Asked Questions About Falun Gong
many people have been affected by Jiang Zemin's persecution against Falun Gong?
Since the leader of China, Jiang
Zemin, began the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in 1999:
people practiced Falun Gong in 1998, but lost that right when Jiang banned it
Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been
illegally arrested and detained.
More than 500 have been sentenced
to prison terms of up to 18 years.
More than 1,000 have been
forced into mental hospitals, an act condemned by World Psychiatric Association.
Over 100,000 have been illegally sent to labor camps without trials.
At least 3124deaths through police torture have been
confirmed, with government sources inside China disclosing that
the actual number exceeds 1,600.
What is Falun Gong?
Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and
meditation. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Persons
who practice regularly find it to bring them better health, reduced stress, inner
peace, and deepened morals. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread
by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Falun Gong is practiced by
over 100 million people in 40 countries.
more information about the practice of Falun Gong, please visit FalunDafa.org.
is Mr. Li Hongzhi?
Hongzhi is the founder and teacher of Falun Gong. He introduced the practice to
the general public in China in 1992. In keeping with Chinese tradition, Li is
often respectfully referred to as "Master" or "Teacher," but
he is not accorded special treatment, nor does he accept money or donations from
students of Falun Gong. Li has given lectures on Falun Gong in many countries,
including Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. For his contributions
to humanity he has been given over 400 honors and awards, and is a two-time Nobel
Peace Prize nominee.
Gong a religion?
Falun Gong is not an institutional
religion, as it does not have a professional and lay distinction; formal means
of initiation; a formal creed; a religious calendar of observation; or devotional
practices of worship, etc. The practice does, however, have a deeply spiritual
doctrine and set of beliefs, and it does share in the same aspirations as groups
more formally identified as religions, i.e., the cultivation of ones moral
self, the impulse to do good, a deepening of ones understanding of a greater
order in the universe, the will to spiritual perfection, etc. Falun Gong does
have a set, standardized textual body of teachings. In this sense, as religion
or spiritual practice is understood as a broader category in the West,
Falun Gong qualifies.
In China, Falun Gong did not identify
itself as a form of religious practice, owing to different associations with the
term in the context of China. Furthermore, to be identified as such would have
been to incur government monitoring, increased regulation, and risk of disbandment.
(House Church Protestants in China who do not join official, state-run
Patriotic Churches are subjected to persecution for their religiosity,
In the democratic West, however, where religions
and religious beliefs are protected by law and carefully enshrined rights, the
matter is of course different, and Falun Gong does not object to identification
as a religious entity.
is the Chinese government persecuting Falun Gong?
Gong is a group that simply grew too large for the communist leadership's liking;
its 70-million-plus practitioners in China far outnumbered communist party members.
The persecution was ordered by communist dictator Jiang Zemin, who feared losing
control over people's hearts and minds. Other, smaller groups that the State has
not been able to take control of are persecuted, too, like Protestants, Roman
Catholics, and Tibetan Buddhists.
a more detailed account of why the Chinese leader is persecuting Falun Gong, visit
our special report on the
How has Falun Gong
responded to this oppression?
of Falun Gong in China have made appeals to the Chinese government via the proper
legal channels, and have resisted the persecution with nonviolent public protests.
There has not been a single report of responding with violence, destroying property,
or the like - despite beatings, torture, jailings, murder, and other grave injustices.
Practitioners outside China have taken up long marches, done hunger strikes, staged
sit-ins, launched letter-writing campaigns, staged rallies, held press conferences,
and documented rights abuses.
has been the response of the international community?
US government has been unequivocal in its opposition to China's actions against
Falun Gong. In November of 1999 the US House unanimously passed resolution 218,
with the Senate concurring, which condemned Beijing's actions and called for the
immediate release of all jailed practitioners. A new, even stronger resolution,
HR 188, was introduced in July of 2002. President Bush and Secretary of State
Powell have spoken out and issued statements. Governments around the world have
responded with similar force. Human rights groups and other organizations have
been outspoken in their support for Falun Gong's freedom of belief, including
Freedom House, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the National
Organization for Women.