Statement from the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, Queensland Branch Inc. in response to the article ‘He will punish you: Ipswich councilors threatened’ published in various media outlets on 9 February

As the Falun Dafa Association for Queensland, we represent the interests of Falun Dafa practitioners in Queensland and coordinate Falun Dafa activities, including involvement in community events. Falun Dafa is also known as Falun Gong.

For the record:

We have no knowledge of anyone by the name “Susan Lin”. The bizarre comments and sentiments expressed in the reported email do not reflect the principles of Falun Gong, which are truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
We are not associated with Ms Shan Ju Lin, although several members of our association know her. In the past, some Falun Gong practitioners attended Harmony Day activities organised by Shan Ju Lin, along with other community groups. Shan Ju Lin attended some Falun Gong events many years ago, but we do not consider her to be a Falun Gong practitioner.

We are not aware of the circumstances surrounding Shan Ju Lin or her Harmony Day application, except as reported in the above article.

However, we can provide some insight into the likely source of the email, since it is not the first time that strange emails have been sent from people claiming to be Falun Gong practitioners.

To briefly provide some context, Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) is a peaceful meditation practice that became immensely popular in China in the early 1990s. Fearing the popularity of a spiritual group that was not under Communist control, the Chinese Communist Party banned the practice in 1999 and, for the past 18 years, has been brutally persecuting those in China who continue to practice. Outside China, Chinese agents have influenced politicians and councillors to prevent us from attending various community events. The Chinese Communist Party has spread a campaign of misinformation in Australia and around the world, in an attempt to discredit Falun Gong and its founder – sometimes with direct attacks, and other times in more insidious ways. This recent email seems to be one such example.

Emails and letters like this have been sent to public officials in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA over the years. The pattern is similar: threatening or bizarre claims relating to the Falun Gong spiritual practice or its founder, supposedly sent by a Falun Gong practitioner, usually relating to a local incident so that the email seems credible. As we’ve seen over the past few days, these bizarre emails quickly become media stories and circulate widely, which is usually when we first hear about them.

The following links provide further details of this campaign and its links back to mainland China:

· Statement from the Falun Dafa Information Centre (2011)

· Epoch Times: E-mail Uses Christchurch Earthquake to Attack Group (2011)

· Epoch Times: Bogus Emails Sent to MPs in Attempt to Discredit Falun Gong (2015)

· National Post: ‘Don’t step out of line:’ Confidential report reveals how Chinese officials harass activists in Canada (2018)

The purpose of these emails is to undermine support for Falun Gong by portraying practitioners as irrational or fanatical. The email senders often claim to be locally based Falun Gong practitioners, but where reverse DNS lookup is available, it shows that some of these emails originate from IP addresses in China.

It is unfortunate that councillors in Ipswich have been the brunt of this recent email. We trust that the Mayor and councillors are astute enough to see through this underhanded tactic to make Falun Gong practitioners appear irrational, push would-be supporters away, and indirectly justify the torture and killing of innocent people in China.

Contact: John Andress, Spokesperson