Letter from a Non-Practitioner in China: How Chatting With a Westerner on the Internet Changed My Understanding of Falun Gong
December 6, 2002
(Clearwisdom.net) Editor's note: this is a letter written by a non-practitioner in China who frankly talks about the situation of how many people in China have been seriously misled by the Jiang government-controlled media and hold gross misunderstandings of Falun Gong. There is no freedom of press in China. We publish this letter in the hope that more Dafa practitioners will realize the difficulty and urgency of truth clarification work, and grasp the time to save people and make diligent progress without pause.
As a resident of Mainland China, my understanding of Falun Gong began with the Jiang group's ban of the movement. Previously, I only had seen students voluntarily teaching the practice to others at my university. Their activity was peaceful and ordered, and anyone who was interested in learning this cultivation practice could freely join in and obtain free assistance.
I was very interested in the Chinese government's propaganda against Falun Gong, and I watched almost all of the [slanderous] T.V. programs. Compared to common T.V. shows, these programs were very provocative. They were filled with all kinds of malicious lies and bloody murder scenes, in addition to convincing commentary. For a very long time I thought Falun Gong was a complete [slanderous word omitted], and all practitioners would commit suicide or murder, and they were most likely to kill their family members and friends.
It would be unfair if we blamed the majority of the people in China for not being able to correctly understand Falun Gong. There is absolutely no freedom of press here. I often saw people describing stupid things with the word Falun Gong, but I just want to say that these people should not be blamed at all. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in an environment where they can easily learn the truth. If you had the chance to see the T.V. programs made by the Chinese government, you would understand that most Chinese people's current opinions regarding Falun Gong are actually not too extreme.
Chinese people are intelligent. This is a nation that has its own great culture. That's why I am proud to be Chinese, which also constitutes the greatest doubt I had, -- if this is indeed such an absurd trick, then why would so many people follow Mr. Li Hongzhi? Moreover, the practitioners are made up of people from all walks of life, including many highly educated scholars who are knowledgeable and can expound upon all kinds of theories. The fact that tens of millions of disciples follow this practice is in fact the greatest proof against the claim that Falun Gong is a harmful practice. This realization grew along with my curiosity, and I felt I had to learn about Falun Gong. However, at that time, no Falun Gong books or material were available on the market; only government-made materials, which were not what I wanted.
Almost three months ago, I accidentally met a young American man online. At first, I was not particularly interested in talking with him, and it was not until I learned he was a Falun Gong practitioner that I felt I wanted to know him better. This was a great opportunity I couldn't miss. He was very friendly and he sent me an electronic copy of Zhuan Falun through email.
I read the book. I think this book is very hard to understand, so I can't comment on its content; however, it does not contain any hocus pocus or political content that I resent. The American answered my questions, and his conviction was very touching. I could not help but be moved. He told me he had a terrible past, and Falun Gong gave him a brand new life. Compared to the propaganda I had heard in the past, what he said was very credible. I studied mass communication in college, and I know that propaganda delivered to a blank mind will have an indelible effect, which means it will be very hard to change that formed opinion in the future. I was the same. At first, whenever I experienced my thoughts switching to "Falun Gong is good," I even felt guilty about these thoughts.
During the following three months, though, the continuous exchange between us increasingly made me feel that it's almost impossible to say Falun Gong is bad. Why would a Falun Dafa practitioner, a disciple of the proclaimed [Jiang group's slanderous words omitted], display such kindness and politeness, even when I had more than once offended Dafa, which is very sacred to him? I always received a friendly smile from him. I saw a person who had very high standards for himself while displaying unusual tolerance for others. He uses "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" as his guiding principle, and his high demands on himself can even be called rigorous. We should know that for a 17-year-old Caucasian who lives in a free environment, it's very, very hard to do what he did. I am much older than him, but I admire him for this.
Through several months of communication, I deeply felt that Falun Gong endowed him with a supernormal ability that allowed him to do this. He studied Falun Dafa with a serious and sincere attitude, and he benefited greatly from it. I still remember when I first met him, I thought he would commit self-immolation soon, and when I thought such a vivacious and lovable young person would soon end his life, I cried.
All of these misunderstandings resulted from the fact that people in China have no way to learn accurately about Falun Gong through an objective channel. I feel sorry for all those people who used to have misunderstandings about Falun Gong like me and still cannot learn the truth.