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Three key issues regarding Falun Gong

14 Jul

1. Why did Chinese government ban on Falun Gong?

Because Falun Gong has committed serious crimes infringing on human rights.

(1) Endangering lives

Under the severe spiritual control of Falun Gong ringleader Li Hongzhi, more than 1000 Falun Gong practitioners lost their lives because they refused to take medicine or see doctor, believing in the fallacy that Falun Gong practitioners should not take medicine when fell ill; several hundred practitioners committed suicide by following Li Hongzhi’s appealing that “you will become immortal once you neglect life or death”; and over 30 innocent people were killed by Falun Gong fanatics. A typical example is the Tian’anmen Square self-immolation incident: on January 23, seven Falun Gong practitioners set themselves on fire on the Tian’anmen Square in order to achieve the so-called “consummation”, resulting in 2 deaths and 3 disabled because of serious injuries.

(2) Seriously infringing upon other people’s rights and freedom of speech of the news media

In 1998, because a news agency in Shandong Province published a news report on a Falun Gong practitioner who had died for refusing to take medicine, Falun Gong organized more than 1,000 Falun Gong members to have besieged the news agency. In May 1998, Falun Gong organized more than 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners to have besieged Beijing TV station because it reported on a PhD student who suffered schizophrenia because of practicing Falun Gong and obsessed in Li Hongzhi’s fallacies. Before it was banned by Chinese government, Falun Gong had organized over 300 such besieging actions.

So far Falun Gong didn’t ever stop committing crimes and infringing upon other people’s legal rights. According to an incomplete statistics, since June 2002, Falun Gong has attacked Chinese communication satellites for more than 200 times with a total time amounted to over 100 hours. Falun Gong also publicly instigated Falun Gong members to attack public infrastructure for radio and TV broadcasting. There had been more than 100 cases for Falun Gong members to be involved in attacking optical fiber and cable and having illegal TV program broadcasting. Many instigative articles on attacking communication cables can be found on Falun Gong website as well. In October 2002, Li Xiangchun, a Chinese American,also a Falun Gong member, had an abortive attack on the communication cables in Yangzhou City of Jiangshu Province. In the court, Li claimed that although it was true that he had attempted to attack the communication cable, he didn’t violate law since he was to publicize Falun Gong. Falun Gong have systematically sent junks to internet users in Mainland China and made millions of harassing telephone calls to the Mainland Chinese residents. Incomplete statistics indicates that monthly Falun Gong junks sent from overseas to Mainland China amounted to over 30 million.

2. About the issue of religious belief.

Some Americans intended to look on Falun Gong as a religious issue. In fact, Falun Gong had no relationship with religion. In 1992 when Li Hongzhi founded Falun Gong, he claimed himself to be a Qigong master so that he could make money by curing disease for others with his alleged “energy”–Qigong, which in turn resulted in some patients died for not having been treated in time. Therefore Li Hongzhi had to resort to other trickeries. He fabricated his theories and made money by selling his books. As it further developed, he eventually resorted to spiritual control to amass money. That is the fact about the evolution of Falun Gong, for which no relationship can be observed with religions. All Li Hongzhi’s theories served to realize his mind control over Falun Gong practitioners. For instance, he said that things in the world had been arranged by him countless years ago; the Nanjing Massacre and Hitler’s killing were caused by changes of astronomical phenomena; he prohibited Falun Gong members from believing in religions, saying that all religions were fake and could not save people from torment, and only Falun Gong could help people escape from the exploding earth. Can such ideas be regarded as religious belief?

3. Policy of Chinese government on Falun Gong.

The policy adopted by Chinese government on the Falun Gong issue is: educating, converting and emancipating the majority of the Falun Gong practitioners who have been deceived by Li Hongzhi and his Falun Gong, and to punish, according to law, the few who cherish ulterior motives and disrupt public order. Among the estimated two million Falun Gong members, 98 percent were ordinary practitioners. They have now broken away from Falun Gong and come to normal life with the kind help from the society, their units and families. After their converting, they are not discriminated, but have received certain preferential treatments in their work and living since they have become quite vulnerable after their obsessing in Falun Gong.

Only a tiny number of Falun Gong core members have been punished simply because they have engaged in criminal activities in violation of law instead of having practiced Falun Gong. It is an international practice to investigate the criminal responsibility of those who engage in illegal activities and those who violate the law.

Chinese people support their government’s banning and cracking down on cult Falun Gong, helping and emancipating the majority Falun Gong practitioners and punishing those few Falun Gong members engaged in criminal activities in violation of law. Chinese government must follow the public will and no external factors can stop it from such determination.


Russian court bans Scientology books

11 Dec

A court in a Moscow suburb has banned works by the founder of the Church of Scientology, officials said Thursday.

The Shchyolkovo court ruled that “What is Scientology?” and other books by L. Ron Hubbard “contain calls for extremist activities,” the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement.

It said that once the court decision comes into force, scientology books will be put on the federal list of extremist materials banned for release throughout Russia. The court made the ruling following a request by local prosecutors.

Attempts by Russian authorities to ban Scientology literature have been overturned recently. In May, the Russian Justice Ministry removed Hubbard’s books from the list of banned literature after a decision by a court in Siberia was overturned.

Scientology officials said they would protest the latest court decision.

“There have been many legal violations, the case is unfounded and the trial was hasty,” the group’s attorney Sergei Korzikov told The Associated Press. “We could not defend our legal interests.”

The group’s spokesman in Russia, Yuri Maximov, said that Russia is home to “tens of thousands” of Scientology devotees. Russian media have claimed that some powerful businessmen and officials are among Scientology adepts.

Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church has denounced Scientology as a “totalitarian sect,” and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Moscow city authorities infringed on the group’s rights by repeatedly refusing to register it. In 2007 and 2009 the Strasbourg-based court issued decisions upholding the rights of Russian Scientologists to practice their religion free from unlawful government interference.

Hubbard, a science fiction writer, founded the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology in 1954. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems.

The group claims 10 million members around the world, including film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Scientologists say that there are more than 280 million copies of Hubbard’s books distributed around the world.

Belgium, Germany and other European countries have been criticized by the U.S. State Department for labeling Scientology as a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations and monitor its activities.

