(Clearwisdom.net) "Currently there are about 500,000 to 600,000 people practicing Falun Gong in Taiwan, whereas the number was only about 10,000 before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999," said Chang Ching-hsi, Director of the Falun Dafa Association of Taiwan and Professor of Economics at the National Taiwan University. Chang Ching-hsi said that Falun Gong was introduced to Taiwan in 1995, but the rapid growth of people practicing Falun Gong started after the international media published a large amount of reports on the "April 25" peaceful appeal in 1999. Many people came to learn Falun Gong out of curiosity or because of the miraculous effects in healing and keeping fit. As the number of practitioners increased rapidly, the number of exercise sites also increased from 160 to about 1,000.

Taiwan "China Times" reports, "Taoyuan District Prosecutor's Office Sets up Falun Gong Association"

What is Falun Gong and what was the appeal about? These were very much unfamiliar issues for people in Taiwan. The CCP tried very hard to demonize Falun Gong with its lies. However, this led to more people wanting to learn Falun Gong. The China Times reported that the Taoyuan District Prosecutor's Office set up a Falun Gong Association on June 18, 2001, with about 50 people registering on the day. Although the Chief Prosecutor Chen Shou-Huang was a Christian and Falun Gong was a controversial topic in the Mainland, Mr. Chen Shou-Huang identified with Falun Gong's principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" and agreed to set up the association.

Initially Falun Gong spread by word of mouth, but the "April 25" appeal rapidly promoted Falun Gong in the international arena. At that point many people in Taiwan came to learn about Falun Gong, and the nine-day Falun Gong workshops were always packed.

Over the past ten years, the CCP has never stopped its persecution or fabrication of lies about Falun Gong. When the persecution began, the CCP vowed to "wipe out Falun Gong within three months." However, the more desperate the CCP became, the more people in Taiwan came to know about Falun Gong. The CCP's persecution has utterly failed to wipe out Falun Gong.

CCP Demonizing Falun Gong Helps More People See the Persecution for What It Is

Liu Wen-Ge from China Telecom said, "I still remember that day in 1999. From the news reports I learned that a cultivation group was banned and branded an 'evil cult' by the CCP. I was watching television at the time, and my curiosity made me watch intently to find what the group was, and why the CCP had mobilized all its media to spread such negative news about Falun Gong around the world, and on such a scale.

"There are a variety of religious organizations in Taiwan, and there are news reports in the media about some lawless people who swindled people out of their money, all in the name of religion. The media reported the news and the judicial department punished the perpetrators in accordance with the law. I had never heard of a government listing a religious organization as an "evil cult". Since the CCP is notorious for its appalling human rights record, such a bad government really has no moral authority whatsoever to brand any cultivation group as an evil cult. I thought that something listed as bad by the wicked CCP might actually be good.

"At the time, the news on TV was reporting very negatively about Falun Gong, but the footage shown was a group of people sitting around a fountain in the United States doing a very peaceful exercise. The scene attracted me and I could not link it with the word 'evil'. Falun Gong was, at this time, still very much unknown in Taiwan, and it was the first time for me to know the name "Falun Gong" from the news reports. About one month later, a friend of mine handed me a copy of Zhuan Falun, and said it was a high level cultivation way and it was very good. When I asked what the exercise was, my friend said it was Falun Gong. Wasn't that what I had just learned about from the news? With great interest I decided to learn more about Falun Gong.

"After reading through Zhuan Falun, I found that it was really a very good book, which teaches people to cultivate their "xinxing" and how to be a good person in society. It also teaches people to measure everything with the principles of 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance'. Such a good exercise had been slandered and demonized on an international scale by the CCP. I really wanted to say that Falun Gong had been wrongly accused.

"This was how I became a practitioner. In recalling the path of the past ten years, I found that as long as I improve my xinxing in accordance with the requirements of the book and do the five sets of exercises, I can become a good person with a healthy mind and body. I began to take a more positive attitude toward family, work and society, always thought about others before myself, never had a competitive nature or fought with other people, and so my health improved daily and I have never used my medi-care card, nor taken any medicine. As a result, one after the other, my family members became practitioners. My mother is 76 years old and perfectly healthy, and she often shares her experiences with our neighbors. After reading Zhuan Falun, my elder brother said that it had changed his outlook on life. He said that he knew better now how to face his life and how to conduct himself in society. "

Getting to Know Falun Gong from the "April 25" Peaceful Appeal Laid the Foundation for Practicing Cultivation Later on

Pan Li-zhao from Taichung said that she had never heard of Falun Gong prior to the "April 25" appeal. One day, at the end of April 1999, she heard the news about the persecution of Falun Gong from the news on television. The name Falun Gong stuck in her mind and laid down the foundation for her later on.

Pan Li-zhao was an employee of the Sunlinksea Forest Recreational Area in Nantou County. Her duties included working in the shops and hotels as a tourist guide. She had a problem with her elbow, which left one arm so weak that she could not even wring out a towel. She could not find a cure anywhere, and after suffering for about two years, she found information about Falun Gong. Pan Li-zhao said, "I was very lucky to leave the forest, so that I could have the opportunity to learn Falun Gong." Ms. Pan already believed in Buddhism and liked to visit temples. Her friends all knew that she was searching for a true cultivation way, so they advised her to read Zhuan Falun. She said that she would never forget June 13, 1999, when she started to learn Falun Gong, which changed her life. On her way to visit a doctor in Taipei, she stopped at a bookstore and bought a copy of Zhuan Falun. After reading only a few chapters, she could feel the profound inner meaning of the book and knew it was no ordinary book.

