Tag Archives: falun gong china

Falun Gong is nothing more than Chinese yoga based on pseudoscience

27 Jul

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

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

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/puop/201006/t112279.htm


Falun Gong: what’s behind the movements?

13 Jul

The political leadership of China is not the only group alarmed by the spread of Falun Gong, a term used to describe both a set of slow, graceful exercises and the banned Chinese spiritual movement that practices them.

Teachers of qigong, a 5,000-year-old Eastern healing art that includes tai chi, acupuncture and other practices that have become popular in the United States, cannot understand the growing appeal of the exercises.

“I don’t see how the Falun Gong exercises could work” to promote health, says Renxu Wang, a qigong master and retired Western-trained surgeon now living in Massachusetts. “Qigong strengthens the body. Falun Gong strengthens the soul for salvation . . . [by] adopting energy from different dimensions in the universe.”

Perhaps we should start by defining some terms. Falun Gong is the exercise component of Falun Dafa, a political and spiritual movement that has been banned by the Chinese government at least partly because authorities are concerned that its spread could destabilize the government. Officially, Chinese leaders call Falun Gong a dangerous cult.

Falun Dafa’s premise is that through a set of five exercises a practitioner cultivates an intelligent, golden-colored entity called the falun, which resides in one’s gut (but in a different dimension) and spins continuously, absorbing energy from parallel universes, thereby making the body invincible to disease. Falun Gong’s founder, Li Hongzhi, who lives in exile somewhere in Queens, N.Y., maintains that David Copperfield has some serious falun that allows him to walk through walls and perform magic.

While the vivid Falun Dafa imagery suggests a relationship to ancient forms of Eastern mysticism, the exercises were developed by Li in China in 1992. Which is to say, these exercises are no more ancient than step aerobics. Still, Falun Gong is beginning to attract people who have less interest in Chinese politics than in practicing the exercises.

At least a dozen indoor study groups meet in the Washington area, and there are many outdoor practice sites, including the Mall, Catholic University and the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The movement has reached into the suburbs, with practice groups massing at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and the Julius West Middle School in Rockville.

Yet seekers of the falun may not realize that the exercises are very different from other forms of qigong, which have been honed over centuries of practice.

“There are many differences between Falun Gong and qigong,” says Wang. First, there’s qi (pronouned “chee”), loosely defined as vital energy, the core concept of qigong. Through controlled breathing, practitioners of qigong direct vital energy within the body to locations that need it the most. In Falun Gong there is no breath work. Energy comes drifting in from forces that exist in different dimensions of the universe.

Qigong movements are precise, in order to maximize the flow of qi. Falun Gong practitioners worry less about the precision of their movements, Wang says, and indeed many practitioners render the poses very differently.

Further, qigong is practiced in many different forms to address many different ailments and goals; Falun Gong is a single set of exercises billed as a cure-all practice.

While the American medical establishment has not weighed in on Falun Gong, it is slowly warming to the more popular qigong practices known as “internal qigong”: tai chi, acupuncture and meditation.

“Qigong can elicit the relaxation response,” says Herbert Benson, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston. “Saying the rosary will do the same.” Benson says that qigong-induced relaxation can slow one’s metabolism, lower the heart rate and enhance resistance to disease.

Since 1990 the NIH has funded several small studies on the effects of qigong exercises for sufferers of neurological disorders, arthritis and other ailments. One study found that people over 70 years old gained more strength and cut their risk of accidental falls by nearly half after practicing tai chi. Larger studies are in the works.

Some practitioners make expansive claims about Falun Gong. In addition to providing the claimed link to universal energy fields and superhuman powers, they say, the exercises can cure everything from cancer to lifelong allergies.

The sitting pose, the “way of strengthening supernormal power” exercise, is similar to qigong meditation exercises that have been shown to lower blood pressure. The standing poses mainly stretch the upper body, similar to qigong poses that have been shown to improve circulation. The Falun Gong “penetrating the two cosmic extremes” exercise is quite invigorating. With this exercise, one’s arms move slowly up and down like pistons.