Original text from:

Cults in the eyes of their believers

18 Oct

Religious cults that make headlines for homicide are almost always well beyond the storefront stage – there is no better example than Jim Jones and his People’s Temple in Guyana 33 years ago.
Durham is awash in an exception.Seven members of a small and heretofore unknown cult led by one Pete Lucas Moses Jr. are facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Antoinetta McKoy, 28, and Jadon Higganbothan, 5.
More than 1,200 religious cults of all sizes and beliefs are thought to flourish in the United States, thanks to the First Amendment and the country’s history of religious tolerance. Whatever Antoinetta McKoy was seeking in life, Pete Moses’ outfit in that cinder-block house at 2622 Ashe St. must have provided it until something went terribly awry.
From the Church of Scientology to Pete Moses Jr., religious cults have a bad odor among most Americans. Cults have a deserved reputation for creating a Stepford Wives mentality among their members, pocketing their money and alienating them from friends and family. Reasonable people regard this as a form of constitutionally protected body snatching, and it has spawned a vigorous anti-cult movement.
But what is a cult? And how is a cult different from, say, a religious denomination?
The late constitutional scholar Leo Pfeffer put it this way: If you believe in it, it’s a religion. If you don’t care one way or the other, it’s a sect. But if you fear it and hate it, it’s a cult.
Cults have been with us through the millennia. The mighty of Imperial Rome feared and persecuted the early Christians, whom they considered a subversive cult. The Christians eventually won the contest and became a mighty religion.
Cults appeared and vanished like the morning mist during the Vietnam War era and into the 1980s, attracting young Americans with the promise of finding their Bali Hai amid a fractious, militaristic and materialistic society. Most such communal cults – the bloodthirsty Manson Family was the worst of them – lasted about as long as the Summer of Love in 1967.
It is the religious cults that have always had staying power. Led by charismatic personalities, they exert a powerful sway over their adherents. Leaving such a cult is a wrenching experience akin to death – you become a nonperson, shunned and abandoned. The world you had been taught to hate is suddenly the one you must live in.
Studies of cults have shown that those attracted to them are not necessarily victims of brainwashing, as is commonly thought. New adherents enter cults on the basis of rational decisions. They see benefits and qualities in the cult that they like and want to share with others.
Predictably, the word cult is disavowed among academics, who consider it judgmental. They prefer “new religious movement.” That would have pleased the adherents of Heaven’s Gate, who believed suicide was the ticket to the celestial mother ship.
Whether we call them cults or new religious movements, the dangers can be real for young people seeking that elusive something greater than themselves. For Antoinetta McKoy and Jadon Higganbothan, that little white house on Ashe Avenue was not a home, but a horror.
Bob Wilson is a retired journalist, author and teacher who lives in southwest Durham.
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Xie Yuyong: Sending forth Gong for removing Karma kills my father

17 Sep

My name is Xie Yuyong, 38 years old, and live in the diesel locomotive factory’sresidential area in Xiangfan, Hubei Province. I became obsessed with Falun Gong since I met with it. One day in July, 1998, I came back home in Guyi Town, Xiangyang District for a high-temperature vacation. While having breakfast, my father told me mysteriously that Falun Gong, which he was practicing, was really miraculous, and it could cultivate your moral character, cure your illness and improve your health, and even make you an immortal. I took it to be true and went to the practicing spot with my father the next morning. They told me some “true stories” about someone who got benefit from Falun Gong. As a result, I became a practitioner.

Before going back the unit for work, I got a book of Zhuan Falun and its tapes from the assistant Tang Yingtong. Since then, I was so deep in Falun Gong that I couldn’t extricate myself. I felt it was late for me to “obtain Fa”, so I practiced very hard. Except for working and having meals, I spent all the time on reading Zhuan Falun, listening to tapes and sitting in meditation. If I had some problems during practicing, I would write them down and turn to Tang Yingtong for help when I went back home on day of rest. My wife was dissatisfied with my indifference to the family and tried to persuade me not to practice any more, but it didn’t work because I had been possessed by ghosts.

My father suffered from high blood pressure and his condition was stable depending on medicine before. Little by little, many fellow practitioners stopped taking medicine, but he didn’t stop. I told father: “I often cought a cold before, but after practicing Falun Gong, I rarely get cold.” My “personal experience” made my father believe it to be true, he didn’t take medicine anymore, and felt good for some time. Hence we both believed that practicing Falun Gong could really remove Karma, neglecting other reasons as regular daily life, the right exercise and the psychology effect.

The state outlawed Falun Gong in 1999. We both didn’t understand it, let alone wake up. I even distributed leaflets secretly in the workshop in 2000. Though my colleagues often talked to me, I was deaf to their words. My father and I just practiced underground, sitting in meditation and reciting scriptures at home everyday.

Due to refusing medical treatment for a long time, father’s condition got worse with some symptoms like dizzying, limb numbing, palpitating, choking sensation in chest and lacking in strength etc. My mother always persuaded him to have a physical examination and take some medicine, but my father refused, he thought it would add his Karma, and the only thing in his brain was waiting for the implementation of Master’s promises. I sided with my father firmly, and thought that my father had too much Karma, only by practicing could he get Master’s help. My mother was anxious but unable to do anything.

One night in October 2003, my mother called that my father fainted away, asking me to go home and send my father to hospital. When I went back home, my father was unconscious, couldn’t speak, but could still open his eyes, Seeing my mother get medicine for my father, I stopped her. I thought I had practiced Falun Gong for five years, so I was definitely able to help my father remove the Karma; moreover, my father had practiced it for six years, he also had some power; Master would help us, too. With the power of our three people, the Karma no matter how heavy it was would be removed.

So I sat cross-legged in front of my father and read Zhuan Falun for him, at the same time, I begged the Master silently to remove Karma for him. About one hour later, I found father’s breath was weaker, and he couldn’t open his eyes. In order to obtain the Master’s blessing, I found out all the things about Dafa and placed them around my father, meanwhile, I played Master’s tapes again and again, hoping for the appearance of Master’s Fashen. But it didn’t work at all and father’s condition got worse.

