Falun Gong introduced to the world in Changchun, China.
Mr. Li travels throughout China giving 54 talks and class series on Falun Gong. Classes typically last 8-10 days, two hours per day. Seminars are often arranged by local government-run qigong organizations. Attendees range from a few hundred to upwards of 6,000 per event.
December 11-20, 1993
Mr. Li and select students again participate in Beijing’s Asian Health Expo, held this time at Sanyuanqiao International Exhibition Center. Several awards are bestowed, including that for “Advancing Frontier Science,” the “Special Gold Award,” and “Most Acclaimed Qigong Master.” Falun Gong’s profile grows significantly.
January 4, 1995
Zhuan Falun (转法轮), the complete teachings of Falun Gong and focal book of the practice, is published by Radio & Television Broadcasting Press of China (中国广播电视出版社).
March 13, 1995
Mr. Li begins teaching Falun Gong abroad, starting with a talk given in Paris at the Chinese embassy, initiated at the invitation of China’s ambassador to France. A full seven-day class begins that evening in Paris, followed by a second series in May in Sweden.
As Falun Gong becomes more popular, early signs of state oppression appear. Shortly after Zhuan Falun is listed in January, March, and April as a bestseller by Beijing Youth Daily (北京青年报), Falun Gong books are banned from publication by a July 24 internal order from the China News Publishing Bureau (新闻出版署), an entity under the Ministry of Propaganda. The document accuses Falun Gong of “spreading superstition.” The same year, Mr. Li moves to the United States.
Mr. Li Hongzhi lectures widely around the world, with audiences swelling to the thousands. In that year, he spoke in New York City; Toronto, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; Changchun, China; Singapore; and Geneva, Switzerland.
Attacks on Falun Gong escalate in state-run media even as positive reports continue alongside, suggesting internal divisions among China’s political leadership. Falun Gong practitioners respond to criticisms by visiting, and sometimes petitioning outside, local newspaper or television stations seeking greater accuracy in reporting. Such events take place in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and other major cities.
July 21, 1998
Bureau No. 1 of the Ministry of Public Security issues Document  No. 555, titled, “Notice of the Investigation of Falun Gong,” claims that Falun Gong is a heretical cult. The Ministry begins a series of investigations, seeking evidence in support of the conclusion. Means include tapping phone lines, monitoring volunteers, raiding homes, confiscating personal belongings. Various forms of (unlawful) harassment ensue at the hands of Chinese police, including disruption of public morning exercise sessions with water cannons and the closure of certain sites. Homes are ransacked in some areas.
The National Sports Commission of China launches its own investigation into Falun Gong. The head investigator, dispatched to northeastern China, declared on October 20 that, “We’re convinced the exercises and effects of Falun Gong are excellent. It has done an extraordinary amount to improve society’s stability and ethics. This should be duly affirmed.”
February 14, 1999
An official from China’s National Sports Commission, speaking with U.S. News & World Report, intimates that as many as 100 million may have taken up the practice. The official highlights the costs the practice is saving China’s national health care system, declaring that, “Premier Zhu Rongji is very happy about that.”
April 25, 1999
Some 10,000-plus Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appeal outside the Central Appeals Office, adjacent to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, in Beijing, to raise concerns over the arrest and beatings of 45 members the prior day in Tianjin by a Tianjing Public Security Bureau SWAT team.
July 20, 1999
Dozens of prominent Falun Gong volunteers are arrested throughout China and have their homes ransacked by police. Tens of thousands travel to the Central Appeals Office in response.
Falun Gong adherents 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 adherents who spoke at the press briefing, is later tortured to death in custody. This was the first time the Western media had heard about the persecution directly from Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Jiang pushes through legislation that retroactively justifies the ban on Falun Gong. (Human Rights Watch report)
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 most foreign media simply copy-paste 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 (http://faluninfo.net/tiananmen/immolation.asp).
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. (report1 / report2)
March 5, 2002
Falun Gong practitioners in northeastern Changchun city tap into state-run television broadcasts. They air 45 minutes of video that otherwise cannot be seen in China, including how Falun Gong is practiced freely outside of China yet persecuted in the mainland. (news)
Enraged, Jiang orders police to “shoot to kill” Falun Gong adherents caught posting informational materials (news).
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 (news). Of those who participate in the broadcast, several are later tortured to death in custody, including Mr. Liu Chengjun, the subject of an Amnesty International urgent action (news). Similar overrunning of broadcast signals continues sporadically throughout China in the following years.
The first lawsuit was filed against then Chinese head of state Jiang Zemin and the 610 Office for genocide, torture, and conspiracy to commit violations of civil rights, among other crimes within the jurisdiction of the United States.
The “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” a series of editorials critical of the Party published overseas by The Epoch Times (www.ninecommentaries.com), begins being clandestinely circulated throughout China (www.ninecommentaries.com); tourists bring copies back from Hong Kong, others download them from the Internet or receive them in the mail.
The Nine Commentaries includes a chapter about the persecution of Falun Gong (full chapter text), and sets of a wave of denunciations and withdrawals from the Party and its affiliated organizations throughout China and the Chinese diaspora (see http://www.ninecommentaries.com/).
The first Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance Art Exhibition is held in Walker Memorial at MIT in Boston. The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and four state legislators recognize Falun Dafa and its founder Mr Li Hongzhi, for contributions to the humanities in Massachusetts.
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. (http://organharvestinvestigation.net/)
Falun Gong books legal again, but policy kept quiet, no books published.
1.5 million people worldwide sign a petition to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for “an immediate end to forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China.”
172 members of US Congress co-sponsor resolution against organ harvesting, while the European Parliament passes a resolution opposing forced organ harvesting in Strasbourg, France, expressing: “deep concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China”.
Labor camps close but imprisonments rise.
Investigative journalist and China watcher Ethan Gutmann publishes his book “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem” in which he lays evidence of state-sanctioned organ harvesting.
Criminal complaints against dictator Jiang Zemin exceed 250 000.
- Falun Gong practiced in 80+ countries
- Falun Gong books in 40 languages
- 300 million Chinese renounced Party affiliations
- Persecution continues