- WASHINGTON, D.C.
- We have called this press conference today because, as we all know,
we currently have a crisis situation in China. If we allow things to escalate
any further, no one, not the Chinese government nor Falun Dafa practitioners,
will stand to benefit. The kind of brutal suppression that has been displayed
this past week by the Chinese authorities has not been seen since the
Tiananmen incident ten years ago. And the kind of scare tactics and ideological
"re-education" programs that are being used seem like some throwback
to an era that is better forgotten.
- Is China and the rest of the world really prepared to
see yet another Cultural Revolution? With the lives of tens of millions
of practitioners at stake, the consequences of continued escalation could
be staggering, both economically and politically. Is a government that
attacks its own one that the people will ultimately trust and respect?
- Falun Dafa is a peaceful practice by nature and we harbor
no ill will towards the Chinese government. We only hope that the government
will release the practitioners that they have detained because they have
done no wrong. Practicing a peaceful Qigong practice in the parks to better
one's physical and mental health is a popular traditional activity in
China and can hardly be called dangerous.
- If the government were to grant us the freedom to exercise
our beliefs and end the brutality and harassment, they would find that
there is nothing to fear. There is no political agenda. Falun Dafa has
existed in China for several years now and there were never any problems
previously. Quite the contrary, U.S. News and World Report quoted an official
in the Chinese Sports Commission a few months ago as saying that the practice
of Falun Gong was saving the government hundreds of millions of dollars
in healthcare costs.
- The current conflict can only damage us all if it is
allowed to continue. We are asking that you, as members of the international
community and the media, help us express our continued goodwill to the
Chinese government and convey our wish to resolve this issue through peaceful
means. This may be time for an open and sincere dialogue so that we can
draw up a plan that is acceptable to all.
- I. INTRODUCTION TO FALUN DAFA
- Falun Dafa is a phenomenon that is utterly unprecedented,
and attempts to compare it to religions or various mass movements in Chinese
history will inevitably fall short. This practice has captured the hearts
of literally tens of millions of people around the world, and not without
- Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a kind of traditional
Chinese Qigong practice. Practicing different types of qigong like Tai-chi
is a kind of national pastime in China in the same way baseball is here
in the U.S. People in China like to practice in the parks in the morning
and then they go to work or school feeling refreshed.
- But what attracts people to Falun Dafa in particular
is its powerful and proven healing effects on many illnesses and ailments,
as well as the spiritual guidance it provides. Stories of cured diseases
and new-found spiritual well-being abound. The practice has spread so
quickly in seven short years almost purely through word of mouth, not
because there is some insidious master plan to challenge any government.
When someone sees that their neighbor has fully recovered from a previously
debilitating case of arthritis or heart disease or depression, how can
they not be curious?
- Falun Dafa teaches that for a person to be truly healthy
in both mind and body, one needs to become a person of high moral character
and one must have great virtue in order to reach higher spiritual levels.
A true practitioner of Falun Dafa always tries to hold himself to to the
principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, seeking to discard
negative habits and to be kind and considerate of others.
- Practitioners come from all walks of life from prominent
scholars and government cadres to elderly women and young children. There
is no set structure or membership -- people just show up at practice sites
or practice on their own as they please.
- II. PERSECUTION SITUATION IN CHINA
- As all of you are probably aware, the government of the
People's Republic of China is brutally suppressing the practice of Falun
Dafa. Tens of millions of peaceful people are being denounced as supporters
of an 'evil religion' and promoters of superstition.
- Last week, police in China arrested almost a hundred
key Falun Dafa contact persons, ransacking their homes and confiscating
materials in the middle of the night. When tens of thousands of other
practitioners started gathering in groups all over the country to request
their release, the Chinese authorities responded by forcing people out
of the cities, often dragging them by the hair and kicking and beating
them, then holding them in stadiums for days on end without food or water.
Police have not hesitated to use force against elderly women and even young
- The latest word we have now is that 1,200 practitioners
who are also Communist Party members have been sent to a school near Beijing
for so-called "re-education." Authorities say these practitioners
must guarantee that they will "quit" Falun Dafa before they
will be released, even though, technically, there is no organization to
quit. One either believes and practices or one does not. No one has been
released to date.
- III. VERIFICATION OF THE FACTS IN RESPONSE TO FALSE
- We are convinced that the government of China has made
a serious error by suppressing our practitioners. They falsely accuse us
of opposing the Chinese government, and we do not. They falsely label
us a 'cult' and a 'sect', and we are not. Falun Dafa is not an organization.
Its practitioners are volunteers. It is not political. And it is not resisting.
We are non-violent, and anxious to begin a dialogue with a government
which has convinced itself that we are dangerous opponents -- and we are
- The Chinese government outlawed Falun Dafa last week.
They claim that the practitioners in China are being controlled and funded
by overseas interests to go against the Chinese government. This is completely
untrue. There would be no way to externally 'control' the actions of so
many tens of millions of people under the watchful eyes of the PRC authorities.
The Chinese government also charges Falun Dafa practitioners with damaging
public property when they have large gatherings, but all assemblies have
been peaceful and orderly, to the point where no one even litters or blocks
traffic. No practitioner who holds to the principles of Truthfulness,
Compassion, and Forbearance would willingly damage anything or harm anyone.
- We are mentioning these charges and accusations because
we have heard that, according to the 'laws' that the Communist regime
drew up a few days ago, conviction on these charges based on 'evidence'
is now punishable by death.
- The government has also listened to and believed a few
stories in which people either killed themselves or others or entered into
a state of trance after learning Falun Dafa. But these people were mentally
ill to begin with and were practicing different Qigong systems at the
same time. Falun Dafa clearly requires that no mentally ill patients are
allowed to practice Falun Dafa. It is a well known fact in the community
of cultivators that it is dangerous for mentally ill individual to practice
any form of Qigong, including Taichi. Moreover, these individuals cited
by the government tried different systems at the same time. Is it fair
to blame Falun Dafa for the tragic end of their lives?
- The government labeled us as superstitious. But by the
same token, are religions like Catholicism, Protestantism and Buddhism
superstitious, too? What we have been taught in Falun Dafa does not really
exceed the scope of their teachings. Does the constitution allow the freedom
- There are too many false allegations in the Chinese government's
smear campaign against Falun Dafa to address here. We have attached responses
to many of the accusations.
- IV. CONCLUSION
- We need your help and need it now. This is a serious
problem of international dimensions involving as many as one hundred million
people. They are truthful, compassionate and peaceful. But the human rights
of these practitioners to assemble, to free expression and the practice
of their beliefs is being suppressed in violation of the constitution
of the People's Republic of China and the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. This is not an internal matter for China but an issue of urgent
concern to the international community.
- Just as the international community is alarmed by ethnic
cleansing in other parts of the world, it must speak out against this
insidious type of spiritual cleansing in China. We are appealing to the
international community including the United Nations and concerned governments
all over the world to immediately intervene and help us resolve this crisis
peacefully and justly.
- We are urgently asking that you assist us in establishing
a dialogue with the Chinese government and encourage them to release those
practitioners who have been detained, and to reestablish the rule of law
and a culture of tolerance.
- We understand that the government is unnerved by the
large numbers of Falun Dafa practitioners, even more so when a considerable
portion are members of the Communist Party, but the two are not mutually
exclusive. How does the government expect to control the minds of so many?
- Falun Dafa has not and will not get involved in politics.
Practitioners of Falun Dafa have no interest in political power. Our only
hope is that the detained practitioners be released and that we all resolve
this crisis peacefully so that we can continue to exercise our beliefs