The “Buddha showing the thousand hands” exercise is most reminiscent of tai chi, with arms stretched from side to side, like a hunter pulling back on a bow. The “falun standing stance” exercise can build strength in the arms and shoulders, for the arms stay suspended for several minutes above the head. Finally, the “falun heavenly circulation” exercise involves running one’s hands up and down the entire body a few inches from its surface.

Falun Gong practitioners admit the moves are watered-down versions of qigong exercises, but that doesn’t matter to them. The exercises are not meant to be strenuous; rather, they cultivate universal energy.

“If you do it from your heart, you will benefit,” says Hailian Zhang, 34, who leads weekly group exercises on the Mall. By “heart,” Zhang means “xinxing,” a code of morality one must observe if the exercises are to have any benefit. Adhering to xinxing is yet another aspect that separates Falun Gong from qigong.

The stories of satisfied practitioners play out like late-night television testimonials. A retired white-collar worker from Beijing practicing on the Mall several weeks ago spoke of how Falun Gong had cured his skin allergies and chronic diarrhea, even though he doesn’t believe much in rotating, multidimensional faluns. A Chinese woman in her fifties spoke of how Falun Gong helped her regenerate bone that had been removed in surgery. A self-described Christian said Falun Gong has helped control his diabetes.

“You just do the exercises, and one day you wake up and realize you don’t have a particular [health problem] anymore,” says Keith Ware, a Washingtonian in his forties who practices and teaches Falun Gong at home and on weekend mornings on the Mall, often with his wife.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH and the qigong expert on the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy declined to comment on Falun Gong exercises. However, many health experts and some qigong teachers remain open to the idea that Falun Gong can provide some health benefits by reducing stress and boosting relaxation.

Yet some, as you can imagine, question the whole business of energy fields.

“There’s nothing wrong with graceful exercise as a relaxation technique,” says Stephen Barrett, a retired psychiatrist and editor of the Web site Quackwatch. “These practices can be mentally dangerous, though, when they instill false beliefs. False beliefs lead to bad decisions.” He cites the possibility that a belief in the absolute power of Falun Gong could lead sick people to refuse standard medical treatments.

Movements like Falun Gong enter into the realm of quackery, Barrett says, when they consistently make health claims that cannot be verified scientifically. This includes healing by touch, raising the paralyzed, curing cancer at far higher success rates than conventional medicines, sending vibes across the sea to heal at a distance or living for several hundred years — all claims that have been made for Falun Gong.

“Some movement is better than no movement,” Barrett said. “Socializing can have health benefits, too. People can do these things in a variety of ways.”

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201005/t111549.htm

My brief experience with the Falun Gong

8 Jul

Also known as Falun Dafa, Falun Gong has sparked world-wide controversy and heated debate. Is it a cult? A Buddhist religion? Or a qigong community with religious undertones? The verdict is still out.

Founder and leader of the organization Li Hongzhi claims to have studied under more than twenty Buddhist and Taoist masters. He also makes claims to divinity and possessing supernatural powers, besides promising that his disciples will also become godlike in power and ability.

These beliefs and religious undertones have resulted in harsh suppression of the group by the Chinese Communist government, which in turn has sparked to outrage and protest by many human rights groups.

Initially, Falun Gong was promoted as a government-recognized legitimate qigong (a.k.a. chi kung) organization. That quickly changed with the growing community’s membership and unofficial religious leanings.

Because qigong has a history of being associated with Taoism or Buddhism, (see History of Qigong), the Chinese government has allowed certain freedoms with these religions. However, it has also made it abundantly clear that qigong and other meditation practices are taught strictly for health and martial arts purposes.

With the emergence of the controversial teachings of Falun Dafa in the 1990s and the organization’s unofficial claim to practicing qigong for religious purposes, China has been less tolerant of such groups than ever before.

While I have no objection to any purported religious beliefs in connection with qigong, I am leery of what appears to be recruitment to cult-like practices.

My personal experience with the Falun Gong was very brief, beginning when the Falun Gong was first lauded as a very legitimate qigong organization in China. I had attended one of its meetings in the hopes of meeting like-minded people interested in furthering their experience in qigong practice.

After only a few minutes of meditation, without any special techniques in breathing and concentration that I could see, the entire room of fifty or so people began to jump up and down, shake various parts of their body, spasm or moan in trance-like states … almost everyone except the “teacher,” myself, and a few others.

