objectives. We have never been involved in any anti-government activities. I am a cultivator myself, and I have never been destined to be involved in political power. I am just teaching people how to practice cultivation. If one wants to practice qigong well, he/she must be a person of high moral standards. In actuality, I have achieved this -- more than 100 million people have become good people, or be even better people. As a matter of fact, I had not intended to do this, but when the morality of cultivators is upgraded, it really has brought benefits to society.

"Some sources claim that I forbid people to take medicine. Actually, that is absolutely untrue. I have simply explained the relationship between cultivation practice and taking medication. I have enabled more than 100 million people to achieve health. Countless terminally ill patients have recovered and have become healthy. This is a fact. As for those who are critically ill or mentally ill, I have always advised them to not learn Falun Gong. Yet some people nonetheless insisted on learning it without my knowledge. In that case, is it fair to call this kind of individual who died of his own illness my disciple? I have never heard that people who are not being taken care of do not die just because they have learned a few exercise movements. Then, just because hospitals are able to treat illnesses, does that mean that there should not be anyone dying in hospitals?

"Some people spread rumors that I changed my date of birth, and this is true. During the Cultural Revolution, the government misprinted my date of birth. What I did was simply to change the misprinted date of birth to the correct one. As for the fact that Sakyamuni was also born on this day, what does that have to do with me? Many other people were also born on this day. In addition, I have never claimed that I am Sakyamuni.

"With regard to the issue of practitioners gathering at Zhongnanhai in Beijing to present the facts, I was on my way to Australia and was changing planes in Beijing. I departed without knowing at all what took place in Beijing. I always travel alone in order to avoid inconvenience. I do not get in touch with local practitioners wherever I go because there would be many people hoping to see me. As a result, I was not aware of what was going on in Beijing.
"We are not against the government now, nor will we be in the future. Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies.
"We are calling for all governments, international organizations, and people of goodwill worldwide to extend their support and assistance to us in order to resolve the present crisis that is taking place in China. At present, my mother and sister are still in Beijing, and they are in a difficult situation. It has been said that police intend to detain them. Some reports said that policemen have beaten up many people in Shenyang, Dalian, and in other areas. I am asking the Chinese government to not treat them this way. It is my hope that the Chinese government and its leadership will not treat the people who practice Falun Gong as enemies. Chinese people throughout the country have a very in-depth understanding of Falun Gong, and the consequences would cause people to lose confidence in the government and its leadership and to be disappointed in the Chinese government. "

Li Hongzhi
July 22, 1999


Asian Wall Street Journal, December 14 1999, Editorial, Falun Dafa and Freedom of Speech

The application of the term cult usually implies broad public disapproval of a group’s behaviour and there are indeed cases where cults pose a threat to others, as the experience of Japan with Aum Shinrikyo shows. Cult leaders often take advantage of their members, using mind control techniques or physical and mental abuse. Even free societies often see some need to bring anti-social groups of this type under control, although as Waco case in the U.S. demonstrated some years ago, such attempts are subject to grievious error.

Falun Dafa does not fit the five criteria of a dangerous cult drawn up by experienced anti-cult groups: (1) an authoritarian power structure, (2) messianic leadership, (3) deception in recruiting, (4) isolation from society and (5) use of mind control techniques. There is as yet no convincing evidence that Falun Dafa poses a threat to anybody, including its own members. So the preservation of religious freedom demands that it gets the benefit of the doubt.

As for the stream of unconvincing propaganda coming out of China about the Falun Dafa, Beijing¹s real motive is easy to understand: social control. Any group that demands strong allegiance, whether it is an unauthorized Christian church or the Falun Dafa, threatens the leadership of the Communist Party and so must be quickly brought under the control of the Party. If it refuses to submit, it is crushed.

The Guardian, 30 October 1999:
The Falun Gong.... has no political agenda, no hierarchical structures, and no leaders other than its exiled master, Li Hongzhi. It is certainly not a cult. Falun Gong¹s sole aim is to be able to practise its beliefs in peace.

“Appealing” is a right protected by Chinese law. According to Item 41 in the People’s Republic of China Constitution, citizens have the right to submit criticism of and suggestions for any national institutions and staff. Citizens have the right to appeal to, file suit, or speak up to national institutions regarding any conduct of institutions or staff that violates the law or fails to fulfill responsibilities. It is stated in the 10th Code of the Chinese Appealing Codes that issues in the appealing process should be submitted to related executive departments or to one level higher as these departments have the legal right to make decisions.

Hai Tao, of Voice of America, reported from Los Angeles: Since the Chinese government started to crackdown on Falun Gong in July 1999, all state-run media agencies have started to attack Falun Gong, its founder and its key members. On November 28 1999, a special report authored by Li Xin-gang was published in the newspaper Xi-an Worker. The article “reported” that Zhi-wen Zhang, who was a lady living in the Wei-nan region of Shan-xi Province, burned her six month old daughter and then committed suicide by setting herself on fire, protesting the government’s crackdown on Falun Gong. This report made a stir throughout the country and was re-printed by many newspapers in Shen-zhen, Harbin, Shanghai and other places. The Hong Kong Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy conducted an investigation and found out that the report was a total fabrication. The Center said, by quoting Chinese officials, that the people, location, time and the story were all fabricated. An official in the Wei-nan Communist Political and Law Committee of Shan-xi Province named Wu testified that there was absolutely no self-immolation event and,moreover, there did not exist a lady named Zhi-wen Zhang at all. In addition, many news agencies in China called them for verification and got the same answer.


UN International Educational Development 15. 08. 2001 in Geneva:
„In our statement under item 3 we described the Falun Gong practice as we have found it to be. The government, in exercise of the right to reply, attempted to justify its State terrorism against the group by calling it an evil cult that has caused deaths and the break-up of families.
In our investigation, the only deaths have been at the hands of the Chinese authorities; families have been broken up because family members have been killed by the regime; people have been broken down, not by Falun Gong but by extreme torture, incarceration in mental hospitals with brutal treatment, hard labour in labour camps and other such practices. As was reported in the International Herald Tribune on August 6, 2001, the regime admits that it has officially sanctioned violence against practitioners in order to wipe out Falun Gong.

The regime points to a supposed self-immolation incident in Tien-amin Square on January 23, 2001 as proof that Falun Gong is an "evil cult." However, we have obtained a video of that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government.“

- International Educational Development

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