Just then, my sister got home after receiving a call from my mother. Seeing such a case, she pushed me away and carried father into the car with my brother-in-law, then sent him to the hospital. According to the examination, my father stopped breathing because of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage and being sent to hospital too late.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Karma removing and “protection” praying killed my father thoroughly. We practiced Falun Gong heart and soul for so many years, and finally my father lost his life at the age of 59, while where is the Master’s Fashen? The cruel reality made me awaken from the dream. However, everything was too late

The comparative characteristic and estimation of the ‘Falun Dafa’ principles and views on health improvement of those, who exercise the ‘Falun Gong’ system

17 Sep

The Comparative Characteristic and Estimation of
the ‘Falun Dafa’ principles and views
on Health Improvement of Those,
Who Exercise the ‘Falun Gong’ System
 Nechiporuk Vladimir Ivanovich, doctor of higher category of therapeutic physical training of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
The foundator of Buddhism is an Indian sage Siddhartha Gautama (623 – 544 BC). Practicing yoga, he attained enlightenment and in the end founded a doctrine – Buddhism, the basic principles of which are those of yoga. The Buddha doctrine spread in India in the VIth century BC. In the Vth century BC and later the Buddha doctrine was spread beyond India to the countries of northern, eastern and south-eastern directions. In China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and others the sages and gurus integrated this doctrine into national cultural and religious traditions, originating different national schools, cults, health-improving and martial directions and arts: Taiji, Ziongshin, Karate, Qigong, national types of yoga, etc.
Thus, the basis of all eastern health-improving practices and martial arts is the doctrine of yoga, the main principles of which are morality, non-violence, exercising the rules of private and collective hygiene (especially, psychohygiene) and doing certain physical and ‘mental’ (meditation) exercises.
Yoga deals with physical, moral, mental and spiritual health of a person. Its aim is to improve individuality for its harmonic concord with the divine deity of environment (humankind, nature, Universe) and, consequently, its appropriate social behaviour, service to people. One of the bright examples is service to people by Mother Teresa. Yoga teachers, masters of martial arts and health-improvement systems, visiting this or that country with the aim to advertise their schools, have to respect and account for cultural and religious traditions and legislature of these countries, especially as for health protection (both physical and mental).
At present, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is fully responsible for the population’s health in our country. It issues special directives and other regulating documents. Thus, 27.10.2008 the directive of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine № 614 was issued ‘On Further Development and Improvement of the Medical-Sports Service (further on – the Service) in Ukraine. In paragraph 5.1 we can read: ‘ensure a systematic approach and efficiency of work of the Service concerning medical monitoring … of mass sports and physical culture, medical maintaince of the schoolchildren and students going in for physical culture’.
In the Medical-Sports Service Statute it is said: ‘According to art. 39 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On Physical Culture and Sports’, the Medical-Sports Service is the system of medical monitoring of all categories of people, going in for physical culture and sports’. ‘The Service has for its aim checking the state of health, physical development and functional state of those who go in for physical culture and sports, as well as carrying out preventive and diagnostic measures, organization and conducting health-improving treatment … of those who go in for physical culture and sports and others through therapeutic physical training, surgery, etc.”.
The Service solves not only medical tasks but social ones as well, ensuring improvement of the nation’s health and promotion of healthy life-style by means of physical culture.
Organizational and methodical center of the Service is Ukrainian Centre of Sports Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The activity of the Service is regulated by the current legislation of Ukraine and the Statute. The tasks assigned to the Service are fulfilled by specialists with secondary and higher medical education by the following specialities: a medical doctor for sports medicine, medical doctor for physical education, a medical doctor for physical education and sports medicine, a medical nurse for physical education and sport (an instructor for physical education)”.
The post of a medical doctor for physical education and sports medicine is assigned to a specialist, graduated from a medical higher educational establishment of III – IV level of accreditation. The post of a medical nurse for physical education and sport (an instructor for physical education) is assigned to a specialist with secondary medical education or higher physical education by the speciality ‘Physical rehabilitation’. Such specialists are considered to have necessary preparation on physical education.
The above-mentioned directive placed the responsibility for medical control over those who go in for physical culture and sports as well as the patients who were recommended to go in for physical culture on medical doctors for physical education and sports medicine. Besides, this directive also regulates sanitary-and-epidemiologic demands as for indoor and outdoor places to conduct classes and trainings as well as the rules of their previous and current sanitary-and-epidemiologic situation.
Considering the provisions of the Falun Dafa system (further on – the FD system) published in the newspaper ‘Falun Dafa in the World’, issue 16, and the book ‘Falun Gong’ by Li Hongzhi, St. Petersburg, 1996, we can’t but pay attention to the following statements:
‘Falun Dafa’ is an ancient system“. In the above-mentioned sources we read: “It was in 1992 when Li Hongzhi familiarized the Chinese with this system, which he had adopted to their modern life“.
There is no registration of the disciples“. Without registration and questioning it is impossible either to take stock of the disciples, their medical state at the beginning of their practicing and in its process, or analyze the treatment results.
There are neither age or health, nor time or place restrictions“. It implies, that people of different age, with different state of health and different illnesses, without any contra-indications as for their age or state of health are allowed to practice the FD system. In addition, the training can be held at any place (indoors, outdoors), despite ecological and sanitary-and-epidemiologic situations, which is strictly banned by the Ukrainian legislature.
From 1992 to 1999 the State Bureau on Physical Culture of China examined physical and mental state of those who practiced the FD system. 12 552 persons were examined. 10 475 had more than one decease. After practicing the FD system for 2-3 months or even 2-3 years their state of health greatly improved. The general number of the recovered made 77,5%, 20,4% improved their health. So, the treatment effect made 97,9% (!) of the examined patients“. With the absence of statistical data (registration or questioning) and generally accepted accounting and reporting documentation where the initial state of health or diagnosis was stated, it is practically impossible to get a reliable analysis of the state of health. We can’t also understand, why the state of mental and physical health of those, practicing the FD system was examined by the State Bureau on Physical Culture of China rather than by the Ministry of Health of China.
P. 26. Qigong can cure deceases. Large-scale practicing of Qigong is harmful for the society“. Taking into account the fact that those, who practice the FD system don’t undergo regular medical check-up, the statement about cure of deceases is impeachable, moreover that the author warns about possible harm for the society of large-scale practicing of Qigong.
P. 64. Some people experience visions in the course of practicing …” P. 68. Usually the practicing person doesn’t fall ill, but sometimes he can be taken to bed by a serious illness. The illness can turn out to be so serious that he will hardly be able to overcome it. But medical examination in the hospital won’t find anything and this ‘serious illness’ will all of a sudden pass itself without any treatment. P. 69. While practicing a lot of people are crying without any reason. Whatever they are thinking about, they feel melancholy“. The FD exercises bring forward uncontrolled energetic processes in endocrine and neurovascular systems of the body and in a person’s state of mind. It is impossible to foresee the consequences of interference by the exercises into the subtle systems of the body. Such interference can result in the lingering imbalance of functioning of the body’s systems and structures, mental disorders with hallucinations, a lingering depressive state.
After sitting with crossed legs for a long time you’ll feel pain in the legs, it may be rather strong … Such pain is periodical and unbearable but the practicing person doesn’t change his pose“. Poses – starting positions of the FD system – are not habitual to the Europeans, that is why very often they bring forward joints and tendons traumas and also result in irritable joint.
P. 73. The body of the practicing person clears itself from illnesses … but not everybody believes in it and keeps on thinking that he is ill, asking: “Why do I feel such discomfort?” In fact, this opinion is rather perfunctory, and your body stays untapped. Your illness is illusive. Everything depends on how you account for it. The practicing person should not only overcome misfortunes but attain qualitative enlightenment“. This statement distracts the disciples from their health self-control. The spiritual leaders make them not pay attention to signs of illnesses and consult doctors, which can result in delayed diagnosis and late treatment.
P. 122. Question: ‘Since we began studying self-improvement we’ve felt that our heads swell and we are giddy. Why is it so?’ Answer: ‘You are certain to be the beginners and your bodies haven’t yet accustomed themselves. You feel your heads swell when pathogenic energy leaves your body. Such feeling is a good sign. It means that the illness leaves your head. But if the process is intensive you feel strong reaction. Some people experienced unbearable reaction, the course of their study lasted only 7 days. If it had been shorter, the consequences could have been disastrous, because a large amount of energy freed itself and provoked unbearable headache“.
Those who came after the beginning of the studying can have stronger reaction than others“. The processes taking place in the body during such group classes in which people with different level of preparation and illnesses participate, can get beyond control: one can’t follow or foresee them. Figuratively speaking, ‘the genie is let out of the bottle’ which results in endocrine and vegetative nervous systems disorders. Many people, after attending such classes can suffer persistent physical and mental disorders, as well as lingering depressive states.