Did I miss something here? In all my twenty odd years of training I had never seen any student – beginner or experienced practitioner – react so spontaneously at the direct suggestion of the “teacher”.

I have heard that there are cases with some people whose chi energy is so intense that they have trouble controlling their reactions, but not to the extent that I saw in that room that day. To me, it seemed more like mass hysteria.

The “teacher” claimed to be a senior left hand man of the group’s founder Li Hongzhi. His teachings that day consisted of merely telling us to “close [our] eyes and relax… let whatever happens just happen.”

Then after a few minutes of meditation he suggested that we should “begin to feel the chi rising in us, wanting to come out” and if we needed to “jump” or “shout” or “shake,” that was to be expected and to just let go.And that was exactly what people did.

Was it really an intense chi experience or mass hysteria?

My opinion? Mere suggestion can be very powerful, and if people want to believe badly enough, they will do whatever to convince themselves they “have the chi”.

What happens afterwards, whether they come away with any benefit or not is another matter. Perhaps it is enough just to have “faith.” However, based on my experience, I would not consider this real qigong, at least in the sense of systematic training in yogic breathing and meditation.

I only attended one meeting, so I can’t really comment whether the meeting I attended is really representative of what Falun Gong is all about or whether this qigong teaching was a personal interpretation of one disciple.

What I can say is that my perspective is undoubtedly skewed in the sense that I can’t help but compare this encounter with my own personal experiences and training in qigong. Ultimately, I think each person must judge for him- or herself what organizations such as Falun Gong represent.

Perhaps there was more in the qigong that I had yet to experience, but that was the extent of my encounter with Falun Gong, and the events that occurred in that room definitely dissuaded me from continuing.

When people who have never practiced qigong nor ever experienced chi before suddenly develop so much chi that they react spontaneously by jumping up and down, going into spasms or muttering gibberish, I have to ask myself what is going on, and do I really want to be a part of this.

Government-sanctioned qigong? At the time, I could not understand how this Falun Dafa was able to continue with government approval, given China’s anti-religious sentiment and reluctance to associate itself with anything even suggestive of religion.

In fact, I was not very surprised when only several years later in 1999 that the Chinese government began to crack down harshly on the Falun Gong and Zhong Gong, another similar religious group also operating under the guise of qigong.

I don’t think there is anything wrong in joining a “qigong organization” like Falun Gong that makes claims to certain religious beliefs, but I do think its teachers, disciples and any other representative agents should be clear about their intentions.

If you do intend to join such a group, just be aware that practicing qigong is not their primary purpose. Though they may ostensibly offer qigong classes, they may also have other ulterior motives for inviting you to join their group.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/puop/201005/t111440.htm

Why all the fuss about Falun Gong?

8 Jul

Falun Gong also known as Falun Dafa led by Chinese exile Li Hongzhi has been labeled an “evil cult” in China and it seems Chinese American communities have increasingly become concerned about its adherents activities in the US.

Hongzhi’s followers have caused problems repeatedly during holiday celebrations, apparently using every opportunity to pass out tracts and preach, which has annoyed others and violates the rules set for such events.

As the Chinese New Year drew near this year controversy surrounded the group’s participation in a parade in San Francisco as reported by the San Francisco Sentinel. At a hearing held by the city’s Board of Supervisors both sides of the Falun Gong controversy spoke out and some of strange teachings of Li Hongzhi leaked out.

According to Falun Gong’s leader “elder women will regain the menstrual period because a cultivation practice of mind and body requires menses.” Hongzhi concludes, “Otherwise, how can they cultivate their bodies without it?”

Hongzhi’s teachings about homosexuality must disturb many in the Bay area, which includes a large gay community. Li says that a “black substance” accumulates in the body due to homosexuality that causes bad health. Hongzhi’s homophobia also goes beyond simply describing its link to a “black substance” he has also called gays “disgusting,” and prophesizes that one day they will be ”eliminated” by ”the gods.”

Hongzhi also appears to be a racist.

He teaches his followers that “mixed-race people…[are] instruments of an alien plot to destroy humanity’s link to heaven.” And that these interracial unions are somehow part of “a plot by…evil extraterrestrials.”

