The Tragedy of Falun Gong Practitioners
Chinese Lash out Against Falun Gong Leader

We begin with reaction to our in-depth report on last week's shocking suicide attempt by several Chinese Falung Gong cult members. Five followers set themselves on fire last week in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square. One cult member -- a mother -- died at the scene, as her daughter, also a follower, set herself aflame. People interviewed on TV condemned the cult, saying it has inflicted great suffering on thousands of Chinese families.

After watching a recount of the horrible incident, many Chinese have expressed sadness for the victims and anger at the cult's leader, Li Hongzhi.

CAO YULIAN, Anhui Province Resident ,said: "Li Hongzhi also has a wife and children. Why doesn't he let his family set fire to themselves in Tian'anmen Square in order to achieve perfection in life?"

MA XUELI, Hubei Province Resident,said: "The incident has again shown that Falun Gong will not bring any benefit, but only brokeness to families, lots of suffering, and a loss of human dignity."

Former Falun Gong followers also lashed out at the cult's leader.

LI YAQIN, Former Falun Gong Follower,said: "Li Hongzhi has run to the United States to side with anti-China forces, for his own evil political motive. He is a traitor and a wolf. I do hate him. I advise all those who still believe in Falun Gong to forsake their belief as soon as possible."

On Wednesday afternoon, people from China's religious circles held separate gatherings to denounce Falun Gong.

MICHAEL FU TIESHAN, Catholic Bishop,said: "A mother should be a bearer of new lives and care-taker of new lives. But that mother brought her child into the cult and ultimately led her to commit self-immolation. From this incident we can see that Falun Gong is against human beings, against human nature."

The meeting included Catholic, Taoist, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian leaders.

A group of non-communist parties and organisations also denounced Falun Gong. They said the incident has shown the campaign against Falun Gong will be a long and complicated political struggle.

Wang Zhaoguo, director of the United Front Work Department of the Party Central Committee said the gory facts point to a never-ending effort by western anti-China groups to split China. He said people should maintain a clear mind about the severity and the complexity of the issue.

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facts and figures

In May 1992, the Falun Gong cult leader, Li Hongzhi began to spread his "Falun Dafa", under the guise of a so-called ancient body-refining qigong.

On July 22 1999, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs outlawed Falun Gong, after finding that the so-called Falun Dafa Society and its subsidiaries had never registered with the ministry and were engaged in illegal activities.

So far, more than 1,700 people have died due to their practise of Falun Gong.

(China Central Television 02/01/2001)