Archive | July, 2010

Falun Gong scares me

27 Jul

1. Falun Gong has a global network of newspaper (which is ad-free and intensively distributed), propaganda and events. Yet they claim they do not charge or receive donations from followers. It has been widely speculated that our good o Uncle Sam is behind them, these claims of course has never been proved.

2. While claiming to be a peaceful organization and a spiritual movement, 90% of their propaganda has something to do with “anti-CCP / religious freedom / human rights”. The actual content of the movement is quite weak and generally ignored by the general public.

3. Ah, yes. Speaking of the content of the movement, I have seen a lot of wild claims, for example, that Master Li can walk through walls and stuffs? And nuclear reactors buried in middle east, aliens experimenting on human beings and end of world is coming? Give me a break. These crap aren’t even close to Taoism.

4. What kind of “spiritual movement” would have so much verbal violence in their teachings and writings, and what kind of “peaceful religion” would constantly send their followers to danger confronting the CCP? In history’s sense? Usually a cult.

5. They talked about CCP brainwashing of people who oppose them. To be honest, CCP propaganda is very ineffective, and mainstream Chinese get tired and bored with them. However, most Chinese I know of, especially those from Hong Kong, who basically hates CCP to the guts, also hate Falun Gong. I wonder why.

6. Speaking of brainwashing, Falun Gong disregards all comments against them as CCP propaganda. Anything that happens against their favour is blamed at the CCP. The incident at Flushing* and the incident at Tiananmen** is quickly blamed as a CCP conspiracy. Grumpy mobs attacking Falun Gong missionaries? CCP agents. To me, setting up a symbol of hatred to divert all doubts is a very common way to brainwashing. The same tactics happen over and over and over again with all religions.

7. If you search online about Falun Gong, there are overwhelming endorsement of the sect. Most comments are emotionally fuelled, and if you look closely, most are from Falun Gong sources. When you finally find some neutral sources critizing Falun Gong, they are usually bombarded by Falun Gong people, citing uncredible references from their Falun Gong newspapers.

8. For an organization largely disliked by Chinese people in general, the manpower and financial resources, as well as their domination and manipulation of the media disturbing.



1. I’m not affected by CCP propaganda. Not even close. I’m a Hong Kong born Chinese living Australia for 5 years now. In fact, I’ve received overwhelming ANTI-CCP propaganda throughout my life.

2. Believe it or not, I’m not a CCP agent!

3. I grow up rather neutral, if not dislike, CCP. But that doesn’t mean I’m supporting the Falun Gong cause, with the slightest sense.

4. I do not endorse, support or accept the brutality of torture and abuse of any human beings. But in the case of Falun Gong, I am extremely doubtful of how much their claims in CCP abuse is acutally true.

5. And even if it is the case, while I will condemn the CCP on that matter – I will never suport Falun Gong.

*Flushing incident: A group of Chinese are running a charity event for the Xichun earthquake, and some group of people, identified as Falun Gong missionaries, stop people from donating. They claim that the earthquake is in fact bad karma, and states that the donations will go to CCP pockets. Not quite surprisingly, they got beaten up. FLG quickly denounced the attackers / Falun Gong missionaries as CCP spies.

**Tiananmen incident: 5 persons, identified as Falun Gong sect members, torched themselves at Tiananmen Square. FLG again, denied involvement and blamed a CCP conspiracy.

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A book of Zhuan Falun brings harm to three generations

27 Jul

76-year-old aunty Liu Qinghua from Donghe Town, Wangcang County, Sichuan Province, used to have a happy family with three generations under one roof. She had three sons and one daughter. They were all bright and capable, and also married and settled down. Her youngest son Chen Gang was especially smart and sensible as a child. He was a top-notch student at school and the apple of his parents’ eye. After high school, he passed into a university successfully and got a good job in a bank of his homeland after graduation. And then he married with a town girl in the county, and later had a lovely daughter. Here, for aunty Liu Qinghua, she enjoyed a well-off life with the filial descendants gathering around, which was the envy of many people in this mountain area of northern Sichuan. The area is still a top poverty-stricken county so far. However, all these have changed due to the book Zhuan Falun brought by the son Chen Gang.

