Falun Gong
In the late 1990s, if you had gone for an early-morning stroll around a park almost anywhere in China, you would have found a tranquil but powerful scene: the grounds covered with people from all parts of society practicing the slow movements of Falun Gong.

A Chinese government survey at the time concluded that as many as 100 million people nationwide were practicing Falun Gong. In February 1999, US News and World Report put the number at over 60 million. High-ranking government officials were quoted in Chinese newspapers as praising the benefits to health from Falun Gong practice. In 1996, the main book of Falun Gong teachings, "Zhuan Falun," was a national best seller.

Falun Gong was the most popular meditation practice in China. Why did the situation change so that government officials now risk their jobs, maybe their lives, if they say a few positive words for Falun Gong? In an authoritarian society, a dictatorship, the leader's word becomes the law. The ruler then, Jiang Zemin, went out of his way to condemned the popularity of the practice of Falun Gong, ordering a persecution campaign beginning on July 20, 1999, the scope and brutality of which has been hidden from the rest of the world.

With China's huge financial resources, in part drawn from huge foreign investment, the Communist Party has been able to devastate countless lives inside China during this brutal, nationwide campaign. With its information stranglehold in China and paid staff in Chinese consulates and other agencies in other countries, the Communist Party has been able to mislead people with state-controlled media and prevent them from learning the facts. The Jamestown Foundation published a report showing that the Communist Party owns or controls nearly all Chinese-language TV broadcasts and newspapers in North America -- even Chinese people living an ocean away from the Party cannot escape its long reach. Even if people believe only a tenth of the propaganda against Falun Gong, they are still misled into dismissing something that is positive as dangerous or harmful.

The Persecution of Falun Gong in China
By Brian Marple Epoch Times Washington DC Staff Mar 30, 2006
Members of the local Chinese community enact the abuse by Chinese police of a practitioner of Falun Gong,12 September, 2005 in Mexico City. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

On July 20th, 1999, Chinese state media announced a ban on Falun Gong, and a new Communist political movement began. Chinese media began blanket coverage of the practice, denouncing it forcefully and repeatedly.

The movement spread to the general public, as Falun Gong books are collected and burned. Falun Gong practitioners are sentenced up to 18 years in jail in widely publicized show trials. Many Falun Gong practitioners were expelled from their jobs, detained, and sentenced to jail or forced labor.

As the mass political fervor against Falun Gong continues in public, daily reports of gruesome torture leaked out of China's prisons, detailing torture, beatings, injections with nerve-damaging drugs, and violent force-feedings.

Most recently, it was revealed that Chinese authorities have constructed at least one elaborate, underground facility where thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for their organs.

It all begs the question: What, exactly, is Falun Gong, and do Chinese authorities see it as such a threat that billions of dollars should be used to eradicate it?


At first glance Falun Gong practitioners seem like the least likely target of the Chinese regime. Most were stubbornly apolitical, and, as was the case with other qigong disciplines, Falun Gong was comprised largely of middle-aged and elderly citizens who had come to the practice seeking improved health.
Cindy Lee practices Falun Dafa exercises at Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, CA. (David McNew/Newsmakers)
Beginning in the 1970s, hundreds of varieties of qigong—slow-moving, meditative breathing exercises, such as Taichi – achieved widespread popularity in China. Many of the qigong practices spreading throughout China claimed roots in Buddhism or Taoism, and had been passed down for centuries. Tens of millions of Chinese took up forms of qigong, assembling in parks at dawn to practice the exercise regimens they claimed had brought them miraculously improved health.

In 1992, a qigong Master emerged in Northeastern China to found what would become the fastest-growing spiritual movement in China. Li Hongzhi, the practice's founder, introduced himself as one who had studied under Buddhist and Taoist Masters from a young age.

Unlike the other qigong forms in China at the time, which focused solely on the improvement of the body through physical exercises, Li Hongzhi's Falun Gong stressed that improvement in physical health was inseparable from spiritual self-cultivation. This was to be achieved by gradually striving to live in line with Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, along with practicing Falun Gong's qigong exercises and meditation.
Morning practice in Chengdu, central China. (

Falun Gong, which was practiced for free, spread quickly by word of mouth, as adherents credited it with curing health problems and helping them achieve inner balance and peace of mind. By 1998, a government survey estimated that upwards of 70 million people, including mid and high-level government and military officials, had taken up the practice.


