The Tragedy of Falun Gong Practitioners
West's Misunderstanding of Cult

While the Chinese people continue to express their anger at the Falun Gong cult after a suicide attempt - with one actual death - by seven cult followers in Tian'anmen Square on January 23, some of the Western media have come up with a ridiculous perspective on the event.

On the one hand, they have depicted Falun Gong either as a "spiritual movement" or a "quasi-religious group," turning a blind eye to the fact that the group has all the features of a cult.

They have also tried to make people think that China is using the tragedy to whip up public hatred towards Falun Gong.

For example, the headlines of two stories by Reuters, on January 31 and February 1, read "China mobilizes masses to denounce Falun Gong" and "China whips up public outrage against Falun Gong." The January 31 issue of the Sydney Morning Herald carried an article labelled "State vilifies 'evil cult' after self-immolations."

These stories seem to imply that China's new round of public attack on Falun Gong is a mere political showpiece. I believe anyone with any common sense will be sympathetic towards the lives ruined by the brutal acts displayed in Tian'anmen Square. Five of the seven people set fire to themselves, with one of them, a woman, dead, and the other four badly burned.

People will surely be angry about Falun Gong, which is to blame for driving these people onto the road of no return.

Those who have been filmed or who appear in newspaper stories airing their anger towards Falun Gong are acting out of their own free will.

The ongoing massive condemnation of the cult once again highlights the Chinese people's strong sense of righteousness and drives home the message that in Chinese society, evil will never triumph.

I have a strong revulsion about Falun Gong not only because of its absurd teachings but also because the illegal organization has seized almost every opportunity to stir up social instability.

This is proof that the cult is politically motivated.

The immolation of the five followers in Beijing, the latest crime committed by the cult and its ringleader, Li Hongzhi, was carefully organized and designed to exert pressure on the Chinese Government and wreak social havoc.

For one thing, the timing and the site of the self-burnings speak for themselves. The Chinese have always looked upon the eve of Spring Festival as a joyful occasion for family reunions, and Tian'anmen Square as a solemn and sacred place because it was there that Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic on October 1, 1949.

When the news of the suicide attempts broke, many Chinese were still immersed in festival happiness. Apart from feeling sad about the tragedy, I believe many now have a clearer understanding of the cult's anti-society and anti-humanity nature.

Liu Baorong, one of the cult members who set themselves on fire, said that she did it under the influence of Li's "scripture," which taught her to "transcend worldly life and death," "go beyond forbearance" and "attain absolute completion," according to a Xinhua story.

To such devoted followers, I cannot help asking why Li, the self-crowned "god" of the universe, cannot spare a tiny bit of his amazing powers to revive the dead woman and relieve the burns of those who suffered?

A perplexed reader of People's Daily wrote to the newspaper asking angrily "why doesn't Li just set an example of how to obtain salvation by burning himself instead of sacrificing the innocent lives of his devoted followers?"

Yet, the omnipotent "master" who has been preaching "truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance" to his followers is now residing in his comfortable American home, looking on as those who were burned suffer in hospital. All four who were injured are now physically disabled.

It is even more lamentable that these people were coldly rejected by their own "master" whom they look upon as the "god." The cult "spokesmen" in the United States and Hong Kong, Zhang Er'ping and Jian Hongzhang, denied any connection between the tragedy and Falun Gong, saying it was a "frame and malicious charge" that the Chinese Government forced on the cult.

It is clear that this suicidal act was just another attempt by the cult to revive its dying embers, and Li, its ringleader, does not hesitate to work for his own political ends at the expense of the lives of innocent followers.

The questionable stance some Western media have taken when covering the news may confuse people around the world when they make a judgment about Falun Gong.

In fact, ever since China banned Falun Gong in July 1999, some of the Western media has constantly said that the cult is a peaceful meditation group. It seems that their deep-rooted bias towards China is making mischief as always, which again blurs their ability to distinguish right from wrong.

By siding with the cult, they pretend not to see the fact that too many followers of Falun Gong have been deprived of their right to think independently or even to live a normal life. The cult has caused the death of more than 1,600 followers who have either committed suicide or refused to treat their illnesses.

To help those who report on the cult, I want to share with them the following two e-mails I read in

The first was sent by someone in the Netherlands on January 27, 2001:

"... Since Falun Gong is so good, shouldn't members be concentrating on getting more followers in N. America since it's headquarters is in New York? One can go to Chinatown on weekends to see Falun Gong practitioners distributing leaflets focusing on China rather than trying to make new converts.

"Are they saying that the Chinese are the only ones that need to be saved or the only ones who can benefit from it? Religion and good practices should make no distinction...''

The second e-mail was also sent by the same person, "SL," on January 28, 2001:

"...The moment Falun Gong takes off in converting more of other races, especially Caucasians, in America or Britain, will Waco be revisited?

"This time around, the Western media have not played up the virtues of Falun Gong as was the case for the Dalai Lama, but only concentrated on the 'civil liberties/freedom of worship' issue. The reason becomes apparent because they had learned from the Dalai Lama experience, as explained below.

"Was it last year or the year before last that the Dalai Lama had a big following at his hideout in the south of the US which shocked the authorities? The authorities never expected their own people to believe in the state's propaganda and lies, much less make a 'pilgrimage' (I believe the figure was 40,000 people) to the DL (Dalai Lama). Before long attacks against the DL were also cleverly staged: e.g. Murdoch's open complaints against the DL's globe trotting tours and his wearing 'Gucci shoes,' much to the distress of DL's followers. He however forgot to mention that the DL had been financed by the CIA since the 1960s, then to the tune of US$2 million a year (LA Times). What are the US dollars now?..."

(China Daily 02/10/2001)