Chen Gang was brainwashed thoroughly by Falun Gong “theories” after coming into contact with Falun Gong during the professional training in Chengdu in November, 1998. He looked like a strange man and told everyone he met that Falun Gong was miraculous. He said most people’s knowledge of the universe in the past was wrong and many conclusions from modern science would be overturned by Falun Gong. And mankind would enter a new era. Only by following the Mater’s principles of “truthfulness, compassion and tolerance”, you would not get ill; if you were ill, you need not medication and injections; it also helped to avoid disasters, “go to a higher level”, “open celestial eyes” and “return to paradise” to be a God again, which were all fabulous.

Chen Gang was learned and courteous, and had seen the world in the eyes of neighbors, so many villagers joined Falun Gong when Chen Gang introduced it repeatedly and personally demonstrated practicing movement to them. At the same time, he persuaded his elderly parents, elder brother, sister-in-law and 20-year-old niece to practice Falun Gong, too. Most people didn’t feel its magic said by Li Hongzhi when practicing. Because the Master asked them not to take medicines and injections, some sick even got worse, but Chen Gang said it was eliminating “karma” and normal response to practice, and the practicing worked.

His father Chen Wanlin, suffering from senile tracheitis, was weak with age and was a chronic invalid. He got from bad to worse in health due to drug withdraw after practicing. His cough and expectoration were more serious; he felt suffocated and out of breath when walking. It was difficult for him to practice standing up, so Chen Gang asked him to sit for practicing. Later when he even couldn’t sit, Chen Gang told him to lie in bed listening to Li Hongzhi’s records teaching the Fa. And so, with the hope that Falun Gong practicing would bring miracle and good results, Chen Wanlin “eliminated karma” distressfully for nine months and finally died in tears in November, 1999.

Chen Gang’ wife Zhang Yan was disgusted with the husband’s not engaging in honest work and not caring about the family due to obsessing with Falun Gong. She tried her best to influence the husband by her patience and tender feelings hoping that the husband wouldn’t indulge in illusory world of Falun Gong, but her husband told her not to disturb “Dafa”, and said that anyone who disturbed “Dafa” was “devil” and would be punished definitely by the “Master”. For this reason, there were numerous fierce quarrels between the couple. Once the wife scolded Li Hongzhi, Chen Gang slapped her severely. Being driven beyond the limits of forbearance, the wife Zhang Yan divorced him in a pet, and then lived alone with her daughter arduously.

After the family broken, the wife treated her daughter as the only hope and gave constant care trying to raise her up. But Chen Gang also wanted to make the daughter be a “good person” following the principles of “truthfulness, compassion and tolerance”. So behind the ex-wife’s back, he often instilled the benefit of Falun Gong into his daughter whenever he saw her. He said Falun Gong was a great, high-level cultivation way in the world; those who practiced Falun Gong were “good persons” and were capable. He constantly called the daughter to the place he lived and the home of his “fellow practitioners” to watch the CD about Fa teaching and practicing; he also provided many books and materials for the daughter to see. The pure thought of the little girl was confused thoroughly by her father. Her mental state became bad gradually, and her personality was unsociable and eccentric. She was subject to changing moods and sometimes her eyes glazed over. Both at home and school, she looked different from the peers in words and behaviors. When Zhang Yan found that her daughter’s mental state and behaviors were abnormal, she was very anxious and sought medical help in all directions. Then the girl was diagnosed with serious mental disease, so that she had to stop the school work. Until now, the daughter still needs the mother’s help in daily life.

The husband died, the daughter-in-law left the home and the granddaughter got insane, when aunty Liu Qinghua mentioned these sore spots, she burst into tears and regretted deeply not stopping the son’s practicing Falun Gong originally.