More bizarre is that practitioners of Falun Gong believe that “Master Li” actually can “personally install” falun (a wheel of law) in their abdomens, can “levitate,” “become invisible” and knows the “top secret of the Universe.”

Hongzhi also changed his date of birth from July 7 to May 13, which is when Buddha was born, reported Asiaweek.

Sound like a personality-driven “cult”?

“If you want a good description of a cult, all you have to do is read what they say they are,” Margaret Singer told the San Francisco Chronicle at a Seattle conference in 2000. The psychologist, who was the most respected cult expert of the 20th Century observed, “They actually say ‘Don’t Think.’ Just recite the master’s teaching.”

Last month Steve Hassan a cult counselor from Boston told the Chronicle that Li’s followers are “told not to think negative thoughts, and are given fears if they consider any other reality” and that Hongzhi “comes very much out of the cult extreme, the authoritarian stereotype.”

David Clark, a Pennsylvania cult counselor sees Falun Gong’s human rights campaign as a “clever marketing mechanism.” “It is a way of gaining access to get people to join the cause,” he said.

“I consider myself a victim of the Falun Gong because my parents were hurt by it, and the harmony of our family has been seriously damaged,” a Chinese massage therapist who practices tui na, told the Chronicle in December.

An anti-Falun Gong Web site has been launched to expose “the false and contradictory claims of Li Hongzhi.”

For example, regarding health Hongzhi teaches “the root cause…is karma…That’s the root cause of people’s health problems, it’s the chief source of them. Of course, there are two other forms. One of them is really, really small, high-density tiny beings. They’re something like a cluster of karma.”

This sounds similar to the Scientology belief in so-called “Body Thetans” or BTs, which that group’s founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed originated from outer space clustering on human beings and causing problems.

Such beliefs have allegedly led some Falun Gong devotees to neglect their health by not properly consulting doctors in a timely manner and/or seeking medical treatment and instead relying upon Hongzhi’s supposed powers and religious practices.

Li likewise seems to denigrate hospitals. He says that their “treatment methods are at ordinary people’s level while illness is beyond the ordinary,” He claims, “It’ll be years before today’s Western medicine catches up” with him and what he knows.

Chinese authorities have reported that hundreds of Li Hongzhi’s followers have died in Mainland China due to medical neglect.

So besides racism, homophobia and often-bizarre supernatural mumbo-jumbo it seems Falun Gong can become a health hazard.

It’s no wonder why the Chinese government sees Hongzhi as “evil” and Chinese Americans have become increasingly wary of his disciples participating in their community events.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Views/201005/t111347.htm

Li Hongzhi and his PR machine

8 Jul

CultNews was soon strewn with comments from Falun Gong followers after an article appeared yesterday examining the racist and bigoted teachings of its founder and leader Li Hongzhi.

Interestingly, the feedback received did not deny that Hongzhi made the disturbing statements quoted, but insisted that they were offered out of context and/or defended them.

One disciple of Hongzhi said, “My understanding is that when gods created man, we were created to god’s image, different races was created by gods of different races and when a child is born from a marriage of two people from different races it will be hard for the gods to trace the child’s origin and therefore hard to save.”

In defense of Hongzhi’s homophobia one member remarked, “Actually all orthodox (upright) religions view this matter in the same way, Christianity included, it is very hard to reach heaven when practicing homosexuality.”

Regarding “Master Li’s” bizarre claim that elderly women would start menstruating again after practicing his religion one member noted, “Can you prove that elderly women who practice Falun Gong DON”T regain their menstrual periods? Have you ever considered the possibility that Li’s teachings in this regard are true? I know for a fact that they are true. I suggest you do more research on the subject before mocking these teachings.”

However, no objective outside research was cited to support Hongzhi’s astounding claim and much like other groups called “cults” that make fantastic claims, the evidence offered is anecdotal stories and/or personal testimonials not corroborated by any scientific peer-reviewed and published studies.

CultNews has also received emails too from Falun Gong members and they frequently consist of the same statements recited over and over again. Much of this feedback emphasizes repeatedly that the sect is being “persecuted” by the Chinese government and that somehow this should ameliorate Li’s racist statements and bizarre claims of supposed supernatural powers.