Accounting for the absence of the fixed membership in the FD system, we can’t trust the statistical data, found in the informational sources. We also can’t rely upon them while making the analysis of health-improving exercises of the FD system.
The place and time of such group classes is regulated by the Ukrainian legislature taking into consideration ecological situation and hygiene and sanitary conditions. This is not important to the disciples of the FD system.
In Ukraine classes in physical culture are conducted by the specialists with higher physical education after compulsory medical check-up of those, who go in for physical training, in special medical establishments (sports medicine centres, medical exercises dispensaries). They are given a
medical certificate allowing their going in for physical training and sports. The FD system disciples not only neglect this demand, but deny medical service at all, thus ignoring the significance of medicine in Ukraine.
The trainings are held by the FD system disciples having neither medical nor physical education and without certificates allowing them to conduct certain physical classes with people of different age and state of health.
The persons, practicing the FD system don’t exercise any medical control over their state of health, that is why it is unknown what consequences or mental and physical health disorders such classes can bring forward.
Generally, the citizens of Ukraine have higher and secondary education and are brought up in Christian cultural traditions. Far Eastern ideology is not habitual to them and must be specially studied and taught.
Taking into account all above-mentioned, we can draw the conclusion that the activity of the FD system disciples in the field of health-improvement and self-improvement is illegal. It is conducted by the persons without any special education and certificates, that is why it must be banned as being beyond control and potentially harmful to psychophysical health of the population of Ukraine.


Of a Scientific Laboratory of operation and service activity psychological support of the Home Affairs department of Kiev National university of Home Affairs by legal analysis results of charismatic churches activity and the religious cult ‘Falun Gong’ practice
To give a legal estimation as for the conformity with the existing legislation of mass events held by the religious organizations ‘New Generation’ and ‘Spiritual Centre ‘Rebirth”, as well as of therapeutic and health promotion practice, held by the representatives of public organizations-‘Falun Gong’ followers.

In the course of legal analysis the following documents were studied:
The expert conclusion of the candidate of psychological science L.M. Gridkovets on the manipulative technologies employment during the worship by the pastors of the church ‘New Generation’, 12.03. 2008.
Conclusions, submitted by the Home Affairs department of the Dnepropetrovsk City Council (Professor I.D.Spirina, PhD in Medicine; Professor N.A.Lipovskaya, PhD in State Administration; S.F.Leonov, associate professor of the Chair of Psychiatry, candidate of medical science; G.V.Shostakovitch, candidate of medical science, full member of Professional and Psychotherapeutic League).
DVD-cure ‘Spiritual Centre ‘Rebirth”.
The comparative characteristic and estimation of the ‘Falun Dafa’ principles and views on health improvement of those, who exercise the ‘Falun Gong’ system, submitted by the Ukrainian Centre of Sports Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (V.I.Nechiporuk, expert in eastern health-improving systems, expert in health-improving physical training, doctor of higher category).
“Psychological and psychiatric analysis of ‘Falun Gong’ dogma and health-improving physical training, exercised by the cult” (the conclusion, submitted by V.K.Spiridonov, psychiatrist, doctor of higher category).
Conclusions on the results of social-psychological examination of the ‘Falun Dafa’ religious dogma (V.A.Vasiutinskiy, Head of the Laboratory of Mass and Communities Psychology of the Institute of Social and Political Psychology of the Academy of Psychological Science of Ukraine, PhD in Psychology).
Experts’ materials were received with the following accompanying information:
1) The charismatic church leaders permanently hold the so called ‘recovery’ mass events in the stadiums and rented palaces of culture. These events are widely advertised in the Christian mass media, on local TV and billboards, corresponding booklets are distributed among the population.
2) The ‘Falun Gong’ leaders advertise their cult through allegedly health-improving physical training, based on five variants of the Qigong exercises. Alongside with this they spread information about 97% positive medicated effect of these exercises (despite the fact, that there are no specialists certified in therapeutic and health-improving exercises and the ‘Falun Dafa’ dogma doesn’t allow its disciples any medical treatment).
According to the results of the experts’ materials legal analysis conducted on the basis of a Scientific Laboratory of Operation and Service Activity Psychological Support of the Home Affairs department of Kiev National university of Home Affairs, it has been ESTABLISHED:
● the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees every citizen the right to religious latitude. This right means the freedom to practise any religion or not to practise any.
● In Ukraine the supremacy of law principle remains valid. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, any religious activity in our country can be restricted by law on the account of the population’s health protection and morality, protection of human rights and freedoms of other people and public order security.
● This constitutional provision as a juridical definition is based on the principles of absolute voluntariness. It principally means that any person in Ukraine should solely decide on his creed, that is, first of all he has to decide personally and individually whether he needs this or that creed or decide on his own attitude towards a certain religious cult. The leading juridical qualifying mark of a certain religious cult self-determination is exactly voluntariness.
● The basic juridical principles of illegality of certain activity (at the minimum) and direct violation of Constitutional rights (at the maximum) are enforcement and coercion.
● In the charismatic churches activity the issues of a certain creed belonging or one’s attitude towards a certain religious cult are followed by some technologies of definitely enforced and coercive character. It especially concerns the employment of psychological methods, methods of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence, trance conditions and neurolinguistic programming techniques.
● Because of the fact that the main constitutional provision is ignored – the principle of voluntariness, – all mass psychotherapeutic sessions conducted by charismatic churches under the pretext of ‘recovery’ openly contradict the Constitution and existing legislation of Ukraine.
● Any psychological or psychotherapeutic influence is enforced and coercive if it is employed without deliberate agreement of a person to whom it is employed. Meanwhile, the principle of voluntariness suggests complete conscience of aim, means and methods of psychological or psychotherapeutic influence, as well as its mental or physical consequences for those to whom it is employed.
I. Because of the breakage of the principles of voluntariness, presence of the marks of enforcement and coercion in the charismatic churches cults, their activity can be considered as strongly illegal and destructive.
Charismatic churches in Ukraine, in particular, blatantly violate the Criminal and Administrative Codes of Ukraine, the requirements of the laws “On freedom of conscience an religious organizations”, “On Information”, “On Advertising”, “On Physical Culture and Sport”, “On Health Protection”, “On Psychiatric Assistance”, some other international and state legal texts on human rights.
In the ‘recovery’ mass events held by the religious organizations “New Generation” and “Spiritual centre ‘Rebirth'” on can observe the formal principles of the illegal actions statutory to Article 190 “Fraud” of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The basic provisions of this article mean by fraud actions, aimed at acquisition of somebody else’s property or acquisition of right on property by deception or abuse of confidence. Scientific and Practical Commentary on the Criminal Code of Ukraine mean by the subject of fraud somebody else’s property or right on property.
Acquisition of somebody else’s property or acquisition of right on property by deception or abuse of confidence makes the objective side of fraud. In the issue of fraud the aggrieved of his own free will transfers the property or the right on property to another person. Direct participation of the aggrieved in the rights of property transfer and voluntariness of his actions are the necessary marks of fraud, which distinguish it from larceny and other property crimes.
At fraud the aggrieved is completely sure that he disposes of property of his own free will, in his own interests or at least not to the detriment of his interests. Such confidence is the result of a fraudster’s influence over him, videlicet the result of his misrepresentation as for the rightfulness of his property or the right on property transfer to the fraudster.
According to the statutory norms, voluntariness at fraud has imaginary character as it is caused by deception. If the aggrieved was unable due to his age, physical or mental state or other circumstances to correctly estimate and understand the content, character and meaning of his actions or be aware of them, one can’t consider the transfer of his property or the right on property voluntary.
Modes of fraud:


● deception;
● abuse of confidence.
Deception as a mode of property or the right on property acquisition by fraud means bluffing of the aggrieved or certain information hiding, which could have been essentially valuable for the behaviour of the aggrieved, in order to misrepresent him. Thus, deception can be of an active (misrepresentation of the aggrieved as for certain facts, circumstances, events) and a passive character (deliberate hiding of juridically important information).
Different circumstances as regards to which the fraudster misrepresents the aggrieved make the content of deception as a mode of fraud. It can, for example, concern the characteristics of some objects, their quantity, identity, availability in particular (deception in object), the fraudster’s or other persons’ identity (deception in person), certain events, juridical facts, some persons’ activities, etc. As for the form of exercise, fraud can be oral, written, exercised in certain bargains (passing-off of an object, its falsification, etc.), contracting as well.
Abuse of confidence means unfair use of confidence of the aggrieved. To acquire somebody else’s property or the right on property the fraudster establishes particular confident relations between himself and the property owner. Such relations can result from personal acquaintance, ties of relationship or friendship, other people recommendations, exterior situation, civil or employment relations, the fraudster’s or other persons’ social background.
Fraud is considered to be committed from the moment, when the fraudster acquires somebody else’s property or the right on it. The subjective side of fraud is characterized by direct intent and lucrative impulse.
In the practice of ‘recovery’, which is the basic one in all charismatic churches dogmas, the idea of recovery itself (deliverance from illnesses, health improvement) has all formal marks of deception and abuse of confidence.
According to the experts’ (psychologists and psychotherapeutists) conclusions, practically all charismatic churches dogmas are based on illegal use of psychological methods (means of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence) through intentional putting a person into a trance in order to misrepresent him. One of the prevailing methods to put a person into a trance during mass ‘recovery’ sessions is exactly abuse of confidence: speculations on shrines, family and patriotic feelings, affiliative needs.
Special qualifying marks that make it possible to consider the ‘recovery’ dogma as fraud, are promises of recovery and absence of any guarantee as for their true fulfillment, based on speculations on human feelings and natural fear of illnesses and death with the help of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence.
So, in the charismatic churches dogmas one can find both a subjective side of fraud (direct intention and lucrative impulse to get property in money as donation) and its objective side – people who fall under the illegal methods of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence, donate all their property to ministers of religion.
Besides, the charismatic churches activity formally falls under Article 181 “Encroachment on a person’s health under the pretext of preaching or worship” of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Under the encroachment on a person’s health under the pretext of preaching or worship the Criminal Code means organization or leadership of a group, who acts under the pretext of preaching or worship at the same time encroaching a person’s health. The crime is considered committed from the moment of organization of a mentioned group or its leadership and is considered as a direct intent by the subjective part.
Thus, the existence in the charismatic churches dogmas of the principles making a person ignore traditional medical treatment and forcing him to refuse medical assistance or medical service, is a direct violation of the Criminal Code.
II. In the religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ dogma one can trace a direct call on to refuse professional medical service (medical assistance is tabooed). Cult organization ‘Falun Gong’ openly disregards basic sanitary demands as for the social organization activity (all kinds of work connected with communication or interrelation with a person or a group are subject to obligatory sanitation measures: periodic physical examination, obligatory vaccination, disinfection, instruction, educational sanitary minimum, etc.).
Besides, the ‘Falun Dafa’ principles, guidelines and directions as a religious cult ignore other requirements of the existing legislation, that means gross violation of legal and constitutional rights of the citizens of Ukraine.
Freedom of religion and creed is under the protection of European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But in the guidelines of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) #1804, 29.06.2007, it is stressed that such freedom is not unlimited. Any religion, dogma or rite, which contradicts other basic human rights or is, a fortiori, harmful, can’t exist. But measures, restricting religion and creed freedom must be fixed by law of the country in the social security interest and protection of other people’s rights.
The PACE also points out that the state should not allow spreading of religious principles which, if implemented, can violate human rights. This recommendation mainly concerns the destructive religious cults activity.
In the “Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” (part 2, article 9) it is mentioned that religion and creed freedom should be restricted by law in the social security interest and protection of other people’s rights and freedoms.
As opposed to the requirements of this Convention, the ‘Falun Dafa’ (‘Falun Gong’) dogma propagates absence of any restrictions, complete freedom under the pretence of a free choice, but in obtrusive form through manipulative techniques (speculations on health, in particular).
Direct psychological influence and manipulative techniques of the ‘Falun Gong’ practice make average citizens strongly believe, that those who don’t practice the ‘Falun Gong’ method are not well, that is, sick.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 29) determines every person’s social rights. Realizing his rights and freedoms, any person can undergo statutory restrictions. These restrictions must be placed solely to ensure other people’s rights and freedoms, meet just ethical demands, ensure social order and mutual welfare in the democratic society, at this.
In the practical activity of the religious cult ‘Falun Gong’ in Ukraine one can observe complete disregard for the existing legislation, in particular, for the basic law of the country – the Constitution of Ukraine. So, Art. 37 of the Constitution of Ukraine expressly forbids to establish organizations, activity and policy of which are aimed at promotion and causing religious strife, encroachment on human rights, freedom, health, etc.
The ‘Falun Gong’ dogma openly calls on to refuse professional medical treatment. Besides, really threatening is disregard for basic sanitary rules (absence of obligatory sanitation measures: periodic physical examination, vaccination, instruction, educational sanitary minimum).
Art. 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine fixes prima facie law of a person for religious freedom. At the same time this article restricts a person’s rights for religious freedom in the social security interest, health and morality of citizens and protection of other people’s rights and freedoms. Violating this constitutional provision, the religious cult ‘Falun Gong’ imposes its basic principles and postulates with the help of psychological techniques and methods of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence over a person.
The rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine as for their religion, creed, views or world outlook are protected by the Law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.
This law guarantees every person of Ukraine freedom of conscience, which means freedom to have, accept or change religion or creed according to his own choice and individually or with others practise any religion or not to practise any, worship, openly express and promote his religious or atheistic beliefs.
But this very law according to international liability of Ukraine, art. 3 in particular, states that exercising of the mentioned freedoms is statutory restricted in the social security interest, health and morality of citizens and protection of other people’s rights and freedoms.
The social security interest, health and morality of citizens and protection of other people’s constitutional rights and freedoms are violated in the religious cult ‘Falun Gong’ activity in the context of certain infra-constitutional legislative acts of Ukraine.
Thus, art. 39 of the Law of Ukraine “On Physical Culture and Sport” imposes control over all categories of individuals going in for physical culture and sport on the medical-physical culture service. Also, this service has to analyze the state of health, physical development and functional condition of those who go in for sport. Besides, the medical-physical culture service carries out preventive and diagnostic health care, medical rehabilitation of those, who go in for sport and other masses of population through therapeutic physical training, surgery, etc.
Besides carrying out the tasks of purely medical character, the medical-physical culture service solves social tasks, such as national health improvement and forming the principles of healthy life-style by means of physical culture.
According to this law, only the specialists with higher and secondary medical education by the specialities: a medical doctor for sports medicine, a medical doctor for physical education and sport, a medical doctor for physical education and sports medicine, a medical nurse for physical education and sport must carry out the main tasks of the medical-physical culture service.