Pan Li-Zhao said, "Previously I knew nothing about Qigong and had no interest in learning it. However, after reading Zhuan Falun, I found it was the genuine Buddha Law, and I was eager to find a practice site." After only hearing of Falun Gong for less than three months, her xinxing had undergone a great change for the better.

Pan Li-Zhao said that before practicing Falun Gong, she was quite confrontational, no matter what the situation. She loved to outshine others and spoke with an overbearing air. Her husband called her a "small hot chile" because of her hot temper. After practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Pan began to abide by the principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance", and used these principles in her daily life. She always remembered that she was a practitioner and looked inward in all matters. As a result, her character and temper improved dramatically. She became gentler and more considerate of others.

In addition, Ms. Pan also found that her elbow problem had disappeared. Ms. Pan said, "During the early days of practicing Falun Gong, I only knew that the exercises were good and I had never expected Falun Gong to heal my illnesses. However, before I knew it, they were all gone."

After witnessing the great changes in his wife, Ms. Pan's husband Mr. Gu gradually enlightened to the meaning of cultivation. One and a half years after his wife learned Falun Gong, Mr. Gu became a practitioner himself and has cultivated diligently ever since.

Taiwan Has Become a Source of Energy for Spreading the Fa Globally

Since the "April 25" appeal, the number of people who have come to learn Falun Gong has increased dramatically, and people's curiosity around the world has continued to grow. European practitioners organized activities to promote the Fa beginning in October 2001, and practitioners from Taiwan became a main driving force behind these activities. They traveled to twelve countries in Europe including Austria, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. The Taiwan practitioners even went as far away as Russia.

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Taiwan practitioners' truth-clarification trip to Europe from 2001 to 2003

A practitioner from Britain said that the practitioners from Taiwan had put in a lot of time and money to make the trip. One Taiwanese practitioner had already used up all her leave from work, but believed that it was very important for them to come to Europe, so she quit her job to be able to come. Out of good intention, her boss said he would find a temporary replacement while she was gone, but she declined the offer because she thought it would be very hard on her boss and it would not be fair to her replacement. She told her boss, "Let the person who replaces me work full time and I can work as a temporary worker, filling in for people at the company when they go on leave."

Hotels in Europe were very expensive, so in order to save money the Taiwanese practitioners always arranged their travel at night, so as to save on accommodation costs. In London they stayed in camp grounds and used their own sleeping bags. In Switzerland they stayed in air-raid shelters and in Sweden they stayed in schools or gymnasiums. In one European city alone, the Taiwanese practitioners printed tens of thousands of truth-clarification materials, helping to solve a problem of financial difficulties for the local practitioners.

The Taiwanese practitioners were not accustomed to Western food, so they brought their own instant noodles and biscuits from Taiwan. They also didn't eat anything during the activities and waited until the evening to cook for themselves. But still, they never had any complaints. Wherever they went, they would start to clarify the truth right away. In Madrid they began to distribute truth-clarification materials as soon as they got off the plane. They did not say much, but worked very hard.

Their energetic way of coordination left a deep impression on local practitioners. On a trip from Brussels to the Hague, their train was delayed for a few minutes, so they used that time to unload over one hundred pieces of luggage and boxes of truth-clarification materials and put them into an underground storage area. In order to save time, a gray-haired male practitioner handled all the luggage from beginning to end. Then they left for the activity. This was not the outcome of organization or training, but of genuine compassion.

When Ms. Li Qiu-Ying talked about her trip to promote Falun Gong, she said, "In the morning on October 23, 2001, we were practicing the exercises in Madrid and holding a banner with the words 'Falun Dafa in Spain'. I was standing in a square, hoping that kind-hearted people would come to learn the facts about the persecution of Falun Gong. In the afternoon we joined a grand parade and proceeded down the street with a solemn presence. It not only attracted people in the street, but also those in the shops. One lady crossed her heart in front of every photo of the practitioners who died as a result of the inhuman torture, and her eyes were red from crying. Another lady followed us, wanting to read every banner and photo caption. Finally, she stopped a Western practitioner who was holding a banner and asked for more detailed information. I choked with emotion in seeing her excited expression. Large quantities of truth-clarification materials were passed on to the hands of the onlookers."

The Truth Will Eventually Be Out in the Open

Mr. Xiao Yu-Cheng, a real estate agent, recalled that when he was at work and watching the news on TV, he saw the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, being interviewed. Mr. Li spoke with a peaceful tone and his face glowed with radiance. Mr. Xiao immediately had the opinion that Mr. Li was truly a good person, but why did the CCP want to persecute him? What was more, he also saw a copy of Zhuan Falun, which also shined with radiance and was rotating on the TV screen. This footage touched Mr. Xiao so deeply that he rushed to a bookshop and bought a copy of Zhuan Falun. On the same day, he read through the book in one sitting. Then he bought all the other related books and exercise tapes, and began to practice at home.

Mr. Xiao Yu-Cheng said that he has practiced the exercises for nearly ten years. He used to be hot tempered and, over the years, had accumulated a lot of bad habits. One or two years after he learned Falun Gong, his "xinxing" had changed and a lot of the bad habits had disappeared. Upon witnessing these changes, his wife also came to learn Falun Gong.

Mr. Xiao said that the greatest influence on him was a change in his morality. He said that as a businessman, he often put personal interest above everything else and would measure everything with money. Now he is not preoccupied with his personal gains and losses like in the past.