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Falun Gong is nothing more than Chinese yoga based on pseudoscience

27 Jul

From what I have read or been told about falun gong it’s really nothing more than Chinese yoga for people whose reality is based on pseudoscience. I know it involves physical postures accompanied by mediation which will supposedly promote mental/spiritual well being. I read an article in a magazine once with the “leader” stating by mastering falun gong you can obtain such metaphysical abilities as levitation and other supernatural powers. In my eyes, falun gong is as ridiculous as any other type or brand of a spiritual salvation that is defined by one living person (on an upside, at least their “leader” isn’t fictitious). Master Li, the “leader”, is the only person who can define the ways of F.G. therefore the ideology immediately causes me to burst into laughter and look at F.G. as nothing more than another man (Li) who is probably semi-intellectual who uses shills to control the minds of the mentally weak and needy. To me, the idea that a carbon based life form is to be looked at as a bringer of salvation is hilarious, pathetic and simultaneously horrifying in the fact that there are about 2 million people in the world that prescribe to the theory of falun gong.

 It’s a shame our species has bred beings that believe one of their own kind could be their bringer of salvation and are so mentally weak and distorted that they are sucked into a thin, as in lacking of content and containing no scientific relevance, vision of salvation in hopes of obtaining “supernatural” powers for no more than time and a likely weekly fee. I think the first step in demystifying any method that promises to bring salvation is if biological survival tickets (money) fit into the equation. I would imagine that a being that brings salvation would not be of biological content therefore would have an absent need for our (note the first word after the parenthesis) biological survival tickets.

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Shen Yun in the eyes of a London retired teacher

21 Jul

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten all about this discussion, but when someone was offering leaflets outside my Chinese class I was definitely up for seeing the show. I write for a website called Dimsum. There’s no pay, but I can get to see the shows for free. I was allocated two seats in the front stalls at the RFH yesterday, a real treat for me and my husband. I was a bit surprised by an American MC, and to learn it was a New York based troupe, but fair enough. A bit glittery and slick, but more or less based on Chinese traditional stuff, and the orchestra and dancers were superb. The emphasis was on Buddhist and Daoist beliefs about the afterlife.

Things turned sinister towards the end of the first half. A dance drama showed Chinese police beating up a couple of women imprisoned for religious beliefs. Then there was a song, supposedly about a Chinese woman thinking of her folks at New Year and reminding them ‘Dafa hao’ -‘Da fa’ would be good. Suddenly it clicked – Dafa is the name of Falun Gong call their divine being. By chance I’d also rewatched the DVD, ‘Out of the Death Trap’, about people in a Chinese village dying because a strange new cult didn’t hold with medical intervention.

By the end of the interval there were six empty seats around me and a growing unease in the audience. Another dance drama was even worse, with a young child flung across the stage (all done in dance) and some people defending her and her mother against Chinese police.

This morning I was in a quandary. The show was slick, and entertaining, no doubt about it. But how to recommend to a Chinese readership a show that attacked their government? By this time I’d read in the programme that the ‘most of the performers practised the principles of Falun Gong’. There had been no indication of this at all in the pre-show notices. I decided to ring the RFH.

It seems my query was was one of many, including some from representatives from the Chinese Embassy. It’s a shame if the Chinese government thinks such a prestigious body as the RFH is sanctioning criticism at such a sensitive time, not to mention the audience which was predominantly Chinese. It isn’t as if it were a discussion forum with both side giving their views. I wondered if the RFH had been aware in advance of the content.

My point is that it should have been billed as ‘The Falun Gong Show’ and everybody would know where they stood. I felt suckered into going along with it. How I would have felt if I’d been Chinese and paid £55 for the seat, thinking I was going to see just traditional songs and dances? I imagine I’d be very angry.

When I lived in China I regularly attended Christian church services and visited Buddhist and Taoist temples. In fact, I was surprised at the level of religious tolerance.

I’ve decided not to write a review, but if anyone wants to read about a genuine Chinese/UK collaboration show with no covert message, there’s my review of the Five Circles Arts Festival on the review forum.

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Why I don’t like Falun Gong

21 Jul

I’m just posting this on here because this is the same response I have to every pro-Falun Gong person who messages me. I hope this post will serve as a reference so that I don’t have to keep typing out the same message to the people who fill up my inbox.