What all this points up is that Li Hongzhi has a very well-organized network of Falun Gong followers that function like a well-oiled machine effectively handling his public relations and garnering publicity to promote Falun Gong, its agenda and attack “Master Li’s” perceived enemies.

The Epoch Times, a newspaper run by Hongzhi devotees, churns out article after article supporting him, denouncing the Chinese government and generally provides a platform to preach Falun Gong’s beliefs.

Additionally, there are the constant well-organized protests staged by Hongzhi’s devotees outside Chinese consulates and lately they have even taken to the streets staging dramas to gain attention in New York City.

One such performance came complete with fake blood dripping down a woman’s face and shocked Midtown businessmen as they walked down Sixth Avenue. A female Falun Gong member hung over a poll, while another, a man dressed up in a communist uniform pretended to hit her with a club and another woman lay down, acting as if she were dead reported the New York Sun.

Doesn’t all this reflect the type of fanaticism and devotion frequently associated with groups called “cults”?

One protest performance was a chilling tragedy. In January of 2001 five Falun Gong followers doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves ablaze in China’s Tiananmen Square to protest persecution by the Chinese government. Two died, including a 12-year-old child.

One young woman was horribly disfigured and badly crippled.

Again, this appears to be reminiscent of other groups called “cults” such as the Solar Temple suicide in Switzerland that ended in fire, the Jonestown mothers who killed their own children or the members of “Heaven’s Gate” that obediently committed suicide to fulfill the agenda of their leader Marshall Applewhite.

Hongzhi and his disciples claim that there are 70 million Falun Gong followers in China. This number has never been independently verified, but whatever number of adherents exists within China the sect has caused serious concern.

In 2002 the Chinese government blamed Falun Gong for the deaths of 1,900 people by suicide or refusing medical treatment.

Perhaps Western journalists should pay less attention to Hongzhi’s public relations machine and more to what he actually teaches and the consequences of his influence.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Views/201005/t111209.htm

Zhang Wenbo: My first close contact with Li Hongzhi

30 Jun

My name is Zhang Wenbo and I live in Tiexi District of Siping City in Jilin Province. I used to be interested in various qigong practices when they were popular in China in early 1990s.

It was the summer of 1994, my wife and I went to Handan City in Hebei Province to visit my mother. She did business there. One day, I went to shopping alone and saw someone distributing leaflets, saying that Master Li Hongzhi was going to the city to teach Falun Dafa, that he would convey Gong to the audience and heal the sick, and that this was a golden opportunity and local people shouldn’t miss it. Li and I share the same hometown and I wanted to meet him long time ago for he was very famous at the time. So I went to Handan Workers’ Cultural Club and spent 10 yuan in buying an entrance ticket. The lecture teaching the Fa hadn’t started yet and I saw big posters about Li Hongzhi at the entrance and several groups of people selling study materials about Falun Gong, including Zhuan Falun sold at ten yuan each, CD at ten yuan each, and the pictures of Li Hongzhi sold at 50 yuan each.

People flowed into the Workers’ Cultural Club, most of them were old people and some even lay on stretchers. There was a table at the center of the stage and the staff in exercising clothing was busy there. Then Li Hongzhi stepped onto the stage surrounded by his men. He was in apricot yellow exercising clothing with hair side parted, wore a pair of ordinary white shoes. He was about one meter and seventy, not too fat and not too slim. He was in good spirit.

Li Hongzhi sat down and said he came at the invitation of Hebei Province Handan Qigong Association and would stay here giving lectures for three days only. “I was born on May 13, 1951 and started to follow Buddhist Master Quanjue to practice in the same year. I soon achieved consummation and had various magic powers of moving things, letting things stay where they are, and making myself invisible. Then I follow Buddhist master to practice Dafa till I left the place. My power is hundreds of thousands of times higher than that of Sakyamuni. When you are in trouble, just call Master Li Hongzhi and my Law Body will be there with you immediately.” The audience was impressed and thought the money well spent this time, for this was a real “Master” in front of them.

