Falun Dafa

The descriptions could be of two separate organisations – with the Chinese Consulate’s official website claiming it is a cult that places its leader above Jesus, disrupts the natural order of religion and deceives the public, threatening the very fabric of the societies where it is performed. While practitioners claim it to be a healing source of spiritual belief, with no political motivations, discriminated against by the Chinese Government because of its growing popularity and influence within China.

This year marks a decade since the Chinese Government began its crackdown on the followers of Falun Dafa. A decade which has seen no drawing back in the Chinese Governments’ crack down on the practice of Falun Gong within China, and across international boundaries.

Within China the restrictions are much harsher, Falun Dafa practitioner Harry Sun, spoke of the pressure of the Government restrictions, which outlaw the owning of Falun Gong books, and searching for information about Falun Dafa on the internet.

“They named me as a criminal.” Mr Sun said, “In 2001 my family members, myself, my wife, my dad and mum, my aunts and even my sister in law were all arrested and our fellow Falun Gong practitioners nearby.”

The Chinese Consulate claims 1,000 practitioners of Falun Dafa have died through following the teachings of Falun Dafa founder, Li Hongzh, and hundreds have committed suicide.
Practitioners paint a different picture of the Consulate’s views.

“In Falun Gong, we believe in truth, compassion and tolerance, being good people.” Said Falun Dafa practitioner Mr Sun, “The communist regime, they just ignore the benefits brought to the citizens and the Chinese people. Because many, many more people in the Falun Gongs truth, compassion and tolerance. Because the government want people to not believe these things, but believe in what the Chinese government believes in.”

Michael Pearson-Smith, a practicing member of Falun Dafa for ten years, also spoke of health benefits gained through his personal experience with the exercises associated with Falun Dafa.

“A couple of years before beginning Falun Dafa, I’d broken my hip. I had 12 cm screws in my hip, and was going to physio once a week and using other things for pain management. Standing to wash the dishes would hurt after a while.” Said Mr Pearson-Smith.

“After my second week doing the Falun Gong exercises we came to sitting meditation, and people were doing the full lotus position. I said I can’t sit down cross-legged for that…just started off doing a few minutes in half lotus. Eight months later I could do the full lotus for the first time, and now I can do an hour (in the full lotus position)”

There were approximately 70 millions practitioners of Falun Dafa when the movement became outlawed as a cult in 1999. Practitioners now face imprisonment in institutes such as the Re-education through Labor Camps throughout China if they openly admit involvement with the group.

Now, with protests being held throughout the world, and some demonstrations in China, what does the future hold for the practitioners of this so-called cult?

“We are a spiritual group,” says Mr Sun, “and we think our protesting and demonstrations, not only in China, will arouse innocent peoples hearts.”

Perhaps when this happens, more people can study the plight of those who identify with Falun Dafa.

 

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