THE PARADOX OF FALUN DAFA
Persecution, Propaganda, and Practice
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a cultivation movement originating in China. Falun Dafa was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, and grew to be one of the most popular cultivation methods in modern China. Falun Dafa, which means â€œGreat Law of the Law Wheel,â€ is a system of spiritual cultivation that combines qigong-like physical exercises and adherence to the moral code of Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance) with the aim of achieving enlightenment.
After staging a protest at the Chinese government compound in Zhongnanhai on April 25, 1999, Chinese authorities retroactively banned the movement, ...view middle of the document...
Hence also a limited room for FLG to grow overseas.
His prediction turned out to be quite wrong, as Falun Dafa has flourished overseas, recruiting Chinese and non-Chinese alike. The group currently claims a global membership of an estimated hundred million practitioners in over forty countries. While the accuracy of these figures is debatable, it is undeniable that Falun Dafa has gained a significant international presence.
The global expansion of Falun Dafa has been greatly abetted by the movementâ€™s utilization of the Internet. The groupâ€™s official website is translated into forty different languages, with sites in Hindi, Amharic, Telugu, and Sinhalese in the works. The website offers free downloads of the movementâ€™s primary texts, as well free instructional videos, lectures, and exercise music. A variety of semi-official websites are also employed to maintain contact between individual practitioners and publicize Falun Dafa related news. In addition to this large Internet presence, Falun Dafaâ€™s â€œmedia empire,â€ which generated an estimated 7-8 million this year alone, puts on Chinese cultural performances all over the world, broadcasts and publishes in over ten languages, and employs journalists and writers for Falun Dafaâ€™s newspaper â€œThe Epoch Times.â€ Add to this the numerous parades and protests members of Falun Dafa engage in on a yearly basis, and it becomes apparent how much energy and time Falun Dafa practitioners have invested in spreading the word about their movement, and its persecution, to the public.
While the Internet and Falun Dafa run media campaigns are responsible for the vast dissemination of information about the movement, a great deal of credit for the high number of converts goes to the Chinese Communist Party. One of the primary reasons that Falun Dafa has been able to succeed globally is in large part because of the official ban on the practice within China. Instead of destroying the group, the crackdown on Falun Dafa has actually legitimized it. The CCP has given Falun Dafa an entity to define itself against, and has provided a powerful impetus for followers to continue recruiting and spreading knowledge about their practice. Furthermore, the CCPâ€™s actions have kept Falun Dafa in the public eye, as human rights groups and the media frequently include mention of the group when discussing Chinaâ€™s alarming human rights abuses.
Nearly ten years after its initiation, the persecution of Falun Dafa remains a huge issue both for practitioners and human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Falun Dafa has been the focus of a number of Amnesty International letter writing campaigns, including last yearâ€™s Global Write-a-Thon, where the group was featured among its selection of 15 other â€œhotâ€ human rights issues. Because of their involvement with the banned movement, Falun Dafa practitioners are frequently sent to Re-education Through...