Just what is Falun Gong?

4 Mar

Since Falun Gong was banned by the Chinese government eight years ago its followers have mounted a worldwide campaign against Beijing.

But what is Falun Gong? And why does China fear the tens of millions of its followers?

When the Chinese government asked Auckland’s airport company to remove a poster promoting the movement, the company obliged. That prompted a silent protest as Falun Gong members gathered outside the High Court in Auckland and filed proceedings against Chinese government for persecution, torture and genocide.

Two years ago, a small anti-persecution rally in Wellington’s Cuba Mall took place.

And last year, Falun Gong members faced Chinese government supporters outside parliament during a visit by China’s premier, Wen Jiabao.

Beijing keeps a close watch, but why the clash with a seemingly peace-loving movement?

“The ideologies are so different. They’re just so different,” says Falun Gong practitioner Eric Robinson.

“In Chinese history there were many cases in which religious organisations became political organisations and staged anti-government rebellions or movements,” says political studies lecturer, Dr Jian Yang.

Yang believes that persecution has put a large hole in the movement’s membership within China as practitioners resign rather than carry on the fight. He says Beijing is cracking down on Falun Gong because it sees it as a political movement.

“Beijing felt they had to react and make sure they were not setting an example for other movements,” says Yang.

Falun Gong is a spiritual movement based on ancient Buddhist principles with a strong emphasis on meditation and physical exercises, which the movement claims lead to good health.

But the Chinese government says it is just a cult, and the theories of its leader Master Li also have detractors in New Zealand.

“Master Li’s claims of being able to levitate, having supernatural powers, moving objects with his mind and healing people are difficult to take seriously. He says his followers go to a heavenly paradise called Falunland. Plus, he claims not to be political, but his sentiments are revolutionary,” says Professor of religious studies, Paul Morris.

The movement claims millions are resigning from the Communist Party after revelations on the internet of its persecution of Falun Gong.

Yang says that is simply rubbish.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201002/t105840.htm

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