Archive | April, 2011

We are against Falun Gong

25 Apr

(On July 17, 2010, the residents of Rutherford County, Tennessee staged a demonstration to fight against building of mosque in this county. The organizer Kevin Fisher said they were not only against the building of mosque, but also against an ide­ol­ogy like Falun Gong rooted in hate and intim­i­da­tion.)

 Kevin Fisher is a resident of Rutherford County, Tennessee, and also a political leader of the county. He led a July 17 march of some 800 people to the County Courthouse in opposition to building of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on Veals Road and Bradyville Pike and Falun Gong structure out there. Fisher told The Daily News Journal his opinion on religion, and said: “I’m not Islamic. I worship Jesus Christ, son of the living God, and that’s my personal belief. But I still hold that other people have the right to worship as they see fit. It’s not my intention to push my personal beliefs off on them or for them to push theirs on me. So long as they meet the requirements … but those requirements we put in place haven’t been met. The community’s going to have legitimate concerns post-9/11 that a proper screening process for any establishment, whether it’s Christian or Islamic. … We wouldn’t want Westboro Baptist building out there. We wouldn’t want Falun Gong building out there. We wouldn’t want any kind of extremist entity in that area.”

It is understood that Falun Gong started to carry out activities in Tennessee in 2000. In 2002, Rutherford County announced that May 13 of that very year was “Falun Dafa Day”. However, the local residents detested Falun Gong due to its large distribution of “persecution” leaflets. They regarded it as an extremism organization, which promoted hatred. Kevin Fisher posted an article in on June 23, 2010. He pointed out that, “We’re at war against hate”, and explained why he was against the mosque and Falun Gong building. Amer­ica today finds itself at war, nei­ther against Iraq, Afghanistan or even Iran nor against any race of peo­ple, but rather against an ide­ol­ogy rooted in hate and intim­i­da­tion. Just as we would col­lec­tively be con­cerned if Chris­t­ian Iden­tity or Falun Gong wanted to build a com­pound here, so, too, are we con­cerned over this mosque.”

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The Epoch Times doesn’t like to brag

25 Apr

Habib, who runs a newstand on 42nd St. He sells two copies of the Epoch Times a day.

The woman behind the counter of the Hudson News stand at the World Trade Center Path Station said she doesn’t carry The Epoch Times, and said she hadn’t heard of it. (“The ‘Poch Times?” she asked. “I don’t know.”)

The funny thing is that The Epoch Times is actually a big publication. It is an international paper that prints in 33 countries and 17 languages, including Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Slovak, and calls New York its center.

Established by followers of Falun Gong, the paper is now an odd fact of New York life, present but not really accounted for. Its New York-area circulation is 35,000 weekly for the English version and 105,000 weekly for the Chinese-language edition, according to a spokesman for the company. The paper is available for a dollar at 70 vendors around the city, though it isn’t usually a big seller.

“People don’t know about it,” said Mr. David, from behind the counter of a convenience store on the corner of Broadway and 101st Street. He said he sells about one copy a week, if that, which is far less than the sixty or so copies he sells of the Daily News.

Mohammad Rahman, a vendor at 236 Seventh Avenue, has seen a similar trend in sales. The Epoch Times sends him two copies each weekday, but he only sells one or two copies a week, and not to any particularly loyal readers. Just down the street at 200 Seventh Avenue, Nemah Sam says he used to sell very few copies, but in the past month, sales have picked up.

He doesn’t know why, but across his six convenience stores, he’s recently been selling fourteen Epoch Times papers a week.

Habib, a vendor on 42nd St., says he sells about two Epoch Times a day.

It’s hard to judge The Epoch Times’ success by traditional measures, though. For a media organization, it is unusually averse to public attention.

The newspaper’s office in midtown Manhattan is stark, at least on the outside. (A spokesman declined to arrange access to the inside.)

Tucked between a wholesale shop with “I Love New York” umbrellas and a wig store called “Hair Motion,” the Epoch Times building is disguised by the word “FREIGHT” above a label marking the address: 34 W. 27th Street. When the hunter-green double door in front is shut, the place looks like an old apartment building or storage facility, maybe abandoned.

