The Peaceful Journey of Falun Gong Practitioners
(Dec. 3, 2000)
Throughout history, people have longed for peace and harmony and great leaders of high moral and spiritual qualities have risen up to offer a way.
Two thousand five hundred years ago, Socrates refused to compromise his teaching of truth - even unto his death. Thus, Plato and Western philosophy were born. Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth offered people a new life through his teachings of higher laws. He died staying true to what he taught while showing compassion to those who crucified him. From his teachings Christianity was born. Mahatma Ghandi's path of deep spiritual foundation and non-violent resistance first brought liberty to the people of India then peace to the warring Muslims and Hindus through his own self-sacrifice.
These great individuals left lasting impressions upon our pages of history not through demands or struggles but through their commitment to peace--exemplified by their own actions.
Today, we would like to tell you of an unequalled journey of peace currently happening in our world -- the Peaceful Journey of Falun Gong.
In 1992 Mr. Li Hongzhi made public in China, a teaching passed down from antiquity. Since then, his teachings have restored virtues and peace in millions of individual human beings around the world.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient cultivation practice. It teaches people the universal principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, as well as 5 sets of beautiful and gentle exercises that purify one's body. The principles explained in the main book Zhuan Falun guide people to "cultivate" their morals, virtues, and inner selves by incorporating the principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance into their everyday lives.
In Zhuan Falun Master Li teaches:
"If everyone searches in his inner-self and thinks about how to conduct himself well, I would say that the society will be stabilized and the human moral standard will move back up."
"You should always maintain a heart of compassion and kindness toward others and think of others before doing anything. There will not be any problem if the first thing that you think of whenever encountering a problem is whether others can put up with this matter and if it will hurt anyone. Therefore you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself when you practice cultivation."
Falun Gong has no political affiliation, no religious intent, and no commercial motivation. Volunteer practitioners offer all Falun Gong classes around the world absolutely free to the public. No money or donations are ever accepted.
Embraced in China
Falun Gong is a guide that empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own actions towards truth and peace and to look within to build a solid character of compassion and benevolence.
Nowhere has this powerful effect on an entire society been better exemplified than in China.
Millions of people of all ages and all levels of society in China embraced Falun Gong and witnessed fantastic changes in their health, inner-peace, and all their relationships in life.
Lili Feng a Chinese practitioner said: "What I could sense was a spiritual uplifting and joy that I had never experienced before. I could see that I was becoming cleaner and prettier as I gained altruism in my heart. I knew these were all brought about by the power of Falun Dafa."
Ms. Chen Zixiu's family members noticed remarkable changes in their 58-year-old mother. "She smiles more. Her short temper changed to a softer and more tolerant disposition." Ms Chen's family realized that the teachings of Falun Dafa had changed their mother and inspired her to become a kinder and more peaceful person.
In Zhuan Falun Master Li teaches his students:
"When you take a step back in a conflict, you will find the sea and the sky boundless and there will surly be another scene."
Friends and family members who notice the change towards more peace, health, and happiness in Falun Gong practitioners' lives are drawn to the teachings and become Falun Gong practitioners themselves.
The health benefits of practicing Falun Gong eased the pressure on the Government's health care system. As an official from the People's Republic of China sports commission stated in a February 1999 article in the U.S. News and World Report:
"Falun Gong and other types of Qi gong can save each person 1,000 Yuan in annual medical fees. If 100 million people are practising it, that's 100 billion Yuan saved per year in medical fees. Premier Zhu Rongji is very happy about that. The country could use the money right now."
From 1992 to 1999 the Chinese government welcomed Falun Gong as a breath of fresh air. They licensed, supported, endorsed, and gave awards to Falun Gong. Tens of thousands of practitioners were invited to national sports events to demonstrate the peaceful and beautiful Falun Gong exercises.
Since 1992 Falun gong has spread across China faster than any other teaching in history. In less than seven years, over 100 million people in 40 countries around the world have adopted Falun Gong. One hundred million people around the world now incorporate the profound principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance into their daily lives.
Persecuted in China
In 1999, a Chinese government survey revealed that over 70 million people practiced Falun Dafa in China alone. Chinese president Jiang Zemin saw this popularity as a potential threat.
Slanderous articles against Falun Gong started to appear in newspapers and magazines. However, articles submitted to clarify these false accusations were refused publication.
On April 23rd 1999 a few dozen Falun Gong practitioners who peacefully appealed to their local government were arrested and beaten publicly by the police.
