Cult for fanatics or enlightened self-development?
Falun Gong divides Chinese students in Wageningen as well as at home
The international human rights organisation Amnesty International reports
in its Yearbook 2003 that the Chinese government is conducting a smear
campaign against members of the spiritual movement Falun Gong. A Chinese
student in Wageningen confirms this practice, but he does not dare to talk
about Falun Gong with fellow students because of possible consequences for
him or his family back home. It makes one wonder what’s happening.
Falun Gong (FG) came into being in 1992 when the Chinese Li Hongzhi
published a book in which he described and explained Falun Gong. Before
that, Falun Gong was a form of self-development similar to Taoism and
Buddhism, mainly handed on from master to pupil in a one-on-one
relationship. The publication brought FG to the masses, and it received a
massive response. Especially in the mornings, rows of people could be seen
exercising together in the parks. Within a few years seventy million
people, out of a population of 1.3 billion, were practising Falun Gong.
A local Dutch practitioner tries to explain FG. “It’s organised around
three principles: truth, compassion and tolerance. With physical exercises
and living according to these principles you try to establish better health
and inner peace. In other words: you try to cultivate your body, heart and
spirit.’’ By practising it, he hopes to achieve a better quality of life.
That’s also why he’s concerned about the human rights situation for Chinese
FG-practitioners. “In 1999 the movement was banned because the head of
state Jiang Zemin felt that FG threatened his dominion.