The Epoch Times is a privately held company whose mission is, in part, to “uphold universal human values, rights, and freedoms.”

That philosophical outlook is born of its ties to Falun Gong, which is, as described on its website, “a spiritual practice that consists of gentle exercises and postures, combined with a meditation component.” The government regards Falun Gong as a dangerous cult. This has made the Falun Gong a bitter opponent of all things that are perceived to have anything to do with Communism.

In The Epoch Times’ New York edition, this opposition manifests itself periodically as an intense dislike for New York City Comptroller John Liu, a gregarious Taiwanese-born politician who is cast as a witting agent of the Chinese government in a series of articles called “John Liu and the United Front.” As one such story reported back when Liu was a mere council member aspiring to become a citywide official, “John Liu is the chosen candidate of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and his election would be a very risky experiment for the people of New York City and the United States.”

Epoch Times spokesperson and opinion editor Stephen Gregory credits his paper’s unique take on Liu to the fact that his reporters speak Chinese in Flushing, an area Liu represented in the New York City Council. He said of Liu’s connections to the Chinese government, “This is something unprecedented in American politics.” When asked why no other news organization picked up on it, he replied, “I think that’s a question to ask The New York Times. I think that our reporting was very solid.” Liu’s office declined to comment for this article.

If The Epoch Times has a political agenda, though, it seems to be a narrow one. The content, when it is not focused on the perceived excesses of the Chinese government, is aggressively quotidian: updates on Paula Abdul’s reality TV career and features such as “My Wife Is Driving Me Crazy;” coverage of local press conferences; national and international news, often written from press releases and wire reports; sports.

The paper’s reporters—who staff locally based offices in each country where an edition is printed, and who are a not-uncommon presence at public events in New York—cover stories that pertain to their own areas and contribute to a pool of articles for the different editions to share.

David Ownby, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Montreal and the author of Falun Gong and the Future of China, wrote that the newspaper’s articles are “well written and interesting, if occasionally idiosyncratic,” though he added, “it is sometimes difficult to tell who Epoch Times journalists are and where they get their information.”

The first print edition of The Epoch Times was published in New York (in Chinese only) in April 2000, and the online edition followed in August 2000. In 2003, The Epoch Times launched an online edition in English, which began printing as a newspaper in New York in 2004.

Though he would not comment on how The Epoch Times is funded because he says “the owners prefer to remain private,” Gregory said that in the beginning, “the people who started the newspaper were able to fund it.”

According to Ownby’s book, as the newspaper expands into many other language editions, these “are for the moment subsidized by the Chinese-language edition.” Gregory, the spokesman, confirmed this, but said he is “not allowed to talk about who the owners are.”

Mr. David, the convenience-store owner, said he hopes to boost sales of The Epoch Times by putting it on a rack with other international papers at the entrance to his establishment. He doesn’t think people notice it at the moment, and he’s not sure why.

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Falun Gong in Jakarta

25 Apr

A meeting of the Falun Gong was broken up by demonstrators in Jakarta.

Yesterday in Glodok, Jakarta, a meditation session of the group was set upon by about 100 local people and forced to disperse. A number of Falun Gong people were assaulted. The meditation session, at an old market site in Glodok, was being held to protest against the trade in human organs supposedly carried out by the Chinese government, and the general persecution of the group in China. Upon arriving at the scene Falun Gong members were greeted with banners that said:

Glodok people totally reject the activities of Falun Gong.
(Warga Glodok menolak keras aktivitas Falun Gong.)

Threats were screamed, and then dozens of people descended on the Falun Gong groups, who numbered about ten, and assaulted them.

A representative from the Falun Dafa, Tata Ermanta, claimed that the Chinese embassy in Jakarta had paid the protestors, and said the Chinese embassy had business interests and connections in the Glodok market. He said:

Glodok is a centre of the Chinese community, the Communist Party of China finds it easy to influence people there.
(Glodok pusat etnis turunan. Partai Komunis Cina paling gampang mempengaruhi warga di sana.)

Tempo says this is the fifth time this year Falun Gong people have been at the receiving end of intimidation. All episodes were reported to the police but, Tata says, no action has ever been taken.

