“The most gratifying thing to us is that we stood side by side with Falun Gong during the nearly eight years of the persecution!” said Zhong Wei Guang, after China Free Culture Movement awarded “2007 Special Spiritual Belief Award” in April to Falun Gong. Zhong Wei Guang is an expert in contemporary studies of totalitarianism and one of the founders of China Free Culture Movement. From not knowing anything about Falun Gong to giving an award to Falun Gong, what kind of emotional journey has he undertaken?
Question: With regards to belief, in your opinion what signs of the belief of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” are apparent in Falun Gong practitioners, other than the fact that they seem to be of one mind?
Zhong: What impresses me most is that Falun Gong practitioners can get rid of the party culture incredibly fast. I myself started the awakening in the seventies when I gradually saw the anti-human nature of the Communist Party. But it was a slow process to change my way of thinking and language habits. It took me nearly twenty years to finally rid myself of the “fake, big and empty” words or thoughts and all the anti-human stuff.
For example, songs that we are most familiar with in mainland, such as “Party, My Mother,” “The Great Party, you are like a mountain” etc, are full of these “fake, big and empty” words. In the mainland, even if you do not especially listen to or sing this stuff, the party culture that causally enters your ears or mind will unconsciously change your way of thinking. It will then naturally come out through the way you talk or do things. To my surprise, it took many Falun Gong practitioners only three to four years to change completely.
Once, I was chatting with a practitioner when he enlightened me as to the reason why they managed to change so fast. It was because they changed their beliefs, which would bring about the changes in morals, language, habits and everything.
Question: In April this year, the China Free Culture Movement you and some overseas Chinese scholars initiated gave the “2007 Special Spiritual Belief Award” to Falun Gong. This was the first award from the Chinese people that Falun Gong received since the beginning of the persecution. Why would the China Free Culture Movement do this?
Zhong: First of all, after 1999 as an intellectual I quickly saw the spiritual connotation and the meaning Falun Gong brought to the Chinese society. Additionally, I realised that Falun Gong practitioners are dissolving the party culture, which ushered in a new culture, a new moral system to the Chinese society.
In my opinion this should have been the task of the “intellectual elite” of the Chinese society the scholars. But the Chinese scholars failed to form a group or initiate a movement to jumpstart the pursuit of new anti totalitarianism culture and new morals.
I said already when China Free Culture Movement was first formed in November 2006, we had Falun Gong practitioners to thank for the atmosphere that they created for us and the first steps that they took. From 2003-2004, especially since the publication of the Epoch Times editorial the “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” Falun Gong practitioners laid solid ground work for the Chinese scholars to walk out of the party culture and to start a free new culture.
We could see that Falun Gong practitioners have made huge efforts to search for the free spirit. They have contributed a great deal to Chinese history, even to the history of mankind. We felt that at the start of the China Free Culture Movement, we ought to express our gratitude to Falun Gong practitioners. As scholars we wanted to express our appreciation for Falun Gong’s determination in the pursuit of spiritual freedom. Therefore we decided to give the award to Falun Gong.
Question: At the award ceremony in April, Teacher Li Hongzhi sent his own words of commemoration, “Resurrect Chinese divine culture,” to China Free Culture Movement. What is your understanding of these words?
Zhong: The meaning is immense and deeply enlightening even to us scholars. For example in the past half a century, Chinese scholars considered the Chinese tradition non-religious. Now we could see that was wrong. The Falun Gong pursuit told us that the Chinese tradition is profoundly religious. In the past Chinese scholars regarded the Chinese tradition as having nothing to do with beliefs or deities. But Teacher Li Hongzhi told us, wrong, the Chinese tradition has deities and was given by gods.
Also it is my view that these words from Teacher Li, the founder of Falun Gong, and Falun Gong practitioners’ pursuit of freedom of belief ought to make us scholars, who have walked the so-called path of anti-tradition since “5.4,” look inwards at ourselves. It is a long road ahead. And there is a lot more reflection to be done to clear our heads.
Question: What do you think about the future of Falun Gong?
Zhong: When the CCP started persecuting Falun Gong in 1999, Falun Gong was misunderstood everywhere. Even newspapers overseas borrowed the so-called “cult” labelling by the CCP as they did not know about Falun Gong. But after eight years of persecution, everyone saw that Falun Gong has flourished with growing influences in the world, especially in the west.
Due to CCP’s brutal persecution, mainland China can not see the flourishing side of Falun Gong right now. But it is apparent that there are hundreds and thousands of people inside China that are secretly practicing as well as clarifying the facts about Falun Gong. As a result, it is impossible for the CCP to eradicate Falun Gong. The persecution of Falun Gong has indeed dug the CCP’s own grave. Everybody can see that.
Moreover, through eight years of efforts, Falun Gong practitioners have planted the seeds of traditional Chinese morals deeply into the society. Many overseas Chinese have started to take a fresh look at Falun Gong, which I know well being overseas. This is the reason why Falun Gong can not be clamped down upon. Rather, it will definitely flourish as it stems from the Chinese tradition.
Finally, the fact that millions of Falun Gong practitioners took the initiatives to rebuild morals has laid a solid foundation to prepare for the disintegration of the CCP in China, which will prevent China from a huge collapse or moral chaos. I firmly believe that after the CCP downfall, Falun Gong will come into full play in stabilising all aspects of the society. On this point, as a Chinese national my expectation of Falun Gong is very high.
Question: What would you like to say to the Chinese people?
Zhong: I have a few words for the Chinese. First, I hope Chinese scholars as well as young people can make their own judgements after first hand experience getting in touch with Falun Gong, reading Falun Gong books, and getting to know some practitioners. Do not rashly believe in the government or propaganda in the newspaper. Secondly, question your frame of thinking in the past. Do not look at Falun Gong through the glasses that the CCP gave you. Only this way can you see more clearly what Falun Gong practitioners are.
Question: The “Glasses that the CCP gave” is it the party culture that we just talked about?
Zhong: That’s right. From my own experience, those of us from the mainland do not have any idea that we have the party culture or are wearing a pair of tinted glasses. In fact every one of us is influenced by the party culture. For example, you believe in materialism, you are an atheist. Growing up in that kind of environment, we all feel that this is natural and right. But none of it is natural. We ought to rethink exactly what’s what.
When you put aside your own conventional thinking and think for the other person, you can understand the other person a lot better. Hypothetically, if you were a Falun Gong practitioner, if there was really a god in this world, how would it be? You will see a big change this way.
Finally, those who attack Falun Gong sometimes accuse practitioners for not doing this or that well. But in my opinion, following the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance,” every Falun Gong practitioner has the ability and is slowly but surely getting rid of bad things in him or herself.
I encourage those who attack Falun Gong to calmly think about some fundamental issues. One, we are against the CCP’s persecution; Two, when those who make efforts for their beliefs are bullied, we should support their pursuit of beliefs. We should not waver on these two points no matter when.
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