Early days in China

Falun Gong was passed down privately through generations in China, but only in 1992 was it first made public by Mr. Li Hongzhi, as a form of qigong (“qigong is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training.” –Wikipedia).

Government surveys in 1998 estimated that in China alone, 70 to 100 million people of all social levels including government officials, had taken up the practice voluntarily, attesting to its effectiveness. Its primary text “Zhuan Falun” has been translated into 38 languages, published and distributed worldwide.

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This image, taken in Guangzhou, China, shows a typical group practice site. In almost every park, one could hear the peaceful exercise music and see Falun Gong practiced by people of all ages (1998).

1999-present: The Unprecedented Persecution

By 1999, then-Chinese communist party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin felt disturbed by the popularity and independence of the practice: effectively more people practiced Falun Dafa then there were CCP members. Despite Falun Dafa’s theism and moral philosophy of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, he viewed it as a threat to his own power. In July 1999, out of jealousy and despite oppositions within the party, Jiang Zemin launched a nation-wide persecution to “eradicate” Falun Gong.

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Bottom Left: Ms. Zhizhen Dai and her daughter. Her husband was tortured to death for practicing Falun Gong in China Right: Plainclothes police beat practitioners in Tiananmen Square (AP).

Since 1999, millions who stand up for their faith have been arrested and tortured in detention camps. Those who refused to recant disappeared and became vast forced organ donor banks. In June 2016, David Kilgour (former Canadian Secretary of State), David Matas (Canadian human rights lawyer), and Ethan Gutmann (American investigative journalist) released an update concluding that China is transplanting between 60,000 to 90,000 organs a year (vs 33 611/year in the US despite not having an organ donation system) and that the organs come mostly from prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong practitioners.

Despite the persecution, Falun Dafa has flourished around the world. Through peaceful appeals, vigils, and international efforts to bring the persecution to light, more and more people are becoming aware of the human rights crimes perpetuated by the CCP regime. To date, 3538 awards and proclamations have been issued for Falun Gong’s courage by various governments, including Canada, Australia, and the US. For 18 years, the Chinese communist regime has used every means to try break these people’s spirits. Not only has it failed, but Falun Dafa is now practiced and celebrated by millions in every corner of the world.