The Metrotv report claims that the breaking up of the meeting was done because traders in Glodok accuse the Falun Gong of disrupting business activities. They also distribute leaflets and the report suggests that locals are fed up with them. Locals had long ago made known their objection to the group but the Falun Gong had distributed a leaflet that made threats against them and this caused the attack on the meditation session. Locals are said to hope that the government will take action against Falun Gong and prevent them from disturbing the life of the area.

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The Falun Gong responds

13 Apr

Anyone may post a comment to this blog. Comments may be of any length and it is perfectly fine to disagree with me. Many people disagree with many things I say. It is a hazard of being outspoken.

The Falun Gong is reading my blog and they are very upset. They left a comment in this blog and asked me some questions. You can read their statement in its entirety by clicking on the comments link at the bottom of my article Falun Gong and the 12 Galaxies, which you will find by scrolling down the page.

As might be expected, the Falun Gong disagree with me fiercely and they want me to learn their version of the truth. So, with the Falun Gong reading my blog, I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to them. Everybody else can read along as well, but this is really intended for San Francisco’s Falun Gong:

Here is the first question I was asked by the anonymous writer:

“What is your definition of political? Do you mean if a group like the Jews in the mid-1930’s was to call for an end to the persecution from the Nazi’s and stage demonstrations here in the U.S., it would be labeled as political and be considered against the German government? If they were to participate in a festive parade, and some of their group members decided to hand out some leaflets to spectators to try to raise awareness about the situation in Germany, would you say this is a terrible thing?”

That was actually three questions and I’ll answer them one at a time.

1) As it pertains to San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade entries, my definition of what a political entry might be is this: Any entry that has a clearly stated political objective or agenda to pursue which, by so doing, would diminish the universal and diverse celebratory nature of the parade.

2) To compare the Falun Gong in San Francisco to the persecuted Jews who lived through the Nazi period in Germany is an absurd, ridiculous and baseless comparison. There are so many elements of logic and reasoning missing in the statement that I simply cannot devote enough time and space in this blog to address the plethora of logical fallacies that abound in this one question.

The Falun Gong complain that they have been rejected for Chinese New Year Parade participation because of the intense influence the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China exercises within the San Francisco city government and within the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The accusation is absurd. Therefore any analogy to try and explain and justify their position will also necessarily need to be absurd. I don’t intend to wade into absurdity. Sorry.

 3) Is this your third question? Are you asking me what my response would be if members of the San Francisco Jewish community were to march in the Chinese New Year Parade and hand out leaflets that proclaim that Palestine, for example, is secretly controlling the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the mayor as well as the Chinese Chamber of Commerce? Is that your question?

Well, I know a lot of people in the San Francisco Jewish community, but I have to yet to meet anybody quite that insane.

Perhaps I can reduce this whole issue to the most simple and basic level. For the rest of you, I apologize in advance for the all-caps blunt in-your-face statement that follows. For those of you who are Falun Gong, please carefully read this statement. Read it several times.





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Rick Ross talks about deprogramming cult members

13 Apr (October 20, 2010) – On the afternoon of October 12, the founder and Executive Director of the Rick A. Ross Institute (RI) in New Jersey, as well as a famous expert on cultic studies Rick A. Ross went to an ordinary residential community at Sanlihe, Xicheng District, Beijing, meeting with two ex-Falun Gong members and talking about their experiences about Falun Gong. He emphasized the role of families and ex-members during the process of deprogramming.

Mr. Ross expresses the cults in North America and Falun Gong in China have many similarities.

First, imposing on people’s mentality of longing for a bright future. Everyone yearns for health, hopes to become a better person and wishes to have a better world. Such sugar-coated bullets are often used as baits to recruit members by cults.

Second, disguising as other sects. Some cults in the United States have different masks. They are under the guise of Christianity, Buddhism, or some form of science, while Falun Gong is in the disguise of Chinese traditional culture and Qigong.

Third, cutting off the outside information sources. Once entering cults, consciously or unconsciously, people will gradually block sources of outside information to form a separate space, which might make them lost the ability to think independently. Although the United States is abundant in information, the cult members are  isolated from the outside world completely.

