The Toronto Star Carries Lengthy Reports on Falun Gong During Hu's Visit to North America
(Clearwisdom.net) On September 10, 2005 when head of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Jintao visited Toronto, the largest city in Canada, the Toronto Star, one of the newspapers with the largest circulation in Canada carried a lengthy report on Falun Gong.
In recent years, the Chinese communist regime has attempted to silence Chinese media inside and outside China on Falun Gong and the persecution. It also actively buys off or influences western media to prevent the truth of Falun Gong from spreading, so as to conceal its real purpose of suppressing Falun Gong and the brutality of the persecution. Consequently, western media often bear huge pressure when they report on the truth of Falun Gong. During Hu Jintao's visit to Canada, the Toronto Star published a lengthy report on Falun Gong and it especially drew much attention.
The Chinese Communist Regime's Campaign of Hate Propaganda
Ron Csillag, writer from the Toronto Star and author of the article first introduced the Falun Gong exercises and its theories. The report stated, "Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has snowballed over the past few years into a veritable synonym for Chinese state persecution."
The article also reported on the Chinese communist regime's propaganda against Falun Gong, it said, banned by Beijing as a [slandered terms omitted], practitioners have become targets of systematic incarceration, torture and murder. Supporters also warn that Canada is not exempt from a global Chinese campaign of hate propaganda, spying on and harassing Falun Gong followers.
2780 Falun Gong practitioners have died in the persecution
The article said, "In a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin urging him to call on Hu to end the persecution, the Ottawa-based Falun Dafa Association of Canada claims that more than 2,780 deaths of practitioners while in police or government custody have been verified, 757 of those between May and July of this year. The group accuses Beijing of employing more than 100 methods of torture, including rape, force-feeding and electric shock."
According to the article, on Wednesday, supporters rallied at Queen's Park with banners and live displays of torture. They called for the release of eighteen jailed family members of Canadians, most of whom reside in Toronto, and for officials here to bar the entry into Canada of Bo Xilai, alleged to be responsible for overseeing the torture and killing of hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners in China's Liaoning province.
The article also mentioned that Ottawa said it would raise the overall issue of human rights in China during the visit of the president, who took office in 2002 and has continued his predecessors' suppression of Falun Gong.
No Hatred towards the Torturers
The article took Mr. Lizhi He's experience as an example and pointed out from his attitude towards those who persecuted him, one could see Falun Gong practitioners' effort in exercising their belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.
According to the article, an award-winning civil engineer in China and Falun Gong practitioner since 1995, He was arrested in July 2000 in Beijing after he mailed several letters to friends in which he extolled the virtues of the practice and countered the government's hate campaign. Following a show trial in December, 2000, He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for "inciting social disturbance," despite the fact he had received a visa to become a permanent resident in Canada. For the first seven months of his detention, He was held in a detention center in Beijing, where his wife was not allowed to visit him. He was kept in a 20-square-meter cell with 30 other prisoners.
"I was forced to sit motionless and I was monitored by four inmates," He said in an interview. "If I moved even slightly, I was beaten. Every day, my underwear clung to my bloody skin." He told the reporter.
He developed a fever and chest pains, but was transferred to a prison where, barely able to stand, he was forced to perform military drills in the freezing wind and rain. He began to cough and urinate blood, and was finally taken to a hospital. "Even there, I was pressed for information about my fellow practitioners," he recalls.
After 50 days, He was returned to prison, where he endured shocks with batons and was forced to write statements of self-criticism every day. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
The article said, now a 41-year-old engineer living in Scarborough, He harbors no ill will toward his torturers. "It's not a personal hatred, but they will have to pay for what they did. I can forgive them."
The article stated, "Fellow practitioners will recognize in He's attitude at least one of the three basic moral principles on which Falun Gong operates: Zhen, Shan and Ren, or truthfulness, benevolence (or compassion), and forbearance (or tolerance) -- historically Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian virtues. Practitioners are encouraged to conduct themselves with all three in all situations to develop their xinxing (moral character)."
The goal is to cultivate one's mind, body and spirit in order to reach higher levels of consciousness, aided by a set of five exercises.
Introduction to Falun Gong Exercises and Teachings
The article introduced the Falun Gong exercises.
According to the article, "While a tape plays soft Chinese music and a voice gently calling instructions, practitioners begin in a sitting position, either cross-legged, half-lotus or full lotus. Eyes are closed and hand positions change roughly every five minutes. This lasts an hour, and requires obvious discipline (in joining the group, this reporter found he had to shift sitting positions several times).
Then comes another hour of four standing exercises, also involving various hand positions. Breathing is normal at all times.
The routine is often confused with Tai Chi, but Falun Gong's movements are crisper and said to be easier to learn.
"The most important aspect of the teaching is to always know that you're here doing the exercises, and to help strengthen your main consciousness," says Joel Chipkar, a 37-year-old Toronto real estate broker and spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.
And, he points out, it's all free of charge. There's no official "membership."
The routine ends with readings from Zhuan Falun, the movement's text.
The basic teachings seem to combine the compassion and mindfulness of Buddhism with self-improvement techniques: Don't fight with others. Reduce your attachments. Treat others with kindness. Cultivate and live a peaceful life.
The article mentioned, "Chipkar made headlines last year when he successfully sued China's deputy consul general in Toronto for libel. In a Star letter to the editor, Pan Xinchun had called Chipkar a member of a "sinister cult" designed to "instigate hatred." The court agreed Chipkar had been defamed and awarded him $11,000 in damages, of which he's seen not a penny. Pan skipped town, supposedly back to China, and attempts to seize his bank account failed."
Raised, as he puts it, in a hot-blooded, short-tempered, southern Italian family, Chipkar says Falun Gong "taught me to treat others with kindness and compassion and always look inside to see what you can do better. It changed my life."
Chigong Viewed Favorable by Beijing and the Authorities Highly Recognize Falun Gong
According to the article, along with other related movements, such as Chigong, it was viewed favorably by Beijing, says David Ownby, a China expert at the University of Montreal who's finishing a book on Falun Gong.
But when the April 1999 demonstration took place, the Politburo panicked.
"The size and unexpectedness of it made them think this is not a national treasure anymore. Ten thousand people right outside -- that's spooky. Anything that big is really scary to China's leaders."