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Political Repression of Falun Gong Followers

Updated on January 9, 2014
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square
Falun Gong Demonstration in New York's Union Square

Political Repression of Falun Gong Followers

The persecution of Falun Gong members in China began in 1999 when President Jiang Zemin decided the practice was a threat to his politcal power.

"He felt that millions of people practicing something other than communism was going to effect his government so he completely banned the practice," said Marcus Gale, a Falun Gong practitioner from Maine.

The basic principle of Falun Gong is based on Zhen-Shan-Ren: truthfulness, benevolence, and forbearance, and to aspire to these ideas in daily life. The practice is rooted in ancient Chinese culture that is over 5000 years old and rooted in Taoism and Buddhism. It was introduced in China in 1992. The practice has been passed through monasteries and monks until eventually it was released into society. The Chinese government's harassment of Falun Gong hasn't stopped in China.

"There's documented cases of Chinese nationals coming over and harassing people in New York City and some of the major China town areas of the country. We're aware of our computers being hacked and they've been able to trace that back to China," Gale said.

Falun Gong is now practiced around the world.

"It's actually the Chinese government that feels threatened by it being practiced around the world because it makes them look bad because they're nationalizing their persecution and creating a complete propaganda for their campaign," Gale said.

In China, if someone even holds up a sign in Tiananmen Square that says Zhen-Shan-Ren they are immediately arrested. Schoolchildren are encouraged to turn in practitioners, even if it's their parents.

"Anything that threatens the balance of power they see as a threat and they unfortunately have to power to outlaw something like that and persecute on million people, which in human history is unprecedented for that many people."

All media including the newspapers and radio are government owned in china. Through media they can fabricate propaganda saying Falun Gong is a suicide cult that will make people go crazy.

"It's really breaking down the society because everyone knows someone that practices Falun Gong and you see your friends and family in jail. People disappear overnight and are never heard of again," he said.

Many products sold here in America come from slave labor camps where over 100,000 practioners are forced to work.

"Everyone worldwide is responsible if they use these products," Gale said. "Everyone seems to be involved with it because of the global economy."


This article is based on a 2004 interview with Marcus Gale during a Falun Gong demonstration at Union Square in New York City. During the demonstration they did a theatrical display of the types of tortures that took place in China against followers.


Robin Coe is a journalist and author. She wrote the fantasy novel "Fly on the Wall" and graphic novel "Illustrated Book of Wrath".


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