Looking Back at Ten Years of Falun Dafa in Taiwan (Part 1) (Photos)
Mr. Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) to the public on May 13, 1992. In the past 13 years, over 100 million people around the world have benefited from the practice both mentally and physically. Falun Dafa practitioners use the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance" to become better people. Everyone who truly works on improving their character experiences tremendous physical benefits and moral improvement. Falun Dafa is practiced by people in over 60 countries around the world. The principles of Falun Dafa are being understood and cherished by more and more people from many different ethnic and national backgrounds. In the year 2000, Falun Dafa practitioners decided to establish May 13th as World Falun Dafa Day. On this day of commemoration, all over the world, practitioners hold celebrations.
Falun Dafa was first taught in Taiwan in April 1995. Currently, there are approximately 300,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan, including college professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, civil servants, military personnel, police, farmers, merchants, students, and homemakers. It has been widely praised by various governments, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), human rights groups and many other organizations. We would like to mark the occasion of the 2005 World Falun Dafa Day by presenting a brief history of the peaceful journey of Falun Dafa in Taiwan.
Eighty-four-year-old Mr. Cheng Wen-huang from Yilan was the first volunteer to teach Falun Gong in Taiwan. He recalled. "At that time, my wife suffered from chronic migraine headaches. We went to all the famous doctors in Taiwan, but no one was able to help her. Following the advice of one of our relatives in Mainland China, we attended Master Li Hongzhi's lectures on June 21, 1994. After the nine-day lecture series, my wife's disease was cured without any medicine." Mr. Cheng said, "Master Li teaches us to be good people. We teach the exercises for free as we can't charge people money or accept gifts. After we returned, on April 27, 1995, we started the first Falun Dafa practice site in Taiwan at Yang Min Mountain. Our site grew steadily - from one person to ten people, from ten people to one hundred. And now, in 10 short years, 300,000 people practice Falun Gong."
Mr. Cheng is first on the left in the front row
More than 5,000 people attended the Taiwan Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference
Practitioners can be seen doing the exercises in many public places throughout Taiwan
When the Yang Min Mountain practice site first started, there were only about 30 people. In the early stages, because there was a lack of materials, information, and in-depth understanding of the Fa, many practitioners only did the exercises but did not study the Falun Dafa books. They only sought to cure their diseases and have a healthy body. In November 1996 and February 1997, dozens of Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners formed groups to go to Beijing to attend experience sharing conferences. Practitioners from Beijing and Taiwan held a nine-day Fa study and experience-sharing forum. It wasn't until then that many practitioners realized the importance of studying the Fa.
After returning to Taiwan, we followed the example of Beijing practitioners by holding "small group Fa studies." Taiwanese practitioners then held the first coordinators' training at the Taipei Armed Forces Hero House. Participants felt that they made great improvement and were encouraged by each other. Since then, every two or three months, in northern, middle, and southern Taiwan, practitioners hold similar training sessions. The number of attendees has increased from dozens to hundreds. This formed a solid foundation for Falun Dafa's rapid development in Taiwan over the next few years.
Master Li's Lecture in Taiwan
Master Li came to visit Taiwan in November 1997. In Taipei and Taichong, he taught the Fa for over ten hours. Falun Gong practitioners were greatly encouraged and excited. Nearly 1,000 practitioners heard Master Li's lectures in person. Although Falun Gong was not well known at that time, the practitioners who attended became the seeds for Falun Gong's growth in all parts of Taiwan.
Master Li Hongzhi teaches the Fa in November 1997 at the San-hsing Elementary School in Taipei
Master Li Hongzhi teaches the Fa in November 1997 in Tai-chung
The April 25 Appeal Brought International Attention to Falun Gong
On April 25, 1999, after learning that police arrested and beat Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin in Mainland China, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China went to the State Council Appeals Office near Zhongnanhai, the central government compound. Their purpose was to appeal for the 45 Falun Gong practitioners who had been illegally arrested in Tianjin. The appeal was received by the State Council Premier himself, and was handled in an open manner. The appeal ended peacefully that same night.
