As Falun Gong becomes more popular, early signs of state oppression appear. Shortly after they are named bestsellers, Falun Gong books are banned from publication. The first major state-run media article criticizing Falun Gong appears in the Guangming Daily on June 17. Mr. Li moves to the United States.


The Public Security Bureau conducts an investigation into whether Falun Gong should be deemed an "evil cult," but the investigation concludes: "no evidence found thus far."


Police disrupt routine morning Falun Gong exercise sessions in parks and search the homes of Falun Gong practitioners who help organize group activities.

Attacks on Falun Gong continue in state-run media. Falun Gong practitioners respond to the critiques by visiting, and sometimes petitioning outside the local newspaper or television stations in order to explain what Falun Gong is and clear their reputation. Such events take place in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and other major cities.

Chinese media and government surveys report that at least 70 million people in China practice Falun Gong. http://faluninfo.net/article/517/?cid=4

April 1999

He Zuoxiu, a prominent Marxist-atheist, disparages Falun Gong and qigong in general in a Tianjin college magazine. Local Falun Gong practitioners gather in Tianjin, asking the magazine to repair the damage done to their reputation.

Although the gathering is peaceful, on April 23-24, riot police are sent, 45 practitioners are arrested and some are beaten. When practitioners ask Tianjin authorities to release those who were arrested, they are told that the orders came from Beijing, and if they want to petition, they were told, they must go to the capital.

April 25, 1999

The following day, on April 25, over 10,000 practitioners from Beijing, nearby Tianjin, and other cities in the area gather outside the State Council Office of Petitions in Beijing.

The office is located right next door to Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party leaders' residential compound. In spite of the Party's later accusation that Falun Gong practitioners "besieged" Zhongnanhai, the gathering is actually remarkably peaceful and orderly, with practitioners keeping entrances, exits, and footpaths clear - as also reported by Western media.

Practitioners request that those arrested in Tianjin be released, that the ban on publishing Falun Gong books be lifted, and that they be able to resume their practice without government interference.

Then-Prime Minister Zhu Rongji meets with Falun Gong representatives in his office. By the end of the day, those arrested in Tianjin are released and the gathering quietly disperses.

Within hours, however, then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin opposes Zhu's conciliatory position, and states that if it cannot defeat Falun Gong, the Party will become a "laughing stock." April 25 report: http://faluninfo.net/article/518/?cid=4 

June 10, 1999

Jiang Zemin creates the {{610 Office}}, a secret security agency with a mandate to eradicate Falun Gong. Jiang grants it authority over all local levels of police, government, and courts, and the 610 Office later becomes the primary tool for arresting, torturing, and killing the Falun Gong. 610 Office details: http://faluninfo.net/topic/17/

July 1999

From the April 25 gathering until mid July, Falun Gong practitioners throughout China report being followed and interrogated by plainclothes police officers, as the Party collects lists of practitioners and makes final preparations for the ensuing ban.

On July 20, 1999, police begin arresting practitioners who they consider to be key organizers. On July 22, 1999, a media blitz commences. Airwaves, television screens, and newspaper columns are filled with attacks on Falun Gong. Sound trucks drive around city streets and college campuses warning people that practicing Falun Gong is now illegal. Among the ban's stipulations, protesting the ban is also banned.

October 1999

Falun Gong practitioners hold a secret press conference for foreign media in Beijing aiming to expose the persecution they are facing. At the end of the press briefing, participants are arrested. Ms. Ding Yan, one of the practitioners who spoke at the press briefing, is later tortured to death in custody.

Jiang pushes through legislation that retroactively justifies the ban on Falun Gong.

Winter 1999-2000

November 18: The United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution criticizing the Chinese government's suppression of Falun Gong. On November 19, the United States Senate also passed a related resolution.

As rounds of arrests continue and the first reports of deaths from torture in custody emerge, Falun Gong practitioners throughout China travel to Beijing to petition their government and appeal to the world for help by meditating and raising banners on Tiananmen Square. The banners often simply say: "Falun Dafa Hao" (Falun Dafa is Good).

International media repeatedly capture images of police pouncing on people meditating on the square and beating them to the ground before taking them away.

May 13, 2000

May 13, 2000 was the first World Falun Dafa Day, marking the eighth anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa to the public. In over 64 cities around the world, practitioners held colorful celebrations and demonstrated the exercises in parks.

Summer 2000

Falun Gong practitioners publicly appeal almost every day on Tiananmen Square; more than 1,200 are arrested in one-week's time. Facing daily attacks in the state-run media, practitioners in dozens of cities throughout China begin printing and distributing flyers exposing the human rights violations.

January 2001

Staged Immolation on Tiananmen Square: State-run media claim that several Falun Gong practitioners ignited themselves in protests on Tiananmen Square. The so-called self-immolation becomes the centerpiece of the Party's propaganda against Falun Gong and is used to give credence to what had by then become an increasingly unpopular campaign.