But despite Falun Gong's rise to popularity in China, it remained almost unknown to the international community until the morning of April 25th, 1999, when upwards of 10,000 of its practitioners silently gathered near the Zhongnanhai government compound in the heart of Beijing. They'd come from Beijing and surrounding areas to protest early forms of government suppression, and to ask that the government allow them a legitimate environment in which to exercise their beliefs. For a whole day, they sat quietly on the sidewalk, meditating or reading books as a few representatives met with China's then-premier, Zhu Rongji, to voice their concerns. By nightfall, an agreement had been reached and the practitioners dispersed as quickly as they'd come.
Over 10,000 practitioners spontaneously gather outside the State Council Appeal Office after the first illegal arrests and beatings. (

However uneventful the manifestation was, the gathering at Zhongnanhai was reportedly perceived as a shocking affront to China's leader, Jiang Zemin.

It was the first time in a decade that such a large protest had been staged in Beijing, and like the student demonstrations on Tiananmen Square ten years earlier, the retribution it met with would was swift, and brutal.

Practitioners all over the country were rounded up and jails, and long-term prison sentences were given out to those believed to be Falun Gong "heads." Much like other political mass movements in Chinese communist history, the suppression featured blanket media coverage, victims paraded in dunce caps, and political study sessions. Although the political fervor of the campaign has died down, deaths from persecution continue to accumulate – the Falun Dafa Clearwisdom rate has verified over 2,800 Falun Gong deaths since 1999, with nearly 300 since June 2005 alone.

But why the large-scale campaign? Many say that the Zhongnanhai appeal showed that Falun Gong was becoming a political force that could mobilize quickly, and that the Communist Party needed to suppress the practice's adherents if it were to maintain its power.

Yet even before the Zhongnanhai appeal, the seeds of suppression had already begun to be sowed. In 1996, the publication of Falun Gong books was banned. Falun Gong practitioners had reported that at least as early as 1996, the authorities had begun to send undercover police to monitor Falun Gong. Many were harassed and detained, and adherents protested these abuses on a small scale until their efforts culminated in the Zhongnanhai appeal.

The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party , an Epoch Times editorial series that is highly critical of the Communist Party, suggests that the Party persecutes Falun Gong because it fears its firm beliefs. By calling itself "great, glorious, and correct," the editorial says, the Party has made itself the standard for good and evil, thus giving it the power to regulate the Chinese people's behaviour. Falun Gong's belief in Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance, it posits, indirectly challenges the Communist Party by giving people an alternative set of standards by which to live.

Either way, many practitioners have attested that their faith is what guides them through the trials of prison and torture. Detainees are often given the opportunity to leave jail sentence-free, as long as they sign statements renouncing their practice, yet many choose to endure difficult forced labor and brutal torture instead of selling out their conscience. Perhaps the strength and individual will that comes from firm beliefs themselves are what the Party fears – and tries to stamp out – most.

An Open Letter from Women in China Who Practice Falun Gong

By Women in China who practice Falun Gong
Amidst the campaign against Falun Gong in China, women have been the victims of widespread abuses, including sexual assault, rape, torture and death from torture and beatings.

We are female Falun Dafa practitioners from the People's Republic of China. With great indignation, we relate the inhumane torture we have been suffering over the past four and one-half years. We are seeking your help.

We follow the teachings of Falun Dafa [Falun Gong], which expound upon the universal characteristics of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, and practice gentle exercises and meditation to maintain our health. On July 20th, 1999, the former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin launched a campaign to eliminate Falun Dafa. We have been deprived of our basic human rights ever since, and have been physically and mentally tortured in many ways.

Throughout China's labor camps and police stations, we have been subjected to torture and humiliation. Some female practitioners have been forced to stand still for days and nights while being denied food, the use of a restroom and sleep. Many have been beaten and shocked with high-voltage electric batons. Others have been sent to mental hospitals and injected with unknown substances. Many have been exposed to extremely hot or cold weather.