After the self introduction, Li Hongzhi started to convey gong. He asked the audience to stand up and to face toward him stretching both hands with palms up. Then he asked: “Do you feel the heat in the palm? I’ll convey gong to all of you in next ten minutes. The sick people will get cured while the healthy ones will also benefit from it.” I did what he said. But it was hot and the crowded meeting place was stuffy. Neither of my palms felt anything unusual.

Then Li Hongzhi taught us several exercises but I couldn’t remember what they were since it was a long time ago. The next thing Li Hongzhi did was to “open the divine eye” and I remembered that quite clearly. Before teaching us how to do it, Li Hongzhi told us a story. “Once upon a time in Ming Dynasty,” he said. “There was a practitioner with a snake demon in his body. Later on, the snake took possession of his body and appeared as a man. But his nature never changed. He then transformed into a big snake and made troubles. I couldn’t bear it anymore and caught it by hands. Then I used great power of transformation and changed the lower half of his body into water. But his upper body ran away…Last year, he came out making trouble once again. He had done too many bad things and disturbed me when I taught Dafa. So I destroyed him completely.” (After the lecture, I borrowed Zhuan Falun from my colleague and read the similar description of the “transformation power”. And the introduction in the book was more vivid than I heard. It seemed that Li Hongzhi was so proud of his transformation power that he not only publicized it all around but wrote it down in his book.) After introducing to the audience his “great power”, Li Hongzhi told us to close eyes and to point our index and middle fingers at the point between the eyebrows, saying he was going to “open our eyes” by sending forth his power with his will power. I did as he told but still felt nothing except for the hot weather.

Then he started to treat the sick people at the meeting place. The first one coming to the stage had arthritis and Li Hongzhi slapped him on the joints. After his palms were in the air, he would make the special gesture as if picking up a flower with thumb and middle finger. As he was doing this, Li Hongzhi said: “I was sending forth my power to his joints”. It was hot that day and, after half an hour, Li Hongzhi started to sweat. Then the man said: “Alright, alright, it doesn’t seem to hurt so much.” At his words, I thought to myself, although I didn’t feel a thing when Li Hongzhi sent forth his power to me, but it seemed that he had something with him for he could cure people. But when I saw what happened next, I knew I was wrong.

After the man suffering arthritis stepped down, another one came up. He was humpbacked and in his 40s or 50s. His back hunched so much that it looked like he had a big backpack on his back. He begged Li Hongzhi to straighten him up and Li Hongzhi said: “Let me see. If all of you don’t mind, I’ll treat him here. I just can’t leave him like that.” Taking a good look at him, Li Hongzhi started to do all the tricks on his back, slapping and rubbing all over. His hands moved so fast that it reminded me of the top martial masters treating people in kungfu movies. But nothing changed with the back of the man and Li started to push it with his knee. At each push, the hunchback shouted aloud in pain. With sweat dripping from his face, Li Hongzhi had to stop and asked the man to step down. Li Hongzhi then told the audience: “The hunchback has too much karma but I have removed most of it for him. He’ll straighten up after a while.” I heard the whispers around me saying doubting words such as “That’s all a master can do” and “He’s talking horse”.

Then some people carried a man with a stretcher onto the stage. It seemed that the man was very sick and couldn’t walk. I could see that the yellow exercise clothing on Li Hongzhi was wet with sweat. He had a look at the man on the stretcher and told him: “You’re sick because you had too much karma resulted from your previous life. It will take me a long time to cure you and it’s not right to waste the time of the audience. Why don’t you go down first and I’ll treat you after the lecture.” So he was carried down, which resulted in more discussions among the audience and some left the meeting place.

Li Hongzhi continued his speech on the stage, saying something like “illness was caused by one’s karma during the previous life; if you want to get well, you should have faith in practicing, stop taking medicine, stop seeing doctors, and someone will come to cure you”. At realizing that the “magic power” of the “master” was nothing but empty words, I lost any interest in it and left before it ended.

Coming out of the Workers’ Cultural Club, I found it was early and had time to do some shopping. After a while, the lecture concluded and I saw the audience coming out from the main entrance. Several people carried the sketcher I saw just now and drove away in a van. Then I saw the hunchback with the back still humped coming out; he hesitated for a while and then got on a bus and left.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Facts/201005/t110905.htm

“Evil cult” causes stir in San Francisco

30 Jun

Falun Gong had something of a public relations meltdown in San Francisco this month. And despite its best efforts at spin control could not right its sinking ship within the Chinese American and gay communities in the Bay Area.