Fourth, cult leaders should not be questioned. If one member questions his leader, he will be criticized by others. In order to avoid criticism and embarrassment, he had to remain silent, and this silence is just what the cult need.

Fifth, controlling cult members by using their self-comfort. It is difficult for some individuals who ever made sacrifices for the group or did a lot of harmful things to others in the name of this group to realize and admit that this group is bad, because they have to face what they have done before. Then they refuse to admit mistakes and console themselves saying that they are not wrong, what they do is for better goals. Many cults control the members and keep them stay by taking advantage of this mentality.

Mr. Ross believes one of the methods to help the cult members quit is to break the closed environment. Li Hongzhi could control other people in an isolated, locked condition, so people can’t communicate with the outside. One important way for converting is to contact and exchange information with the outside world, so people can think independently.

Mr. Ross has repeatedly stressed that the folks of the cult members play a key role in helping them quit cults. When Mr. Ross himself communicates with the members of cults, some members would refuse and try to leave, and then the comfort from family members is very important. Because the cult members would like to to accept Mr. Rose’s help due to the persuasion and care from their loved ones to a large extent. So he advices that it would be better for the family members to accompany in the communication process.

Mr. Ross says the people who have gotten rid of cults also play an important part in the deprogramming process. For example, only the ex-Falun Gong members know how to use Falun Gong-style language and understand the meaning of the words from Falun Gong members, because they comprehend their mode of discourse.

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What is Falun Gong?

13 Apr

Falun Gong is a set of exercises carried out by followers of the discipline Falun Dafa.

Its founder, Li Hongzhi, says Falun Dafa was influenced by Buddhism and Taoism.

Buddhism teaches that “one can be liberated from suffering by mental and moral self-purification.” Taoists believe they can conform to the Tao, “the unconditional and unknowable source of all reality,” through “unassertive action and simplicity.”

Li, who is in his 50s, was a trumpet player and store clerk from Jilin, a province in northeast China, according to a BBC News Web site.

He studied with a Taoist monk when he was a youngster and began teaching Falun Dafa in China in 1992. He said that the philosophy and its exercises had been practiced in private for 5,000 years.

He wrote “Zhuan Falun,” a sort of bible for Falun Gong followers.

In a May 10, 1999, interview with “Time Asia,” Li was asked whether he were human and whether he had come from Earth.

He answered: “You can think of me as human. I don’t wish to talk about myself at a higher level. People wouldn’t understand it.”

He said the chaos in the world is caused by disbelief in God and the influence of alien beings.

When Li first introduced Falun Gong in China, the government welcomed the new teaching that promoted truth, compassion and forbearance.

But by 1996, he had lost favor with the government. Consequently, a campaign against him and against Falun Gong grew. In 1998, Li, whose followers call him “the Master,” moved to New York. His current residence could not be determined.

According to McCandless residents Lingfang Kong and Xiaoyan Liu, two local Fulan Gong practitioners, practitioners in China numbered in the thousands by the time Li left.

In April 1999, the Chinese government ordered a crackdown on the practice. The government said that the group promoted suicide and murder and dissuaded its members from seeking medical help.

The Rev. Caleb Chang, senior pastor of the Pittsburgh Chinese Christian Church in McCandless, detests what the Chinese government is doing to Falun Gong believers but believes that Falun Gong manipulates its followers.

“As Christians, we are against Falun Gong,” he said.”Because it’s not just exercises to help people live a healthy life.” Chang said that emptying one’s mind to perform deep meditation can cause one “to see things and experience things they shouldn’t. It can take one into a spiritual world occupied by the evil spirits.”

Furthermore, he said, he is suspicious of Li’s claims that Falun Dafa is an ancient practice.

“I’m 53 years old,” Chang said. “I grew up in Taiwan. I grew up in a Buddhist family and I never heard of Falun Gong. It is definitely the creation of Li Hongzhi.”

The Rev. Kyoki Roberts, the senior priest at the Zen Temple of the Buddhist Society of Pittsburgh, said she is only slightly familiar with Falun Gong.

“There’s nothing in Buddhism like there is in Christianity,” the 20-year adherent said. “There aren’t different sects. Buddhism is part of the Asian culture.”