I find Falun Gong problematic for a variety of reasons, but let me say I have nothing against Qigong. Qigong exercises are much older than Falun Gong and Li Hongzhi — he appropriated ancient Taoist and Buddhist exercises and added his own teachings. My problem is not the actual exercise. These are the problems I have with Falun Gong:

1. Deception.

In New York City there is a Chinese theater group called the Shen Yun Performing Arts Center. Every year, they put on a Chinese New Year show and claim to represent all of Chinese culture. I paid over $70 to see this show with my family only to find out that it was all anti-China, pro-Falun Gong propaganda. There was no mention that this was a Falun Gong show in neither advertisements (in all forms of media) nor the show itself. I am infuriated at this subversive tactic to rope people in to see something (at a cost, no less!) that claims to be a universal Chinese cultural show and then be something else (a platform for Falun Gong). I find this incredibly deceptive. How am I supposed to give credibility to an organization that cheats people?

Similarly, there are also New Tang Dynasty Television and Epoch Times newspaper. Again, both sources never reveal that they are funded by pro-Falun Gong organizations. Neither openly say where their funding comes from, then spout anti-Chinese news under the guise of “normal,” unbiased, and unaffiliated news sources.

Many Falun Gong practioners have urged me to “discover the facts” and “find the truth.” How can I? I find it morally repugnant to disguise a company (and worse, a news agency) as an unbiased and honest place, take people’s money (in the case of Shen Yun), then spout very clearly biased propaganda.

2. Co-opting Chinese Folk Religion for Political Purposes

Mr. Li takes ideas from Buddhism and Taoism to create his own teachings of Zhen Shan Ren and alters them. That’s fine, but then he has the nerve to turn around and insult his original sources by calling them fraudulent and incorrect. He steals their ideas then puts his altered versions on a pedestal, claiming that his ideas are the ultimate truth. As one with a Taoist background, that does not sit well with me.

Another aspect of this is that many Falun Gong practitioners do not believe in Chinese Folk Religion, Taoism, Buddhism, etc. In fact, a portion of them look down on these religions as mere superstition. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but the issue comes when places like Shen Yu co-opt my folk beliefs to extol Mr. Li.
Again, Shen Yu does not reveal itself to be pro-Falun Gong, ropes neutral Chinese people in, then uses venerated deities like Kuan Yin and Tin Hau to spout pro-Falun Gong “truths.” At the last New Year Gala I went to, Kuan Yin was put on the stage and sang “Falun Dafa is the best.” I am a practitioner of Chinese Folk Religion, and I found this to be incredibly disrespectful. Using religious icons on unsuspecting believers is problematic for me.

3. The Piggy-Backing of Evangelical Christians

This alone makes me want to stay away from Falun Gong. Evangelical Christians love to take up the Falun Gong cause. It would be callous of me to say that they couldn’t care less about Falun Gong, but I think it wouldn’t be too far from the truth.

Evangelical Christians want to piggy back onto Falun Gong’s cause so they can break China’s resolve in keeping religion out of China. That way, when China’s barriers crumble, they can preach away at us poor ignorant devil-worshipping heathen Chinese. I see the Falun Gong organ harvesting television exposees airing only on the evangelical stations. The ads I see warning people about China’s alleged organ harvesting are also funded in part by evangelical organizations.

I do not want Evangelism in China for a multitude of reasons. The first and foremost is that the consequence of aggressive missions is the erasure of traditional Chinese culture. That thought is horrifying to me, and I refuse to go near anything the missionaries touch, which includes Falun Gong.

I apologize if that doesn’t make sense to anyone, but my opinions on this will not change. No amount of argument will refute the fact that I paid $70 for a Chinese cultural show that did not reveal it was a platform for Falun Gong…and so on and so forth.

If you really must, you can message me but only if you actually address my points. Don’t talk to me about freedom of religion or anything else because my problem isn’t with the teachings but with the methods of dissemination of information.

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Played for fools, by “Shen Yun”