The media's wide reporting of the April 25 appeal and the unfounded persecution of Falun Gong by the Jiang Zemin group on July 20, 1999 made Falun Gong, a previously low-profile group, the center of attention for many. Taiwanese people came in large numbers to learn more about Falun Gong. Every month, the nine-day lecture series was full. The number of practitioners grew quickly, and more group practice sites were established. Currently, there are more than 300,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan and nearly 1,000 group practice sites. In greater Taipei alone, there are more than 260 practice sites. Almost every village and township in Taiwan has a practice site. On the smaller islands of P'eng-hu, Chin-men, and Ma-Chu, there are more than a dozen practice sites.
Falun Dafa has a very loose organizational structure. There are no fees, no lists of names are kept and one is free to come and go as one pleases. The Taiwan Falun Dafa Study Association was founded on September 5, 1999. The founders included professors Zhang Ch'ing-Hsi, Yeh Shu-chen, and Liu Ying-ch'uan from Taiwan University's Department of Economics, as well as renowned economist Wu Hui-lin.
Many Falun Dafa Organizations Were Formed in Governmental Agencies
Many practitioners who benefited both physically and mentally from the cultivation practice formed Falun Dafa communities and organizations in the government agencies where they work, to teach other people the exercises. Falun Dafa practitioners can be seen practicing in the Central Bank, Postal Hospital, Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Relations, Immigration Bureau, Agriculture Commission, Bureau of Health, Bureau of Meteorology, Bureau of National Trade, Bureau of Customs and Taxation, Bureau of Police, Chunghwa Telecom, and various city and county governments. During lunch time at the Customs Building at the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport in Taoyuan, you can also see Falun Gong practitioners taking time out of their busy work day to practice the exercises.
These practice sites have had a wide impact. Employees of other nearby government agencies and some non-working people also came during lunch time to learn the practice or join the Fa study groups. Some practitioners were invited to other agencies to teach the exercises. Often in these agencies, new Falun Dafa practice sites are then formed. The Central Government Office Building was the location for four Falun Dafa experience-sharing forums for four consecutive weeks. Practitioners also used the opportunity to teach the exercises and promote the practice, leaving a good impression on fellow co-workers.
A community practice site
Photo exhibit at one of the community practice sites
The Popular "Falun Dafa Teachers' Training Camps"
In the last five years, Falun Dafa Teachers' Training Camps have been held in many cities and counties during summer and winter vacations. Falun Gong practitioners who are professionals in other fields, introduce Falun Gong to teachers and employees of elementary and middle schools. This helps the educators put their understanding of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance into their daily teaching. The program is well liked by the Bureau of Education, school principals, and teachers. Teachers can also receive continuing education credits. There are often more than 300 teachers and employees at each training camp. Many principals, school supervisors, directors, and teachers became Falun Dafa practitioners through this program.
Soon after, Falun Gong organizations were formed in various schools. For example, in Ilan Business High School, 95 students signed up when the Falun Gong organization was formed in February 2003. Every semester, the members meet seven times (two hours each time). They also use the lunch hour to study the Fa and practice the exercises. There are 40 to 50 Falun Dafa organizations in colleges and universities across Taiwan.
July 2004 Tai-chung Wu-hsi Teachers' Training Camp
July 2004 P'ing-tung Nei-p'u Teachers' Training Camp
July 2004, Tai-chung Wu-hsi Teachers' Training Camp
Pupils at T'ai-he Elementary School in P'eng-hua City
- Promoting the Practice at Local Festivals, Celebrations, and Sports Meets
To give the public more opportunities to learn about Falun Gong, practitioners often gather on holidays and vacations to do the exercises at famous tourist locations, parks, transit stations, plazas, and in front of department stores. They practice peacefully and play beautiful harmonious melodies; display boards are placed nearby to explain the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The beauty of Falun Dafa is spread to every street of Taiwan. Four years ago, the cover story of the Journalist Magazine was an article entitled, "Taiwan: Base of Falun Gong's Renaissance," which provided an in-depth report about Falun Gong.
Practice and Promotion of the Exercise at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
2004 Senior Sports and Health Meet in Taipei
The Journalist Magazine Cover Four Years ago
At local festivals, celebrations, and sports meets, local Falun Gong practitioners perform large-scale practice demonstrations which are very popular at these events. They have also held "Journey of Falun Dafa" photo exhibits at the same time, further explaining the persecution of Falun Dafa in Mainland China to legislators, local government officials, and citizens.
(To be continued)