Saturday July 13 2002

Falun Gong is a benign practice that is unjustly persecuted by the government of China. Your article reflects this point accurately, but it does not do the same in my view when referring to the teachings of Falun Gong and its founder, Li Hongzhi.

The main teachings of Falun Gong are found in the book Zhuan Falun. Unfortunately, many of the references to Falun Gong in your story seemed to me to be based on third party information and quotes taken out of context. Mr. Li explicitly portrays himself as a teacher. He makes it very clear that people should not worship him. He had his biography removed from his books because his aim was not to sell his life story but to aid people in a spiritual practice.

The response of Falun Gong practitioners to the severe three-year persecution by China's government provides a glowing example of the compassion, peacefulness and benevolence of Mr. Li's students who have followed his teaching of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. Falun Gong has earned over 700 proclamations of support and Mr. Li was nominated three consecutive times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Moreover, Mr. Li has been awarded the esteemed Religious Freedom Award, presented by Freedom House in the United States, North America's oldest human rights organization, for his contribution to defending freedom of belief in China.

Mr. Li and Falun Gong are responsible for guiding millions of people in almost 60 countries to embody truthfulness, compassion and tolerance as they continue their peaceful appeals to stop the hate and violence against them. Not yelling back. Not striking back. Only solemn appeals to help change the hearts of those who hurt innocent people. The actions of the practitioners of Falun Gong truly mirror the merits of this man and his teaching. We invite all to read Zhuan Falun and investigate Falun Gong for yourself.

Joel Chipkar, Toronto.