21 Jul

You’ve really got to hand it to the folks behind “Shen Yun,” the unconscionable piece of religious propaganda that appeared Thursday night in Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
Through an overwhelming promotional campaign that featured smiling attendants stationed at kiosks in local malls, they duped thousands of people into paying outrageous sums of money to watch a half-baked advertisement for Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a spiritual sect whose adherents have been brutally persecuted by China’s government.
Bravo, “Shen Yun.” You pulled one over on us.
Marketed as a survey of 5,000 years of Chinese culture through classical and folk dances from the country, “Shen Yun” turns out to be little more than a church pageant. Were it advertised as such, some of its flaws could be forgiven. Since it was not, it deserves to be held to account for the deception its creators have wrought.
The show contains several examples of bald proselytizing, including scenes in which followers of Falun Gong are brutally assaulted and —I kid you not, bro —repeatedly Tased. It also features performances of Falun Dafa songs, including one with the catchy title of “Nothing Can Block the Divine Path,”which implores listeners to follow the Falun Dafa way. There is no attempt at subtlety in the numbers, which are tossed in amid innocuous dances that give glimpses into various Chinese narratives and traditions as if they were just another story to be told. In fact, these numbers are the only reason the show exists.
I hesitate to delve too deeply into the artistic merits of such an unconscionable misuse of the ancient art of Chinese dance, but in the interest of fairness I will offer this: Imagine what it might be like to watch a synchronized swimming team perform in front of a gigantic Windows 95 screen-saver. That should give you a pretty good idea of where “Shen Yun”ranks on the artistic merit scale. The costume-heavy spectacle is more of a fashion show than a serious exhibition of the intricacies of Chinese dance, which is unsurprising given the company’s interest in dressing up its religious message in dazzling clothes.
Walking out of the theater —though I’d come knowing what to expect, as the company has amassed a reputation for its disingenuous marketing machine —I couldn’t help recalling a scene from “A Christmas Story.”In that scene, Ralphie, after saving up and waiting months to receive his secret “Little Orphan Annie” decoder ring, discovered when it finally arrived that it existed simply as an advertisement for Ovaltine. “Shen Yun,” to the great disappointment of those it promised otherwise, is really just another crummy commercial.

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Falun Gong: A new cult emerges

13 Jul

The rapid development in China of the religious cult known as Falun Gong is the most remarkable example of the growing popularity in recent years of millenarian beliefs.

The cult itself claims to have gained a following of 100 million people, most of them in China, since it was launched seven years ago. This figure, representing about one in twelve of the country’s population, is certainly exaggerated.

But the demonstration on 25 April by thousands of cult members in the most politically sensitive area of the capital clearly showed that it is highly organised and can mobilise supporters from a wide area. Some of the protesters were from the countryside and from other northern Chinese cities.

Cult members strongly object to the use of the words, “cult,” “religion” or “millenarian” to describe their beliefs. But this may well be a defensive measure in a country where such terms alarm the government.

The only officially approved religions are Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism and Islam, and the government exercises strict control over these faiths. Any other religious activity is condemned as superstition.

One reason why Falun Gong has succeeded in growing so fast without provoking a major crackdown by the government may be that the movement appeared to be little more than a variation on the traditional Chinese meditation system known as Qi Gong.

Many urban Chinese, both officials and ordinary citizens, practice Qi Gong as a way of keeping mentally and physically fit.

When the founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi, emerged to expound his beliefs in 1992, he presented himself as a leading Qi Gong expert.
‘Superstition and false science’

But “Master Li” – as he is known to his followers – believed that people needed more than Qi Gong in its commonly practiced form to ensure their spiritual well-being.

In his book, Zhuan Falun, and in a series of lectures around the country and abroad, he described the importance of cultivating what he called one’s “Inner Nature” by upholding the three principles of Truth, Benevolence and Forbearance.

By doing so, the practitioner could move to a higher level of what he saw as a multi-layered cosmos. He explained that Buddha and Jesus, as well as himself, were beings from higher levels who had come to help humankind from the destruction it could face as a result of rampant evil.
Master Li’s book became the bible of the new sect. Practitioners read the work over and over again. In 1996, the government banned the work as superstition and false science. But copies produced in Hong Kong are widely circulated in China.

Leading intellectuals
The government may have resisted taking any further action against the cult because many of its followers are leading intellectuals, as well as some Communist Party members and officials. Falun Gong groups have mushroomed on university campuses as well as abroad among highly educated ethnic Chinese.

Some official newspapers have published articles attacking one of the central beliefs of followers, namely that true devotees are immune to illness and have no need to visit doctors.

But the demonstration in Beijing could well eventually result in a sterner response. The protest, albeit peaceful, quiet and orderly, must have been an embarrassment to the government given that it was held despite heightened security in the capital in advance of the 10th anniversary in June of the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

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