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Is the Chinese treatment of Falun Gong a human rights issue?

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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:29 PM
Original message
Is the Chinese treatment of Falun Gong a human rights issue?
To this point I have always understood Falon Gong (or Dafa) to be a benign Chinese mind/body practice with roots in the ancient art of Chi Gung. But after the protestor at the White House yesterday, it seems that the media equates it with dangerous cults like Moonies or Heavens Gate. I am confused about why they would do that.

On the website Falun Gong seems harmless enough and they don't appear to be worshipping anything or anyone. Does anyone know how this organization operates? Do they suck people in and then have them living the life of a devotee to a Bagwan Shri Ragneesh or something? Is it tied to any negative conservative ideas? I mean how is this different from Tai Chi, Yoga (which I have studied extensively) or other physical/spiritual practices originating in Asia?

And then if Falun Gong practitioners are not brainwashed cultists anymore than anybody else around here, what about their torture in China. Is this an important human rights issue?
Does anyone have any opinions or experience with this?

----------------------------
From the website:

http://www.falundafa.org/eng/index.htm

Q: What is Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong?
A: Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is an ancient practice for mind and body, originating in pre-historic China. The practice involves some slow, gentle movements and a meditation. It is easy to learn, enjoyable to practice, and free of charge. A central component of Falun Gong practice is studying the universal principles of truthfulness, benevolence, and tolerance.

Q: Who is Mr. Li Hongzhi?
A: Mr. Li Hongzhi introduced the practice of Falun Dafa to the general public in China in 1992. He then taught the practice publicly for two years in China, after which the practice continued to grow primarily by word-of-mouth. In keeping with Chinese tradition, Mr. Li is sometimes respectfully referred to as "Master" or "Teacher." He is not accorded special treatment, nor does he accept money or donations from students of Falun Dafa. He has ensured that the practice be available to all people, and without any terms or conditions. Mr. Li has given occasional public lectures over the past few years in various countries, including Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA.

Q: Who practices Falun Dafa, and how do they find it beneficial?
A: Falun Dafa is practiced by people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, in more than 40 countries worldwide. Almost everyone who practices reports significantly improved health, reduced stress, and increased levels of energy.

Q: I'm interested in trying it out or learning more about it? How can I get started?
A: All practice sites offer free instruction, and everyone is welcome. To find a site near your home, you can visit http://www.falundafa.org on the Internet, or call 1-877-FALUN-99. All materials are available on-line. There are also instructional books and video tapes available from bookstores, you can visit http://www.truegoodbooks.com/to order them.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. they could worship goats and it would still be a human rights issue
Members of that sect are routinely murdered by Chinese army and police.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. very true in theory
but it's hard to get any sympathy or support for them if they are a dangerous cult. It would be hard to get sympathy for KKK members if the govt here started imprisoning them, to use a crude local example.
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manic expression Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. There is a difference
namely that this is a group that, from what I can tell, has no violent tendencies. First, a group such as the KKK is not a religion, so that's one difference. Secondly, the KKK is a hate group that is involved in intimidation and terrorism, and that SHOULD be punished (if you ask me, every member should be in prison).
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. of course
Edited on Fri Apr-21-06 05:17 PM by marions ghost
the KKK is an obvious hate group. But we don't throw them in prison JUST for being a hate group (they have to commit acts of hate).

I was making the analogy that if the KKK were suddenly rounded up and tortured here, like the Falun Gong is in China, then it would be hard to find people to defend the KKK's rights.

Likewise, if people in China can be sold the idea that Falun Gong is dangerous and negative, they will be less inclined to feel the govt is doing something wrong. Not everybody will defend to the death their right to exist.
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Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. Not that I know a ton about them, but...
usually the worst place to find out about someone is by asking them directly. Of course they're not going to come out and say "we're dangerous cultists!" I'm not saying they are or they aren't, just to take their own page with a grain of salt.

And no matter what, it's free speech violation, so unless they're directly advocating harm, it's a human rights issue.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. oh sure
that's why I'm asking if anyone can cite any facts that contradicts my impression that they are completely harmless, which has been my impression for years. I think of Falun Gong as Chi Gung for Grasshoppers.
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Jansen Donating Member (87 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think so
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong

Falun Gong has been the focus of international controversy since the government of the People's Republic of China began a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. Concerns were triggered especially when 10,000 practitioners assembled in peaceful protest at the Central Appeal Office at Foyou street, outside Zhongnanhai. Not since the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 had so many people gathered together to protest the government.

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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. If Falun Gong was a pro government group
would the People's Republic of China be suppressing them?
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. I understand that
the Chinese govt would fear and suppress a peoples' movement of any kind. But just what are they really? (rhetorical Q)

thanx for input
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. They are not benign...
and many seem to think they are similar to Buddhists. Although a lot of the teachings are similiar to Buddhism, they also are taught Aliens walk the earth, homosexuals are demonic, and even that someday they can walk through walls and levitate.

Frankly, I cannot take their charge of human rights infractions or the organ removal charges at face value when they tend to believe the other bunk. Some evidence is required.

Back in the 70s everyone thought the Moonies were benign...They were wrong.
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Even if all of that is true...
and I'm not sure it is, it wouldn't justify brutal persecution.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Do we have proof of this persecution?
Hell, some Christians in this country cry persecution as well...
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Do we have proof that the Chinese government persecutes..
people for practicing religion, why yes we do. Lots of it.