Although many foreign media simply copy the reports from Party mouthpieces Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television, the self-immolation incident appears increasingly suspicious, not least because Falun Gong teachings consider suicide a sin. Investigations by the Washington Post and others, most notably slow-motion analysis of the Party's own video footage, poke hole after hole in the Party's version of the story and raise alarming questions. More information on the staged immolation incident: http://faluninfo.net/article/837/

February 14, 2001

Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal reports that China's communist party has "enthusiastically adopted the language and arguments of the Western anti-cult movement in its propaganda against Falun Dafa ... China has attached itself to the anti-cult movement to justify its crackdown."

June 2001

Time magazine comments that "they [the Falun Gong] are not murderers; meanwhile, in its 51-year history ruling China, the Communist Party has been responsible for the death of tens of millions of innocent citizens, including its own supporters. Perhaps the evil cult is Jiang's own party."

November 20, 2001

A group of 35 Falun Gong practitioners from 12 different countries gathers on Tiananmen Square to meditate under a banner that reads: "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" - Falun Gong's principles. They are arrested and beaten within minutes. Similar protests by foreign Falun Gong practitioners continue in the following months. Details: http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=5100

March 5, 2002

Falun Gong practitioners in northeastern Changchun tap into state-run television broadcasts. They air 45 minutes of video that otherwise could not be seen in China, including how Falun Gong is practiced freely outside of China yet persecuted in the mainland. Enraged, Jiang orders police to "shoot to kill" Falun Gong practitioners caught posting informational materials. Details: http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=5397 

Over three days, the city of Changchun turns into chaos as some 5,000 people are arrested. The number of deaths during those days remains unknown. Of those who participated in the broadcast, several are later tortured to death in custody, including Mr. Liu Chengjun, the subject of an Amnesty International urgent action. Similar overriding of broadcast signals continue sporadically throughout China in the following years.

July 2002

U.S. House Resolution No. 188, calling on Jiang Zemin's regime to cease the persecution of Falun Gong, passed unanimously by a 420-0 vote on July 24, 2002.

October 2002

Jiang Zemin visits the United States and is served with a class-action civil lawsuit, charging him and the 610 Office with torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Jiang denies the existence of the lawsuit in China, and pressures the U.S. State Department to dismiss the case.

November 2002

Hu Jintao begins officially taking over the leadership from Jiang Zemin, although Jiang and his highly-placed supporters who have been wedded to the persecution of Falun Gong - primarily Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, Liu Jing, Li Lanqing, and Zeng Qinghong - continue to push the campaign.


January 2003: World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) established. Mission Statement: To investigate the criminal conduct of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the persecution of Falun Gong; to bring such investigation, no matter how long it takes, no matter how far and deep we have to search, to full closure; to exercise fundamental principles of humanity; and to restore and uphold justice in society.

Falun Gong practitioners in China operate thousands of home-based centers for printing flyers and posters exposing human rights abuses, and distribute these in cities and villages throughout China. Some villages report waking up to see Falun Gong flyers in every mailbox and posted in walkways.

July 2004

The number of documented cases of Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of the persecution, mostly due to torture in custody, reaches 1,000. Estimates place the actual number of deaths at over 10,000.

November 2004

The "{{Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party}}," a series of editorials critical of the Party published overseas by The Epoch Times, begins being clandestinely circulated throughout China. Tourists bring copies back from Hong Kong, and others download them from the Internet or receive them in the mail.

The Nine Commentaries includes a chapter about the persecution of Falun Gong, and sets off a wave of denunciations and withdrawals from the Party and its affiliated organizations throughout China and the Chinese diaspora. More information: http://www.ninecommentaries.com/

December 2004

Prominent human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng in Beijing writes to the National People's Congress about the persecution of Falun Gong. In the following months Gao's firm is shut down, he is disbarred, stalked, put under house arrest, and eventually detained - largely because of his outspoken stance on the sensitive Falun Gong issue and because he resigned from the CCP. Attorney Guo Guoting had previously spoken out against the persecution and was subsequently disbarred.

June 2005

The number of documented cases of Falun Gong practitioners killed as a result of the persecution exceeds 2,500.

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin and former 610 Office policeman Hao Fengjun defect to Australia, smuggling out documents. Chen claims there are 1,000 Chinese spies operating in Australia alone. Hao says he left China after witnessing the torture of a Falun Gong practitioner. Details: http://faluninfo.net/article/506/?cid=4

March 2006

A woman who had worked in a Chinese hospital and a Chinese journalist step forward to reveal that Falun Gong practitioners in northeastern Sujiatun are being killed by the thousands for their organs. As evidence from investigation mounts in the following weeks, a Chinese military doctor comes forward to reveal that the atrocities are taking place throughout the country. Organ harvesting overview: http://faluninfo.net/topic/9/

July 2006

Former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour and international human rights attorney David Matas release a report with evidence showing that harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners in China appears more widespread than previously thought. Full report: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/

March 2007

The number of documented cases of Falun Gong practitioners in China killed as a result of the persecution surpasses 3,000. Estimates place the number of actual deaths at many times higher.

May 2008

Over 8,000 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to have been taken into custody from December 2007 - May 2008 as part of a pre-Olympic campaign of arrests. Several practitioners die of torture within days or weeks of being taken into detention, and many others are sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

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