Excerpt from Swiss newspaper, St. Gallen Daily News

ST. GALLER TAGBLATT
Excerpt from Swiss newspaper, St. Gallen Daily News, August 28th, 2001
By Martin Arnold

The Chinese meditation system Falun Gong is an item of importance even in Switzerland. Falun Gong is a meditation group, which is far flung in China, but being persecuted for quite a while now by her government. Last week a few Swiss sympathizers demonstrated in the City of Berne against the repression in China. The practitioners of Falun Gong adhere strictly to the teachings of Master Li Hongzhi. Ever more people, even in eastern Switzerland are choosing this path to gain energy for daily living. [..]

Movements for health

“ I had serious kidney problems. With the help of Chinese medicine my health has improved. With the aid of Falun Gong I am reclaiming it.” Chin-Sien-Yang, who speaks with a broad eastern Swiss dialect, says she has found in Falun Gong a way to solve her most pressing of life’s problems. […] “Those who are participating with us pay nothing. We are not even allowed to accept gifts.” Fang Zhang, who comes from Shanghai, studies in St. Gallen. She does not want to submit to an interview under her real name. Even her picture published in the newspaper could prove dangerous for her family in China. Falun Gong practitioners there are still suffering from the persecution. Fang Zhang cannot understand this. “ A Falun Gong practitioner does neither clamor for riches nor fame. Every practitioner strives to be diligent and to contribute the very best toward life.” Neither does Falun Gong have anything to do with sects in the moral-ideological realm. The most important teachings are found in the book “Zhuan Falun,” the basis for the teachings of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, tenets which are also not unheard of in occidental, Christian circles of humanity. Falun Gong combines philosophical content with meditative movements, which improve physical and mental health.

Buddhist view of the world

Members of the British Upper House therefore wrote, "Faun Gong is a completely peaceful belief system which urges its followers to strive for the highest moral ethics and behavior. These people are not only harmless; they are deeply respectable.” The philosophy of Faun Gong leans toward a Buddhist worldview, with elements of Taoism thrown in. The teachings are ancient. As all the other qigong exercises, they have been passed down over hundreds of years form one master to one pupil. In 1995, Master Li found the time right to bring out his book and bring it before the people. […] For the past few weeks, Fang Zhang has done the exercises with her group daily, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the city park of St. Gall or at the Spelterini school building.

More members than the Communist Party

[..]Over the course of over an hour, the meditating members perform five exercises. Four of those are done standing, the last one seated, in the Lotus position. Exercises three and four are fluid. Until a few years ago, even the Chinese government was enthused about Falun Gong. The movement gained fame for its beneficial effect on health and elevation of societal morals. The turning point came at the end of 1998. Prior to that the authorities conducted a secret investigation, which showed that 70 million citizens were active Falun Gong participants. By contrast, the Communist Party showed only 55 million members. [..] Chin-Sien-Yang has a similar sentiment. She is from Romanshorn and was raised Catholic. But her mother re-converted to Buddhism, which also interested her. Through friends she had been introduced to and learned about Islam. “ I like to draw inter-cultural parallels. Falun Gong has stood the test, even after thorough scrutiny.” But for that Taiwan native Falun Gong has a special meaning. The meditation exercises are signposts to heal her kidney ailment.

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