Letters from Falun Gong practitioners to Wall Street Journal

Nov. 17, 1999       THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Letters to the Editor

For Joy and Fulfillment, Not Money

As one of the people interviewed for "American Dream Finds Chinese Spiritual Leader" (International, Nov. 1), I feel the article gave a scandalous scenario where none exists. I am a practitioner of Falun Dafa, the spiritual discipline that has cause such a stir in China. I have been practicing for almost three years and have experienced many profound changes. I've had material success, but the joy and fulfillment I have found in the teachings of Falun Dafa is something that money can never buy.

Some people have tried to portray Falun Dafa as a "cult of personality", but it is not. The point of this spiritual discipline is to lead one's life in accordance with the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. It has nothing to do with worshipping anyone of anything. I am deeply grateful to the founder, Li Hongzhi, for introducing us to such powerful universal principles.

As such, in May, of my own volition and without Mr. Li's knowledge, I bought a $580,000 house in New Jersey, in Mr. Li's wife's name. At the time, I was fully aware that Mr. Li does not accept gifts or donations from practitioners. Therefore, knowing that Mrs. Li doesn't understand a word of English, I found some other reason to have her sign her name to the documents, but it was I who paid the entire sum for the house. At the time, Mr. Li was out of town. When he returned, Mr. and Mrs. Li found out what had happened and firmly refused to accept the house; they were adamant that I immediately transfer the title to my name. I was very reluctant to do so and didn't contact a lawyer to start the paperwork until mid-July. By Aug. 4, the title of the house had been officially transferred to my name.

It often takes local townships a few months to update their public computer records. Thus, when you checked the computer records in August, the records had not yet reflected the transfer. According to a clerk working in the township office, the public computer record was eventually updated on Oct. 22.

Another issue is the article was that I had paid $35,000 for the rental of a hall at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in 1995 for an "experience-sharing conference." The tab was much less than that amount. Moreover, it should be made clear that all such conferences are prepared entirely by practitioners, for practitioners, because provide an opportunity for people from all over to share their experiences in the process of cultivation. We did not hold the conference for Mr. Li.  We simply invited him to speak. We would have held the conference even if he had declined our invitation.  

John Sun
New York

Years ago when South Africa's Nelson Mandela was released from a small prison cell, he moved back into a tiny overcrowded house in the Soweto township outside of Johannesburg. Some at the time saw it as a good symbol, but symbols need to live too. Many of his followers felt strongly that the leader of their movement should be treated better. They helped buy him a real home in a more upscale community. They said, "It is not right for our president to live in a box."    

Now, we have The Wall Street Journal exposing the terrible crime that a practitioner of the Falun Gong spiritual practice bought a house here for the founder, who was forced into exile in the U. S. Not only does Mr Li not live in the house, but any investigation of his history shows that he is a modest person, not given to the conspicuous displays of wealth that seem to characterize many spiritual and corporate leaders in this country. We are told that he has earned royalties on his book. What writer who writes books does not expect royalties? And what writer posts his books for free on the Internet like Mr. Li does?

With the human rights of hundreds of millions at stake in China, you should call for intervention to curb the pervasive injustices under way there. Making money in China should not take procedure over standing up for American values. At least, you should not suggest that Li Hongzhi, and by extension, Falun Gong, is just out for the buck like others.   

Erping Zhang
On behalf of New York
Metropolitan practitioners
New York