Falun Dafa and ignorance

Since I’ve been here, I have witnessed the changes of Falun Dafa.

For the past five years as a graduate student at the University, I have been used to reading opinion pieces that criticize China on various things: human rights, torturing, massive death penalties, religious freedom ” you name it. While on many issues I do agree that China, as a developing country can improve, the Wednesday editorial “Threat of the peaceful in China” on the topic of Falun Dafa is totally unwarranted. As a Chinese person, I felt highly offended by the ignorance of the Daily’s editorial board.

Does the person who wrote the piece really know the origin of Falun Dafa? How it was funded, what it originally taught people to do, why the Chinese government banned it? I can safely assume that whoever wrote it does not know much. Use your own logic; if Falun Dafa is really something like Tai Chi, “that involves meditation to give the practitioner a sense of ease and inner peace,” why wouldn’t the Chinese government ban Tai Chi too? Yet, to this day, millions of Chinese, including my mom and dad, are practicing Tai Chi almost daily. And no, they are not arrested or tortured.

Now, let me tell you about Falun Dafa from personal experience and knowledge. But before that, I want to exclaim that I am not brainwashed by the Chinese government. I am not a Communist Party member, and I do agree on a lot of the criticism toward China that regularly appears on the newspapers and television.

Falun Dafa started as a cult; a cult setup by a farmer named Hongzhi Li, whose only education was from elementary school. The original purpose of the cult was to get people involved and gather money from the believers, which was quite successful. One of my relatives who tried to get me to practice Falun Dafa told me I had to buy books and videos that were highly overpriced, and I politely declined.

However, from the books and videos I’ve seen at my friend’s place, the teaching of Falun Dafa in the early days was a mixture of almost everything from other common religions in China, namely Buddhism and Taoism. One of the things that really caused trouble in Falun Dafa teaching was that it claimed if someone got sick, he or she should not go to a hospital for help, rather he or she should meditate and let inner strength heal the sickness. A lot of people died, including children who knew nothing about Falun Dafa (because their parents would not take them to the hospital). Since Falun Dafa was so popular in its first few years, it became such a problem that the Chinese government had to intervene, and that’s when Hongzhi Li told his believers to burn themselves at Tiananmen Square in protest of the government’s ban, and a lot of them did just that.

Yet the founder, Hongzhi Li, did not burn himself or even go to Tiananmen Square to support his believers, instead he managed to come to the U.S. with his millions that he had gathered throughout the years and lived there happily after.

For the time that I’ve been here, I have witnessed the changes of Falun Dafa; a cult trying its best to wash away its sinful past and portray itself as a peaceful religion like Tai Chi. The teaching has changed a lot too; I don’t think they tell you not to go to the hospital when you are really sick anymore. It is sad that most people in the United States know nothing about the truth behind Falun Dafa. They think this is just another example of Chinese government torturing peaceful, religious people. It is such a shame! Stop bashing other countries with your ignorance!

Lin Wang is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]