There has been sexual torture, including stripping 18 women of their clothes and forcing them into the jail cells of male criminal offenders. Some women have been subjected to forced abortions. Some have been force-fed urine and feces. Many so-called “policemen” in China have exhibited the most base and inexcusable behavior. One said: "Don't you say you practice tolerance? I will see if you can tolerate it when I rape you!" They have ripped off our clothes in public and shocked us with electric batons. Iron wire has been used to pierce our nipples. They have sexually violated our bodies using eggplants, toothbrushes and plastic water bottles. (news) In one Female Labor Camp located in Jilin Province, the police inserted hot pepper powder into women's vaginas in order to force them to give up their belief and practice of Falun Dafa. They have forced electric stun batons into female practitioners' vaginas to torture and shock them.

In Beijing, a policeman raped a practitioner under a bridge. (news) Ms. Zhao Jing, a 19 year-old practitioner, was beaten to death after she escaped the persecutors by jumping from a bus that was being used to transport her against her will. Ms. Xinyan Wei, a graduate student from Chongqing University, Sichuan province was arrested on campus simply because policemen suspected that she was distributing Falun Dafa fliers. (news) She was sent to a police detention station and was raped by a policeman in front of two prisoners. Ms. Wei has disappeared, never to be heard from again. None of the policemen who have conducted such sadistic acts have been punished. Instead, they are rewarded and promoted by the government! The head of the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, where the 18 female prisoners mentioned above were abused, was rewarded. He was given 50,000 Chinese Yuan, which is equivalent to about six thousand dollars in the United States. This reward came from Jiang Zemin and his followers. Masanjia's deputy director was rewarded with 30,000 Yuan for mistreating us.

During the past four and half years, Jiang Zemin's followers have built more jails and prisons to detain Falun Dafa practitioners. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been suffering tremendous pain and are forced to live away from their spouses and families throughout China. So many of us have been expelled from our jobs, from school and have been forced to become destitute and homeless. So many have been beaten, arrested and sent to forced labor camps. Many have lost their lives due to brutal torture.

Jiang Zemin and his followers have attacked our dignity, violated our bodies and our womanly nature because we practice Falun Dafa.

Please help uphold justice, help stop the vicious persecution and protect the dignity and basic human rights of women! This issue should be of concern to all women everywhere, not just in China.

Please help us.

– Female Falun Dafa Practitioners from the People's Republic of China on the occasion of International Women's Day.

Torture Exhibition
Display of Crimes Against Conscience

Victims' Pictures

Victims' Exhibits


Virtual Exhibition

"...These practitioners could have stayed alive if they had agreed to renounce Falun Gong. In fact, that is the option the authorities "offer" to Falun Gong practitioners. In the same way the pagan rulers two thousand years ago offered the Christians a choice to conform before martyring them, the Chinese communist dictators want Falun Gong practitioners to "transform," to sign pledges to give up Falun Gong...

This simple account depicts the persecution at its core: reversing right and wrong, coercing the innocent to bow to guilt. Why are Falun Gong practitioners so unyielding to the coercion? Why are they so uncompromising in insisting on their conscience? If right and wrong can be compromised, why have right and wrong? If good can cave in to evil, what will values and principles be based on? Conscience, the innate knowing of goodness, is the very essence of humanity. Everything else, even our "inalienable rights," can be forcibly taken away. The alteration of our conscience, no matter how small, must be consented to from within. Conscience, thus, defines human nature, and the right to conscience is a human being's most fundamental right.

No crime, therefore, is worse than the crime against conscience. The Chinese government's persecution of Falun Gong not only violates Falun Gong practitioners' right to conscience, but is also an assault aimed at the destruction of human nature."

  • Falun Gong Today News
  • Friends of Falun Gong USA
  • World Organization to Investigate the persecution of Falun Gong
  • CIST - The Eradication Campaign Against Falun Gong

  • Sujiatun Death Camp: Putting Conscience On Trial
  • Human Rights Advocates Plea For Change In China
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