It all started over a popular holiday event. The group, which has been labeled an “evil cult” in China, claimed it was experiencing discrimination because its devotees would not be allowed to march in the Chinese New Year parade.

However, parade officials saw things quite differently.

“We have strict rules No political statements,” said Wayne Hu, president of San Francisco’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which runs the parade.

Falun Gong frequently uses whatever events it can to promote itself and increasingly Chinese American communities have decided to rebuff such efforts.

The group put pressure on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a statement of support, but that effort seemingly backfired, ending in an empty resolution without mention of its avowed nemesis the Chinese government.

But this should come as no surprise to the followers of “Master Li Hongzhi,” the founder of Falun Gong, who has been repeatedly described as both “homophobic” and a “racist.”

The exiled leader of Falun Gong who now lives in New York teaches his followers that gays are “disgusting” and somehow a “black substance” accumulates within the bodies of gay men. “Disgusting homosexuality shows the dirty abnormal psychology of the gay who has lost his ability of reasoning at the present time,” says Hongzhi. And one day he claims gays will be “eliminated” by “the gods.”

In the liberal and gay friendly city of San Francisco even an empty resolution of support for Falun Gong has angered many.

“What a disappointing vote. I have compassion for the practitioners but I think the supervisors have been duped by the master’s party line.” Thomas Brown told the Bay Area Reporter.

“I challenge any gay person in this city to get any Falun Gong practitioner to state they do not agree with their master’s belief. I have never heard them refute what he has said. There is deception here,” Brown said. “I think it is a vote that will come back to haunt some of the supervisors.”

Brown’s roommate, Samuel Luo, called the resolution “a huge disappointment” and warned that the group will use it “to recruit members. It makes it hard for people like me to get family members out of the cult.” Luo’s parents are involved with Falun Gong and he has expressed concern for how the group has affected their lives.

“I think it is great that the leadership in the Chinese community recognizes the homophobia of this group and I would support their efforts not to let them march,” said Thom Lynch, executive director of the LGBT Community Center

Interestingly, in a letter published by the San Francisco Sentinel Samuel Luo noted an apparent contradiction in Falun Gong’s battle for human rights. “Last year when the International Cultic Studies Association organized a program on the Falun Gong in which I was one of the presenters, the Falun Gong threatened the organization with a lawsuit and successfully suppressed our freedom of speech” he said.

It seems that Hongzhi’s followers have become adept at an old Scientology strategy. That is, filing what can be seen as harassment lawsuits against their perceived enemies. Lately this also included suing an Australian official for restricting their use of loudspeakers and banners outside a Chinese embassy reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

Apparently Falun Gong wants everyone to recognize its right to speak out loudly and boldly, but not the right of its critics like Luo to tell what they know in an organized public forum.

Falun Gong reportedly will be crashing the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco, even though its members remain unwanted there reports Bloomberg News.

“They crashed the parade…[last year], and I am prepared for them to do this again this year,” Wayne Hu told the press.

Hongzhi’s followers don’t seem to care how much they upset Chinese Americans, gays or anyone else, as they pursue their master’s agenda.

Meanwhile North American Chinese communities just want to celebrate the coming New Year without political statements or “cult” entanglements.

L.A. Chung writing for the San Jose Mercury News said that Falun Gong “could espouse a doctrine based on loving fluffy kittens or for kicking Tibetan monks. I don’t think the group’s philosophies really matter to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.”

Li Hongzhi’s followers have now filed a legal action to stop San Francisco from using $77,000 in city money to support the parade, which has left local Chinese leaders fuming and the public perception that they are spoilers.

The San Francisco parade in Chinatown is the largest such celebration in North America and the Chinese community there is the second-largest in the U.S. followed by New York. Fallen Gong has caused similar problems in New York surrounding community events there.

The narrow focus of Falun Gong devotees upon their own self-serving agenda continues to alienate many Chinese Americans. And after this most recent fiasco it appears doubtful that the controversial group will regain any ground or goodwill it has lost in the Bay Area.

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201005/t110818.htm