According to its basic postulates the ‘Falun Dafa’ (‘Falun Gong’) dogma presents itself as one of the Chinese health-improving systems (one of the Qigong schools), aimed at health improvement, preventive health care (which, in fact, is cure) and self-improvement of the soul and body.
According to the general rules of psychosemantics, the notions ‘health improvement’, ‘recovery’, ‘preventive health care (cure)’ and ‘self-improvement of the soul and body’ are actually authentic to the notion ‘therapeutic physical training’. But despite this fact the ‘Falun Dafa’ disciples disregard the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Physical Culture and Sport” as for the qualification of the specialists who can conduct the corresponding sessions. Besides, the following violations of the existing legislation of direct action are observed:
● registration of the participants of practical sessions (according to the law, persons who go in for physical training) is not held;
● qualification and professional gradation of those, who can conduct practical sessions is absent;
● the age of the participants of practical sessions is not taken into account (the law strictly states that those, who go in for physical training, should be divided into age groups);
● there are no strictly established requirements as for the conditions of conducting practical sessions and contraindications to do certain exercises depending on the age and basic physical, mental or psychophysiologic state of a person.
Besides, in the ‘Falun Gong’ mass media the stress is deliberately put on the health-improving effect of the cult events, which in fact has no grounds in the discourse of the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care”, which presupposes the estimation of the specific medical effect by diagnosing. The direct violation of the provisions of the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care” lies in the fact, that the ‘Falun Gong’ followers refuse professional medical treatment and medical measures aimed at maintenance of the proper state of health.
According to the existing legislation, the activity of the religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ (first of all, declared by the basic ‘Falun Dafa’ postulates – health-improving and cure) falls under the statutory norm ‘Healing’.
According to the provisions of the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care”, healing as a kind of activity is subject to obligatory state registration, certification and professional qualification. Only the persons, who have got a special certificate, issued by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine or an authorized organization, have the right to exercise healing practice (art. 74-1). The qualification requirements for the persons, who are engaged in healing practice, the rules of healing practice, issue and annulment of special certificates to exercise healing practice are regulated by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
According to art. 32-3 of the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care”, in order to prevent health damage treating by hypnosis, suggestion and other methods of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence (which are also used in the ‘Falun Gong’ practice) is allowed only in the places and by the order, established by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Disregarding the requirements of the existing legislation, the religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ acts without legal implementation in a lawful way.
The religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ advertising activity (propaganda) is also illegal. According to art.21, part 10 of the Law of Ukraine “On Advertising”, advertising of healing (in particular, by spreading print media) is forbidden.
Advertising of new methods of prevention, diagnostics, rehabilitation and therapeutic agents, not allowed for employment in a lawful way is strictly forbidden by art. 21, part 11 of the same law. Despite this fact, the religious cult ‘Falun Gong’ is promoted exactly as the newest method of prevention and rehabilitation.
According to art.21, part 12 of the Law of Ukraine “On Advertising”, advertising of healing and healers is allowed only if there is a corresponding special certificate on healing practice, issued by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The newspaper ‘Falun Dafa in the World’ doesn’t meet these statutory requirements.
The religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ activity also contradicts the requirements of subordinate regulations of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine in the part of meditative techniques implementation (‘Falun Dafa’ is an ancient system of the soul and body improvement according to the principle ‘Truth, Compassion, Forbearance’//’Falun Dafa in the World’, #16).
According to the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care”, the meditative techniques are considered as methods of psychological and psychotherapeutic influence. To implement art.32, part 3 of the “Basic Laws of Ukraine on Health Care”, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine issued Instructions #199, 15.04.2008 on approval of psychological and psychotherapeutic methods employment, including the places where they can be employed.
The employment of psychological and psychotherapeutic methods by the religious organization ‘Falun Gong’ contradicts the order approved by the subordinate regulations:
● statutory acts on psychological and psychotherapeutic methods employment (par.4 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008) are violated;
● the volume of psychological and psychotherapeutic methods employment as a kind of professional activity (par.6 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008) is disregarded;
● persons, conducting cult sessions, don’t meet the qualification requirements (par.5 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008);
● the level of understanding and awareness of the person, to whom these methods are employed, is not always taken into account (par.7 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008);
● the requirements concerning the places where psychological and psychotherapeutic methods can be employed (par.8 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008) and the selection of those, who employ them (par.10 of Instructions #199 of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 15.04.2008) are disregarded;
Responsibility for these provisions violation is determined by art. 46-2 of the Administrative Code of Ukraine. Same actions, committed with particular cynicism threaten state structure and security and entail criminal responsibility according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Thus, the basic postulates of the ‘Falun Dafa’ (‘Falun Gong’) system contradict the existing legislature of Ukraine, according to which they are considered illegal.
In the conducting ‘recovery’ mass events by the religious organizations ‘New Generation’ and ‘Spiritual Centre “Rebirth” one can observe formal marks of the illegal actions, provided for by art. 190 “Fraud” of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In the charismatic churches cults both the subjective and objective sides of fraud are obvious: the subjective side: direct intention to aquisite property in money as donation and its objective side – people who fall under illegal psychological and psychotherapeutic methods employment transfer their property as donations to ministers of religion.
The charismatic churches activity formally falls under Article 181 “Encroachment on a person’s health under the pretext of preaching or worship” of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The existence in the charismatic churches dogmas of the principles making a person ignore traditional medical treatment and forcing him to refuse medical assistance or medical service, is a direct violation of the Criminal Code.
In the religious organization ‘Falun Gong” dogma and activity one can clearly trace strong destructive tendencies, having justifiable threat to morality and public conscience of the citizens of Ukraine, their lives, physical and mental health:
● deliberate evasion from state registration of the organization itself and various kinds of its activity indicates the lack of legal causes for their functioning;
● open disregard for the basic sanitary demands of the ‘Falun Gong’ practical sessions (all kinds of work connected with communication or interrelation with a person or a group are subject to obligatory sanitation measures: periodic physical examination, obligatory vaccination, disinfection, instruction, educational sanitary minimum, etc.).
● blunt disregard for the Administrative Code requirements, concerning psychological and psychotherapeutic methods employment, which grossly violates human rights by illegal interference into subconsciousness;
● systemic violations of legislation and regulations on advertising, propaganda and print media (illegal print media make it possible for the ‘Falun Gong’ disciples to employ neurolinguistic programming techniques);
● deliberate substitution of the notion ‘recovery’ for semantically authentic notions, absent in the existing legislation of Ukraine (‘physical health improvement’, ‘moral and spiritual purity attainment’, ‘self-improvement of the soul and body’, ‘recovery’, ‘health-improvement’, etc.);
● intimidation of the gullible citizens by the possibility to fall ill (or not to recover) if they don’t accept the ‘Falun Dafa’ dogma;
● open call on to refuse medical service (medical assistance is tabooed);
● deliberate failure to comply with the qualification demands, set up for the persons, who conduct the ‘Falun Gong’ practical sessions.
Thus, the abovementioned data give clear evidence of the destructive character of the mass events held by the religious organizations ‘New Generation’ and “Spiritual Centre “Rebirth”, as well as the mass events of the ‘Falun Gong’ health-improving practice and give grounds to consider them as contradicting the existing legislation of Ukraine and in some cases as violating the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ukraine and threatening their health.

