Why Falun Gong and the persecution against it matter at home and abroad
Here are a few answers:
The universal values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance are under attack, and that affects us all.
At the center of Falun Gong’s belief system is the understanding that the universe’s nature is fundamentally good, epitomized by the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. By assimilating to these values in one’s thoughts and actions, practitioners of Falun Gong aspire to attain a higher level of goodness and spiritual wisdom. The ultimate aim of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong is not simply to eradicate a religious group or eliminate a potential political threat. Its aim is to destroy these underlying virtues that Falun Gong practitioners aspire to. For this reason, much of the torture suffered by practitioners is focused on forcing them to renounce Falun Gong and its core beliefs, a process the CCP refers to as “transformation.”
The story of Falun Gong is therefore, at its essence, an epoch battle between the goodness in humankind—what many in the East call one’s Buddha nature—and a tyranny bent on eradicating it. In this battle, we all have a stake (Falun Gong practitioner or not) and a decision to make: do we stand with those fighting to preserve goodness, or aid those seeking to destroy it, be it through direct support or our own silence?
Practised in over 70 countries, Falun Gong is helping people around the world improve their health and turn towards kindness and integrity.
Whatever our profession or area of interest, we all have aches and pains, some have more serious or chronic health problems. We also all have moments when we get angry, hateful, or tempted to take advantage of others. Falun Gong—with its holistic combination of “qigong” exercises and spiritual teachings emphasizing the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance—has proven to be remarkably effective at improving the health, mental state, and conduct of those who practice, sometimes miraculously so. Multiple medical studies and surveys have affirmed this.
Tens of millions of Chinese families continue to face lawlessness and brutality.
One hundred million people were practicing Falun Gong in 1999 (1 in 12 people), when Jiang Zemin launched the persecution. Their lives—and those of their families—have since been turned upside down, as the CCP put to work its full toolbox of repressive tactics to implement Jiang’s orders. A massive propaganda campaign to demonize Falun Gong. New labor camps and makeshift detention centers built to hold the huge influx of detainees. An extralegal police task force established to implement the plan. And an internet censorship apparatus devised to stop people from learning the truth about what is happening. Meanwhile, millions of hard-working, upright people from every profession and of every age have been fired from their jobs, many sent to labor camps for “re-education.”
Today, secret police continue to abduct people from their homes and send them for “re-education” simply because they practice Falun Gong, even if only in the privacy of their own home. As a result, Falun Gong practitioners remain the largest group of prisoners of conscience in China, and new cases of death due to abuse in custody are reported on a weekly basis.
The persecution has spawned a moral and governance crisis for Chinese society.
The repercussions of Jiang’s decision to wipe out Falun Gong have been felt not only by practitioners and their families, but throughout all of Chinese society. Officials who actively participate in the torture and killing of Falun Gong believers are promoted. Members of the public have been offered cash rewards for turning in their neighbors. Those who refuse to collaborate or stand up against the campaign risk being fired, abducted, imprisoned, and sometimes killed. The rule of law and freedom of belief have been inexorably damaged. The persecution has thus spurred a domestic brain drain, moral crisis, and assault on basic rights of staggering proportions.
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