On April 25th, practitioners in nearby areas who heard about this decided to appeal directly to the Central Government in Beijing. Ten thousand practitioners spontaneously and peacefully showed up in Zhongnanhai, the government compound in Beijing, to appeal. The New York Times reported:
"Unlike student protesters who noisily thronged the streets of Beijing with colorful banners and offensive slogans 10 years ago, Sunday's demonstrators drew no attention to themselves and attracted no notice until there were suddenly many thousand of them sitting quietly in one of the most politically sensitive locations in the nation."
Premier Zhu Rongji saw the practitioners at the compound gate. He talked to them and allowed several practitioners to meet with government officials inside. After those few practitioners presented their cases and returned in the evening, all practitioners went home just as quietly and peacefully as they had come. In all of China's history this was a landmark in peaceful negotiation.
However, President Jiang Zemin decided to label this peaceful appeal as an action to overthrow the government. He used the event to justify his persecution of Falun Gong.
On July 22 1999, Falun Gong was officially banned in China. In the middle of the night authorities across China arrested hundreds of Falun Gong contact people and ransacked their homes.
Within the 16 months that followed,
- Over 50,000 peaceful and innocent practitioners were arrested and beaten.
- Over 25,000 peaceful and innocent practitioners were sent to forced-labor camps (jail) without trial.
- Tens of thousands of peaceful practitioners had their rights to education, work, and housing taken away for refusing to give up their beliefs.
- Over 800 healthy practitioners were sent to psychiatric hospitals and given forced daily over dose injections of anti-psychotic drugs and abused with electric shocks.
- Hundreds of innocent practitioners were jailed and given harsh sentences for up to lifetime imprisonment in token trials.
- All Lawyers were threatened not to represent any Falun Gong practitioners.
- Millions of Falun Gong books and tapes were confiscated and burned in public.
- At least 90 innocent practitioners died as a result of torture in police custody, as reported by the Human Rights Center in Hong Kong.
A massive State run smear campaign started to broadcast lies and hate propaganda about Falun Gong and its founder Mr. Li Hongzhi. This even continues today. Communications with the outside world are blocked. Falun Gong web sites are shut down. Telephones are tapped, E-mail is monitored, and foreign reporters are threatened or detained for contacting Falun Gong practitioners. Throughout China, the persecution and propaganda vilifying Falun Gong is forced into every community and state-run workplace.
People seen practicing the exercises or even talking about Falun Gong are immediately arrested. Police reward people who report on their neighbors seen practicing or talking about Falun Gong even in the privacy of their own homes.
Practitioners are attacked, beaten, tortured, electrocuted, starved, raped, and killed.
Millions of dollars and all available government manpower is used to fuel President Jiang Zemin's personal vendetta "to intensify the crackdown, to destroy Falun Gong's reputation and to eliminate Falun Gong within three months."
True Nature Revealed - China
Master Li states:
"In the face of trials, ones true nature is revealed."
A female practitioner was arrested and put in jail. She was put into a cell where no one else wanted to go. A drug-addicted woman lay on the floor covered in vomit and urine. She had been there for many days. The entire cell reeked. As the lady continued to vomit, the practitioner used her bare hands to brush the vomit away from the lady's face to keep her from choking and to keep her dry. The kindness and compassion that naturally came from this practitioner's heart moved this lady to tears. "You treat me like your own child," she said. "I have never been treated with so much kindness. When I get out of here I'm going to learn Falun Dafa."
Police arrested a male practitioner. His shirt was ripped off his back. He was beaten on his bare skin in the baking sun. When the officer stopped to catch his breath, the practitioner turned around, bent over, picked up his ripped shirt and offered it to the policeman to wipe his sweaty face. The kindness and selflessness of this practitioner moved the officer to tears.
A very old farmer sat alone and exhausted in Tiananmen Square. He had walked hundreds of miles in order to be heard. The police approached the old man. Quietly and slowly he pulled several pairs of worn-out handmade shoes from a bag and looked at the guard. "I have come a long way to be here. All I want to say is: Falun Dafa is good and the government is wrong to persecute it."
Master Li teaches his students:
"We are not against the government now, nor will we be in the future. Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies."
As the persecution continues to escalate, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners within China continue to stand up for the truth, knowing full well that it means losing their jobs, pensions, housing, families, and even their lives.
The practitioners know it is not the individual people that President Jiang Zemin is persecuting. It is the universal principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance that is being attacked. If the practitioners denounce Falun Gong and it's principles they are free to go home. But in their hearts the practitioners know the hopeless dark future of a society that lets these pure traits of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance be eliminated.
And so, amidst this unparalleled evil, torture and death, peaceful Falun Gong practitioners continue to persevere:
For Truth, they continue to selflessly appeal, despite the lies, defamation and humiliation;
With Compassion, they continue to selflessly appeal, for the opportunity and hope for others and future generations;
With Forbearance, they continue to selflessly appeal, without any retaliation or hatred despite the severe and inhuman treatment they have received.