Head of the Scientific Laboratory
of Operation and Service Activity
Psychological Support of the
Home Affairs Department
of Kiev National University of Home Affairs
 Y.B. Irkhin

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Falun Gong (a.k.a. Falun Dafa)

27 Mar

“Falun Dafa cultivates a Falun in the lower abdomen area instead of Dan….Falun Dafa cultivates Zhu Yishi instead of Fu Yishi, He Who practices attains Gong. Namely, your Zhu Yishi or Zhu Yuansheng attains the cultivation energy.” –Li Hongzhi* 

The doctrines of the Great Law of Falun Dafa can give guidance to anyone in their cultivation including those who have religious beliefs. This is the Principle of the universe, the true Law that has never been revealed. In the past humans were not allowed to know the Principle of the universe (Buddha Law); it transcends all the sciences and moral principles of ordinary human society from ancient times to the present. What has been taught in religions and what people have experienced are only superficialities and phenomena, while its extensive and profound inner meaning can only present itself to and be felt and understood by the cultivators who are at different levels of their true cultivation, and they can really see what the Law is. –Li Hongzhi*

Falun Gong (pronounced fah-luhn gung) is Li Hongzhi’s version of qi gong, which is an ancient Chinese practice of “energy cultivation”. Falun means “wheel of law”; falun dafa is falun Buddha law.* According to Li, Falun Gong “is a cultivation system aiming at cultivating both human life and nature. The practitioner is required to attain enlightenment (open his cultivation energy) and achieve physical immortality in this mortal world when his energy potency and Xinxing [mind-nature] have reached a certain level.”*
Li claims to have taken energy cultivation to a new level. He also claims to have some 100 million followers worldwide, though he also claims that he keeps no records and that Falun Gong is not a cult, religion or sect (“Followers defend Falun Gong as innocuous,” by Brian Milner, The Globe and Mail (Canada), July 22, 1999.)