Still, she said, if Falun Gong follows the basic tenets of Buddhism, it could fit into that expansive world view.

“The three pure precepts are: Do no harm, do good and help all beings.”

If the Chinese government’s claims that Falun Gong promotes suicide are true, then the teaching is outside the pale of Buddhism, Roberts said.

“There’s nothing in Buddhism that says you can commit suicide. It’s never condoned.”

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Falun Gong fits the three criteria of a destructive cult

2 Apr (October 22, 2010) – On the morning of October 13, the founder and Executive Director of the Rick A. Ross Institute (RI) in New Jersey, as well as a famous expert on cultic studies Rick A. Ross accepted an exclusive interview with’s reporter He Jie, sharing his opinions about paying attention to the infiltration of all kinds of destructive cults and especially Falun Gong issue.

Mr. Ross said, “It has been almost 30 years since I started cult related work from a personal interest”, “Destructive cults are everywhere in the world.”

He Jie asked, “What kinds of means used by destructive cults to manipulate, exploit their followers, and what’s the consequence to the followers and their families?”
“Most destructive cults rely on isolation, so what that means is they begin to monopolize a person’s time, control their environment, in such a way that they cut them off from their family, from their old friends, from their co-worker. Because what the group wants is to control everything they see, everything they experience, and in that way control their mind. And how this harm their life is it causes family estrangement, it can break up marriages, it can cause people to become so preoccupied with the group that they neglect their children, their family, and their job. I’ve seen people give up everything for a destructive cult,” Mr. Ross answered.

Because destructive cult is a global issue, Mr. Ross advised to coordinate and work together in sharing information, “it is very important for all countries,”because “by sharing information, we help each other, what one country learns can be shared with another, and that’s helpful to all of us.”

When talking about Falun Gong issues, Mr. Ross said, “Falun Gong fits the three criteria that would establish the destructive cult. Li Hongzhi is a typical cult leader. He makes fantastic claims about his powers, which define the group though the group talks about Qigong and other ancient Chinese traditions and beliefs. It really is about the personality of Li Hongzhi. He is supernatural claims, he is the authority. Second, in the group, there is dynamic where people basically give up much of their critical thinking, and they defer that to Li Hongzhi. What he says is what they think, and they allow him to make value judgments for them. You will not find Falun Gong members that question his authority or would even point out that he has made a mistake about anything. Finally, the group does harm. Anyone who knows about the horrible self-immolation that occurred in Tian’anmen Square in 2001 knows the horrible consequences of submission to Master Li.”

“Li Hongzhi has chosen to live in the United States, as I heard he has a home in New York, and a home in New Jersey. Based on just those two properties, he is a millionaire, he is a rich man, he lives a comfortable life, while many of the members suffer, he lives very comfortably, he is taken care of. And he appears to be living a very comfortable life,” said by Mr. Ross.

Mr. Ross told the reporter of about Shenyun shows that, “I think the dance troupe to going on that Falun Gong sponsors is false advertising. They have gotten some critical reviews in New York and London. Because audiences and critics who go on to review the shows, thought they were taken advantaged of, they thought they were going to just be entertained and instead they were suggested to the religious and political propaganda. So I think that Falun Gong has actually got in trouble over their dance touring company rather than really put forward the positive image.”

He said, “I think the Americans are increasingly skeptical of Falun Gong, because they made many outrageous things that have not been able to be approved objectively. For example, they said that thousands of people were killed here in China and their organs were harvested. That was never proven.”

When talking about the suits that Mr. Ross and his RI have experienced, he said, “The Ross Institute and myself has been suited about five times, not recently.” “Though cults have appealed their defeats to higher courts, in two cases all the way to the United States Supreme Court, they have lost. And I think that this is a victory for free speech, and a demonstration that information will get to the public, regardless of threats of legal action and this type of behavior. ” “In Canada, Falun Gong collected about 250 members, and they suited a newspaper in Quebec, because that newspaper published critical articles about them. They didn’t win any damages, but the idea behind that type of litigation is to intimidate people.”

Online video interview: Pay Attention to Infiltration of Cults (Part Ⅰ)

Online video interview: Pay Attention to Infiltration of Cults (Part Ⅱ)

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