These Falun Gong practitioners have taken ultimate responsibility to live the very essence of peace within themselves as they are brutally tested to see how true they are to this precious teaching of Falun Dafa.
True Nature Revealed -- Overseas
Meanwhile, throughout the world, Falun Gong practitioners have worked tirelessly to support their fellow Chinese practitioners. As the Universal Declaration on Human Rights affirmed more than half a century ago:
"Basic human rights are not cultural, but universal; what a country does to people within its own borders is not its business alone, but the business of all of us."
Falun Gong practitioners have shown with their own conduct that standing up for virtue, peace and justice is the right and responsibility of every human being.
Practitioners have appealed to the United Nations and all governments around the world, including China, to stop the persecution and resolve the crisis with peaceful dialog. They have written thousands and thousands of letters describing their personal experiences of benefit to their lives and their families through practicing Falun Gong. They have met with their local government officers, calling for support to examine the situation and act as a mediator in establishing a dialog with China.
They have organized group demonstrations in front of UN summits, Parliament buildings, and in public parks to demonstrate the beautiful and peaceful Falun Gong exercises. At the UN Millennium Summit in New York in September 2000, a police officer on site commented: "I have never seen such a peaceful and beautiful protest in my life! Your silence speaks volumes for the peaceful nature of your group."
Practitioners have worked closely with human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Rights and Democracy to reveal the truth of China's persecution to the world.
They have reached out to all kind-hearted people through flyers, open-fora, and by collecting signatures, working to establish a common effort to preserve peace and justice in the world.
They have reached out to all levels of the media, in order to clarify the defaming propaganda spread by the Chinese government, and to tell the real story of Falun Gong.
They are everyday people from all walks of life who have learned to speak in front of the media, to make presentations to high-level government officials, to prepare flyers, to write books, to make newspapers, television and radio programs, in order to safeguard the precious principles of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance.
At the same time, they have continued to serve their communities by offering the peaceful energy of Falun Gong seminars and classes to the public in community centers, libraries, and parks voluntarily and absolutely free of charge.
The most significant thing is: under such difficult suppression, they continue to remain true and pure to the teachings of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance throughout all their efforts. They have contacted governments of all levels worldwide, without being involved in any political power struggles. They have worked with all levels of media, celebrities, and organizations, without pursuing any fame or gain. They have clarified the truth to the world with only their pure hearts and their own finances--without soliciting others--as they are forced to face the Chinese Government's vicious million-dollar defamation program that has extended into other countries.
Falun Gong practitioners around world, like the practitioners in China, have demonstrated the spirit of true peace and virtue that resonates from the essence of Truthfulness-Compassion- Tolerance in their hearts.
Recognized in the World
Good people around the world are starting to support the truth of Falun Gong. Hundreds of government officials in Canada and the United States have honored Falun Gong.
The Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada wrote in her letter of greeting for Falun Dafa Week:
"The men and women who follow the precepts of the Falun Dafa ... wish to live in symbiosis with the universe and experience inner peace. They cultivate the will to live in peace with themselves and in harmony with the universe, thus learning compassion for others and helping to create a more open and tolerant society..."
Mark Palmer, Vice-Chairman of Freedom House voiced his admiration for the conduct of the practitioners under persecution in China. He stated:
"...Falun Dafa, is the greatest single spiritual movement which will define our time...it is in my judgement the greatest single movement in Asia today. There is nothing that begins to compare with it in terms of courage and importance. So Freedom House feels very strongly that Falun Gong deserves the world's support..."
Members of the House of Lords in The United Kingdom stated:
"Falun Gong is an entirely peaceful belief system which encourages the highest standards of moral behavior among its adherents." "These people are not only harmless but also deeply respectable".
Rising Up in History
Never before has the world witnessed a movement of such large scale; where millions of people are standing up for truth and peace with unequalled selflessness, compassion, and exceptional forbearance in the face of such vicious and brutal persecution.
As we watch what has unfolded in China since the public introduction of Falun Gong, we cannot help being moved by the courage, faith, compassion, and forbearance of the Falun Dafa practitioners.
History has taught us the power of forbearance. While the seemingly strong and invincible quickly fade from memory, the virtuous and oppressed are long-remembered by future generations.
History has also taught us that peace and harmony are ultimately accomplished by the benevolent actions of brave and compassionate people who are willing to suffer for the sake of goodness. Just as Socrates, Jesus, and Mahatma Ghandi took great responsibility to guide people towards peace and morality in the past...
... Now, to all people in the world who embrace Truth-Compassion-Tolerance in their hearts, Falun Dafa has risen up to offer a way.
We thank you sincerely for this opportunity to share our truth with you.
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