1992

Falun Gong introduced to the world in Changchun, China.

1992- 1994

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

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

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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.

1996

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.

By the mid-1990s, Falun Gong exercise sites like this one in Guangzhou were a common sight throughout China.

1998-1999

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Mr. Li Hongzhi lectures at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in Geneva in 1998.

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

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Police spray water at Falun Gong practitioners in China doing exercises in a group

Bureau No. 1 of the Ministry of Public Security issues Document [1998] 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.

May-October 1998

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

Peaceful appeal at Zhongnanhai, China.

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

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Falun Gong practitioners under persecution.

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.

October 1999

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.