Article from Finnish newspaper “Hämeen Sanomat”: Falun Gong Acts Against the Persecution with Weapons of Spirituality

10.8.2003

Polite Chinese lady Jiang Hong is convinced that Falun Gong is good for the health and the mind. She is from Beijing. This practitioner left China, where Falun Gong is banned. “In 1999 Jiang Zemin initiated an attack against Falun Gong. Police detained many of my friends in prison in Beijing, because they wanted to tell the truth about Falun Gong.”

Five people with yellow t-shirts have come to Hämeenlinna market place to tell the truth about Falun Gong, because the Chinese government is trying to spread a false image of the practise, even in Finland. The practitioners [of Falun Gong] say that they are here so that people will not be affected by the Chinese government propaganda.

Three Principles

Practitioners of Falun Gong don’t say that it is a movement; instead they say that Falun Gong is a spiritual practice. Falun Gong emphasizes that there are no organisation or membership lists. Falun Gong also does not collect money or accept donations.

“Falun Gong is a spiritual practice, a cultivation practice. This name comes from the Chinese language. However, it is more than just a practice. It is cultivating oneself to become a better person.”

The practitioner adds that Falun Gong does not have any interest in politics, nor is it a religion, even if there are similarities with religions. Worshipping, rituals or places of worship are not included.

Falun Gong has five simple, smooth exercises. It is said that the exercises purify the energy channels in one’s body. The practice also includes a meditation. The principle is to follow Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance in one’s daily life. According to practitioners, Falun Gong is actually about striving to behave better 24 hours a day and to consider other people before one’s own desires and intentions.

“When a problem shows up, one thinks about their own faults. This is the best thing in Falun Gong,” one practitioner explains.

Two Choices

Falun Gong or Falun Dafa was brought to the public in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, who is currently living in the US. But the method goes back to ancient China. In the beginning, the Chinese government supported Falun Gong, and many members of the Communist Party were also practising it. In 1999, things changed when President Jiang Zemin banned Falun Gong.

Only then has the name of Falun Gong come to be known in the west. In news reports, groups of demonstrators sat on Tiananmen Square, but did not last long. The police arrested them and forbade them from demonstrating publicly.

Practitioner Jiang Hong recalls that the Chinese government try to give Falun Gong practitioner’s two choices: either sign a piece of paper, on which they swear to give up Falun Gong, or be sent to a prison or forced labour camp. “I wish to continue practising Falun Gong, so I left China. Previously, I had a heart disease, but after practising Falun Gong, there were no longer any illness.”

Continuous Police Monitoring

Hong has also talked about how her friends have been cured from many illnesses and have also been persecuted. One Peking university professor had heart disease, sleeping problems and an eye disease. He couldn’t even ride a bicycle. Now the ailments are all gone. Police are still monitoring him at all times. Police arrested him on Tiananmen Square. He can’t stay at home, and needs to stay in a different place every night. He is retired, but he cannot access his pension. This is just one story that Jiang Hong has told about the persecution.

Officially, China denies that Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted. As a result, when a student named Wang Jie came to Finland and heard about the persecution for the first time, she couldn’t understand why this was happening in her homeland.

The Gestapo is watching

Human rights reports from Amnesty and the UN use clear and direct language to describe the persecution of Falun Gong in China. People are put into prisons, tortured, and killed. According to information from Falun Gong, more than 2000 people have been tortured to death [Ed. note – the official death toll on Falun Dafa websites is 773 practitioners, whilst in 2001 Chinese government figures placed the number of deaths at 1,600], hundreds of thousands have been sent to labour camps and 1000 have been forced into mental hospitals. Jiang Zemin banned Falun Gong in 1999. It is thought that the reason for the ban and the persecution is that the Chinese government started to see Falun Gong as a threat, after it had more supporters than the Communist Party. A special Gestapo type office, (the 610 office) was thus created for dealing with Falun Gong.

Jiang Zemin has never said why Falun Gong is being persecuted, even though he has been asked this many times, a practitioner explains. If we didn’t tell people about the persecution of Falun Gong, the Chinese government could do whatever they want to people. This is a question of human rights. It is said that there are around 100 million practitioners, but specific numbers are not known, for there are no name lists. Falun Gong came to Finland in 1998.

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