Li left China in the early 1990s and lives in New York City. He promotes his beliefs in books he has written. His teachings are available on the Internet, which has significantly affected his status and popularity internationally. While much of Falun Gong is a rehash of traditional Chinese notions regarding meditation and exercises, Li has emphasized an anti-scientific approach to disease and medicine. He says disease is “is a black energy mass” that he can dissipate with his powers. Those who use medicine for their illnesses lack faith in Falun Gong. True believers don’t need medicine. They understand that disease exists in some other space beyond physical space and that only those with “supernormal capabilities” can truly heal. True healing involves “cultivation energies…in the form of light with very tiny particles in great density.”* He claims that he does not tell people not to use medicine, but that he has cured thousands of terminally ill people. He also claims that he advises terminally ill and mentally ill people not to practice Falun Gong. The former are too focused on their illness and the latter are not clear-minded enough to practice properly.

Li claims that Falun Gong is one of 84,000 cultivation ways of the Buddha’s school. He claims that it has only been used once before, in prehistory, but that he is making it available again “at this final period of the Last Havoc.”*

Falun is the miniature of the universe with all the abilities of the universe. It can automatically move in rotation. It will forever rotate in your lower abdomen area. Once it is installed in your body, it will no longer stop and will forever rotate like this year in and year out. During the time when it rotates clockwise, it can automatically absorb energy from the universe, and it can also transform energy from itself to supply the required energy for every part of your body transformation. At the same time, it can emit energy when it rotates counter-clock and releases the waste material which will disperse around your body. When it emits energy, the energy can be released to quite a distance and it brings in new energy again. The emitted energy can benefit the people around you….When Falun rotates clockwise, it can collect the energy back because it rotates forever…. 

Because Falun rotates forever, it cannot be stopped. If a phone call comes or someone knocks on the door, you may go ahead and take care of it immediately without having to finish the practice. When you stop to do your work, Falun will rotate at once clockwise and take back the emitted energy around your body.*  

How Li knows about these rotations is a mystery, but he has many followers throughout the world who feel enlightened by these “teachings.”

In  short, Falun Gong is based upon the belief that the universe consists of magical energies that can be tapped into by certain practices and which can eliminate the need for medicine, bringing one to a state of enlightenment and physical immortality.* Its popularity seems directly related to its claim to bring health and relieve stress while providing enlightenment. It is anti-science, anti-medical establishment, and anti-materialism; thus, Falun Gong is attractive to many people who are fed up with the world as it is and their position in it.
It is difficult to understand why the Communist party in China fears Falun Gong. Their practices would relieve the demand for medical assistance, thereby saving the government millions of yuan. They encourage truthfulness, forbearance and compassion. Of course, members may not be very useful to society, since they are not materialistic and would prefer to spend their days meditating and exercising in the park, cultivating energies, rather than working in factories. Then again, communists don’t like competition.


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Shen Yun scam?

28 Feb

While beginning (and possibly, hopefully, completing) my holiday shopping at the mall last night, I bought a present for us, me and the Wizard, or more accurately, myself, two tickets to January’s performance of Shen Yun. I’d just selected a couple of Aloha shirts at Macy’s (the former Liberty House, as most of us who have been in Hawaii for some time still call it) for him and his father, choosing them in less time than it took me to pay for them. Was it my current preoccupation with K-drama that drew me to some really very nice shirts made in Korea? And 40% off, which I discovered after I pulled them off the rack. I am at my most decisive, and lucky, at Christmas. (Read about picking out a tree over on the Yang Side.)

Then a stop at Sephora whose $20 discount coupon was burning a hole in my complexion. (Only Sephora discounts cosmetics; the big department stores like Macy’s/Liberty House never do.) I have largely overcome my obsession with maquillage et parfum, but every now and then, I succumb to a girly desire. It was my birthday, more or less; they promised me a birthday gift. But the clerk forgot to give it to me. It is a test of my obsession: do I go back to claim it?

Still, good scores in hand, I was feeling a little drunk on plastic money when I was attracted to a kiosk promoting a big Chinese performing arts spectacular to occur in January at our concert hall where we have season tickets to the opera. On the signage, a leaping Chinese guy in a topknot with an archer’s bow–that will stop me in my tracks any time. Two Chinese women were touting the show…”a visually dazzling tour of Chinese history and culture.” Having missed Zhang Yimou’s big production at Hangzhou’s West Lake, and as an afficionado of shows like the Shaolin Monks (in Beijing); a bizarre Las Vegas/Disney-esque survey of 5,000 years of Chinese history in a different venue in Hangzhou; Cantonese, Peking, and televised Revolutionary Opera (in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Honolulu), to say nothing of the various odd Chinese vaudeville extravaganzas that come through Honolulu every year around Moon Festival and Chinese New Year, I was intrigued.

A very nice Chinese woman chatted with me about the show. I said I traveled to China frequently and had been to Wudangshan several times. She knew where that was. “Lots of Taoist culture there,” she said. I told her I enjoyed the local Phoenix Dance Chamber performances. She knew who they were.

I looked at the brochures, curious that the performance was presented by The Falun Dafa Association of Hawaii, but you wouldn’t know this without looking at the mouseprint. I know who Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) are. I said I’d think about it. “It has nothing to do with Falun Gong,” she assured me.

Then, in a Costco/shopping network moment, get-it-while-it’s-available, I caved and bought two tickets. The Wizard buys the opera tickets; I drag him to the odd Chinese culture events.

At home in a fit of shopper’s remorse, I poked around the net for reviews and comments about the show, just starting its 2011 World Tour, which will not include the really big chunk of the world known as the People’s Republic of China. Apparently Shen Yun has everything to do with Falun Gong. Shen Yun was banned in Hong Kong (now part of the PRC as an SAR; it is not banned in Taiwan) because its association with Falun Gong puts it in an adversarial position with the CCP. The reviews boil down to, on one hand, amazing art with a spiritual message, and on the other, propaganda (for Falun Gong) and mediocre art. (The Chinese invented propaganda. I say this while watching Sunzi Bingfa, a Chinese TV series about Sun Tzu, Sun Bin, and the 36 Stratagems, all of which is basically about deceitful strategy and propaganda, or The Art of War.)

But now I am committed. No refunds on the ticket. So, I look forward to the event as another research point in my ongoing independent study of Chinese history and culture. It’s real-life drama, a little like Perhaps Love, an excellent Chinese movie I just watched, a movie about making a movie, with two levels of the same story. (I highly recommend it.)

I am caught in a yin/yang moment. Though, had I read the reviews and various commentaries prior to swiping my credit card, I still would have bought the tickets (but maybe only one, and a cheaper seat) just to find out for myself. I look forward to observing this, and will post my own opinion come January. Probably on the observing Yang Side.

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