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Media_Lies_Daily Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. How about this? This looks lika a fairly impartial article....
Falun Gong persecution merits our attention
<http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=24449 >

QUOTE:

Jiang's information blockade, however, is not always watertight. In a shocking media expose on March 5, 2002, a group of individuals successfully entered the cable TV network in Changchun, China and broadcast a video exposing the horrific torture in labor camps and detention centers against Falun Gong practitioners. The entire city of Changchun was in shock; the viewers were stunned to witness video evidence of the persecution for the first time. Enraged by the publicity, Jiang ordered a roundup of 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun, according to FalunInfo Center. One of the arrested participants in the expose, Mr. Liu Chengjun, died in police custody after 21 months of torture. His fate, however, was only one of the 860 confirmed deaths under Jiang's crusade against Falun Gong that remain largely unreported in China.

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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. how do you know for a fact
Falun Gong practitioners are taught they can walk through walls and levitate? That homosexuals are demonic, that aliens walk the earth (I do believe that one myself).

I never saw the Moonies as benign. My antenna was up about them from the first time I saw them selling roses.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. That is the teaching...
although I admit a lot of followers simply see it as an exercise or a benign new age thing.

I am more concerned with the agenda of the leader.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. has the leader of Falun Gong ever
given you any reason to fear his agenda, or do you just suspect that he might have an agenda?
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newspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
14. I remember staying up till 11 and a newsman came on
can't remember, it was Jennings or Brokow? Anyway they had a report that China was rounding all of these people up--that there were so many people that they had to use a stadium to detain them. My WTF moment, was that he was siding with the Chinese government and literally sneering at the group. I was thinking, when does the US side with the Chinese government? It was scary at the time. They showed a picture (propaganda film from China?) of a man who lost his wife from the movement-she apparently killed herself. It was a poor quality film--but laborers, scientists, engineers and others were in the movement. So it wasn't just the blue collar laborers, but intelligentsia, involved as well. His quote at the time, was that nearly 1 million Chinese people were involved. If that is the case, then this may just be a spiritual movement that the Chinese government is attempting to suppress
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. From what I can tell...
the core group are nuts but there are many that have joined that do not even realize what the beliefs are. I will try to find the article where people attend events they thought were benign yet ended up being protests of some sort they were not aware of.(in China, back in the 90s)
I think the "Master" is simply another Moon or Ron Hubbard type.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. They Give Free QiGong Lessons Like Hare Krishnas Give Free Meals
they are a cult and their demonstrations in NYC are totally over the top/off the wall.

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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. can you describe the demonstrations?
I've not seen anything over the top.

I tend to see the Falun Gong as being like the TM Transcendental Meditational group (Beatles, Maharishi etc). Meditation, peace & love, etc. As far as Hare Krishnas and free meals...I have eaten a few in the distant past and never felt obligated to become a HK whatsoever.

I want to know where the Falun Gong have scary conservative beliefs which they impose on practitioners, which has been alleged here, for ex they are derogatory to homosexuals. And whether practitioners are told to expect rewards and benefits which are never achieved.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. From the other thread, some info...



http://www.religioustolerance.org/falungong1.htm

Read down to the beliefs. Here are some excerpts:

Beliefs:
homosexuality is degenerate behavior, on a par with sexual promiscuity.

illness is caused by the indwelling of "an intelligent entity that exists in another dimension."

The body's vital energy, Qi, can be focused to improve one's health and sense of well being. But it can also "be used to develop the ability to fly, to move objects by telekinesis, and to heal diseases."

A person with qigong training can walk through solid objects, like a wall.

Individuals with some qigong training can exhibit super-human abilities: clairaudience, telepathy, precognition, etc. But it takes a qigong master to achieve certain functionality, like alchemy -- the ability to transform one type of substance to another. The latter could tear down a large building using mental power only. They would never do this in practice, because it is forbidden for them to demonstrate their powers. Also, such destruction would cause harm.

There are many living entities on earth that appear to be humans, but in fact are aliens.

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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. OK thank you
for the link. I am still scanning the incredibly LONG speech the leader gave (in Sydney) to flesh out the notes. So far I havent gotten to the part about homosexuality but if that is truly the belief, it is very offensive to me. His speech also seems judgmental in tone in general. As for beliefs about avoiding surgery and medicine (this may be why people compare it to scientology) he sidesteps there..."you should decide for yourself."

I don't care what kind of theories he has about levitating or aliens or karma or any of that stuff. I can read that just as "philosophy" or "sci fi" and it doesn't offend me (though I might not want to believe it). But where I draw the line is negative references to social groups or guilt-producing messages. If you have something to offer you shouldn't have to make people feel inadequate to offer it to them.

Anyway thanks for the info. It helps to go to the source material.

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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
18. I should state I believe China does have a human rights problem...
that should not be dismissed. Then again, I feel the US does as well.
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newspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. when you have over a million people believing
then it is more than a cult. The difference between a cult and a religion is the number of members. There are many in intelligentsia who are members. If it is emphasizing meditation and the practice of Qui Gong, I seen nothing wrong with it.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Well the Moonies have millions and they are a cult, no? n/t
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #19
27. They use QiGong as a lure. How many Scientologists are there?
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. they use Qigong as a lure for....
what? --is what I am trying to find out what this negative thing is.

I don't believe they have any similarities to scientology, but tell if you think so.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. They believe aliens are trying to take over...
ETs not Mexicans. They believe in people walking through walls and levitating...

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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
20. Of course. They're still batshit crazy, but that doesn't justify abuse. nt
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. if you think they are batshit crazy
please say why.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Because religion is crazy
and thiers is crazier than average.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. so you come from the perspective
that all religion is crazy? (not being critical, just a question)

What sets of beliefs in your mind are not crazy?
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. Well, religion is based on belief in the unprovable and unlikely
When people base thier lives around suspect assumptions people tend to assume that they're a bit off. :shrug:
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