Health Survey of 10,000 Falun Gong Practitioners in Beijing Remembered
(Minghui.org) The Beijing television station broadcast false reports about Falun Gong in June 1998. Practitioners told the staff at the station about Falun Gong and how they had benefited from this cultivation practice.
This was known as the “Beijing TV Station Incident,” and it actually promoted Falun Gong, and more and more people came to learn it. Falun Gong practice sites popped up all over Beijing.
I taught at Beijing Union Medical College at the time. My colleague Mr. Lin told me in September 1998 that the National Sports Commission required all qigong groups to register.
So that Falun Gong would be "legal," the Falun Gong Research Association planned to register with the commission. To do that, we needed accounts of practitioners whose health had improved.
No Problem Finding People that Benefited from Falun Gong
Mr. Lin and I went to the State Sports General Administration at Xiannongtan Stadium. We were told that we needed to document that at least 30 practitioners had recovered from illness, and, of course, the more the better.
Master Li Hongzhi started to teach Falun Gong publically in 1992, and the practice spread rapidly in the following years. In the parks, squares, street sides, and vacant lots, you could see people doing the Falun Gong exercises early in the morning. Most people did not know each other, although they saw each other every morning.
Most practice sites featured a yellow banner that briefly described Falun Gong. Two or three practitioners made sure that everyone did the exercises correctly and taught the movements to newcomers.
Because there were so many people practicing Falun Gong, we had no trouble collecting accounts from those that benefited from the practice.
Following the Falun Gong Principles No Matter What
Mr. Lin, who was born in a village in southern China, was young and energetic. He started to practice Falun Gong in 1994. He worked hard, got high scores in the university entrance exams, and was accepted by Beijing Union College to study for his Master's degree in biology. His adviser asked him to go for his doctorate.
He had to do an experiment that required killing hundreds of white mice. Falun Gong practitioners are forbidden to kill, so he asked his adviser if he could do another experiment, but his adviser said no. If he did not meet the requirements, he would not get his Ph.D. and a teaching position at that University and would have to return home. After much thought, Mr. Li wrote a letter saying that he was ready to return home. His adviser changed his mind, so Mr. Li earned his Ph.D. and was given a teaching position.
Survey a Genuine Reflection of Cultivation
Several teachers and students at Union Medical College practiced Falun Gong. They got together and put forth many ideas on how to collect data about Falun Gong's health benefits. They finally decided to conduct an epidemiological survey, which deals with incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population, and to sample Beijing practitioners.
In this survey, practitioners provided comparisons of their physical and mental health before and after they practiced Falun Gong. Any practitioner who was in ill health before they practiced Falun Gong could participate. Because of time constraints, they focused on practitioners in Beijing, although practitioners from surrounding counties learned about the survey and participated.
Mr. Lin drafted the survey form, and we showed it to a professor of epidemiology. He said that, although the form was simple, it would be adequte, but a large population would need to be surveyed. The more accounts, the more reliable the results would be. The professor also suggested that it would be beneficial if each account presented test results from before and after the people practiced Falun Gong.
We did not take this suggestion, because we were not surveying the changes in test indicators of patients before and after taking medication. We were surveying practitioners' holistic physical changes before and after practicing Falun Gong.
Practitioners were asked to describe:1. Their health before and after practicing Falun Gong2. Their physical condition before and after practicing Falun Gong3. Their mental state before and after practicing Falun Gong
For our survey, all we needed to know was the condition of their health before and after practicing Falun Gong.
How practitioners saw changes in their health was related to how they enlightened to the Falun Gong principles. There were no rules or requirements. Therefore, how they completed this survey form depended on how they observed and understood changes in their health since practicing Falun Gong. It reflected how they improved their xinxing, which led to changes in their body. So the survey should be a genuine reflection of their cultivation.
Medical Indicators May Give False Readings
After the onset of the persecution, some attacked this survey. They pointed out that no test indicators were used to prove the changes in those surveyed, saying if there were no test indicators, it could not be proven that the practitioners had recovered.
Among the over 10,000 practitioners surveyed, 50% had more than three illnesses, while 90% suffered from one illness. Many had chronic and difficult or even incurable illnesses. They recovered after practicing Falun Gong for a short time.
Even if the practitioners were asked to take all the tests, the test results would not reflect whether their overall condition was good or bad. Our survey, given the three survey questions, reflected the overall condition of a practitioner.
According to cases published in articles on the Minghui website, many practitioners were free of any illness symptoms after they practiced Falun Gong. Many no longer needed any medication after they started to practice.
Practitioner Ms. Ma Zhongbo suffered from bilateral femoral head necrosis, as confirmed by a CT scan. She was not able to walk and had to crawl. She also had other ailments. After she practiced Falun Gong for only three days, she could walk normally. Her doctor heard her story and did another CT scan, and it showed no change. The doctor thought it was very strange.
Actually, it was not strange. Another doctor did a bone density test and found that her bone density was very high. The doctor concluded that she had recovered, although the surface of the femoral head showed no change. Ordinary people might not understand this.
What we want to say here is that medical indicators may not reflect the true situation. Someone felt generally unwell, but medical tests showed that everything was normal. Yet someone else didn't have normal medical indicators, but he felt all right. This is not uncommon in clinical practice.
Collecting and Finalizing the Data
We gave the sample survey form to the Beijing Assistance Center. The form was then distributed to practice sites. The assistants at the practice sites gave them to local practitioners, who then completed the forms and turned them over to us.
Elderly practitioners were the major group surveryed, and they had little education. Yet it did not stump them. They asked for help to complete the survey. Given the coordination among assistants, the survey forms were completed quickly. Within one week, we received over 10,000 forms.
After the forms were returned, we screened and entered the data into a database and eliminated incomplete forms. Only a few practitioners had personal computers, and one practitioner got permission to use his workplace computer at night.
More than 30 practitioners helped with entering the data. It took three nights and one Sunday to complete the data entry of 14,000 forms. Many practitioners worked during the day and entered the data at night. They came, worked, and left when the job was finished without leaving their names.
We entered data from 12,731 forms. Mr. Lin analyzed the data and wrote the report. Other practitioners made suggestions and perfected it. Mr. Lin worked during the day at his regular job and spent several nights completing the first draft. The Assistance Center asked several medical specialists and professors to review it. They made some valuable suggestions before we completed the final version.
Practitioners' Firm Belief Cannot Be Changed
This period has become a part of history. After the onset of the persecution, the practitioners at the Beijing Union Medical College were fired. Some were beaten and tortured. Some were detained, some were taken to forced labor camps, and some were imprisoned. Some became disabled because of the persecution. Some were mentally impaired. Some are still destitute and cannot go home because of the persecution.
However, no persecution can change true Falun Gong practitioners. Practitioners' firm belief in Falun Gong cannot be changed by any beings.