Why is the Chinese government persecuting Falun Gong?

Why is the Chinese government persecuting Falun Gong?

Although Falun Gong is a peaceful, spiritual practice without any formal organization, property or membership, Chinese President Jiang Zemin banned the practice in China on July 20th, 1999. What has followed over the last two years is the violent persecution of millions of Chinese citizens. Why did President Jiang Zemin launch the ban and direct the persecution over the last two years?

Here are some reasons for the unwarranted crackdown on Falun Gong provided by most analysts and China specialists:
1. The popularity of the practice: Falun Gong practitioners outnumbered the Chinese Communist Party.

Falun Gong was first introduced to the public on May 13, 1992. By the end of 1998, by the Chinese government's own estimate, there were 70 - 100 million people in China who had taken up the practice. Falun Gong had become "the largest voluntary organization in China, larger even than the Communist party." (U.S. News and World Report February 1999 issue)

2. Party officials scapegoat Falun Gong to gain politically
As economic and technological developments have become top priorities for China as a nation, many government officials who specialize in political propaganda and ideological battles will engender political unrest to provide them with a "cause" to gain political power. Falun Gong was made a scapegoat for this purpose. The propaganda was released through government-run media to defame Falun Gong and its founder from June 1996, and escalated to the mobilization of police and the use of physical violence in Tianjin on April 23, 1999. The development and escalation of the Falun Gong persecution actually happened over a period of three or four years.

3. Totalitarian Paranoia: Suspicious that there might be a hidden "mastermind" behind Falun Gong, Chinese President utilizes persecution to demonstrate political muscle
On April 25, 1999, over ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners held a peaceful gathering at the China's State Council Appeal Office to appeal to the Central Government for the release of the citizens arbitrarily detained by police in Tianjin over the previous two days. China's Premier Zhu Rongji personally came out to meet with practitioners and the situation was resolved peacefully. Despite this, Chinese President Jiang Zemin authored and circulated documents to other government officials stating his belief that some political rival or "mastermind" within the Communist Party's top leaders was behind Falun Gong.
Consequently, Jiang equated his ability to "eradicate Falun Gong" with his ability to remain in power, and initiated the crackdown.

As CNN's Willy Lam reported a Communist Party veteran providing his analysis: "By unleashing a Mao-style movement [against Falun Gong], Jiang is forcing senior cadres to pledge allegiance to his line. This will boost Jiang's authority-and may give him enough momentum to enable him to dictate events at the pivotal 16th Communist Party congress next year."

Another reason for the continuing persecution
Jiang Zemin is afraid of three words: Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, which are the basic principles of Falun Gong practice.

Why is this?

He is afraid of Truthfulness because his campaign against Falun Gong is based on propaganda which are lies and fabrications and he is scared that these will be revealed.
He is afraid of Compassion because he has sanctioned that cruelty and torture be used against Falun Gong practitioners and he is scared that this brutal behaviour will be exposed.

He is afraid of Forbearance as his regime does not tolerate anyone thinking differently from him particularly those who wish to follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

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