Falun Gong is an ancient practice; one of the oldest cultures that promotes compassion, internal harmony and physical well being. Because of an utter disregard for rigidity and regulation, it can truly be termed a democratic organization if one were to apply such a term at all. There are no rules and regulations for membership. One is free to come and go. The powerful effect of Falun Gong on people’s peace of mind and physical health caused the movement to spread like wildfire when it was revealed to the public by Li Hongzi. Until then, it was taught in private only but in his wisdom he decided to share it with everyone. Within a short span of seven years, its practitioners grew to an astonishing 100 million in China alone. Ever since they peacefully assembled for their morning exercise in 1999 outside the exclusive compound in Central Beijing housing the ruling, privileged elite, they stunned the evil regime and that brought about a ruthless crackdown. The communists feared that this peaceful movement which spread purely through individual contact to such a vast segment of the population, would cause their totalitarian grip to crumble. They again enacted a policy of extermination. Their security organization infiltrated the group but failed to discover anything to discredit it, which they could then have utilized for their propagandistic purposes. Conversely, some of the infiltrating agents themselves were so impressed by what they observed that they started practising it themselves privately.
Today, Falun Gong has spread to over 50 countries with millions of adherents. All the powers of the state to quell it have been in vain and that has enraged the regime to commit horrendous acts against it. Over 1,500 people have been killed and their internal organs have provided a flourishing black market trade for the authorities. Tens of thousands more have been detained illegally and subjected to lengthy and brutal prison terms. Physical and mental torture is a given for these unfortunate detainees. Their family members are also punished with loss of jobs, housing, income and basic freedom. A United Nations report on torture states that over two thirds of the victims of torture and ill treatment in China are Falun Gong disciples.
The Christians in China are another persecuted group, deprived of even the basic desire for prayer. Beijing severed all ties with the Vatican when the communists under the megalomaniac Mao, consolidated their absolute power in China. They set up their own pliant church, falling under their control with no connection whatsoever with the outside world. Now there are tens of millions of Chinese believers, with more joining them day by day, placing their faith in the alleged underground and house churches which meet in private, and function below the radar. These movements are slowly prying people away from the Communist party. That subjects them to harassment by the police. Recently, one such church, the SHOUWANG, an evangelical Protestant congregation, has been rendered homeless because of the immense pressure exerted by the authorities who refused to allow them to occupy the space that they purchased.
The Vatican automatically excommunicates any bishop ordained in China without its approval. Those appointed by China’s state controlled Catholic church (of whom three were appointed in the past eight months) act in defense of the Holy See. After the spread of the jasmine revolutions in the Middle East, the authorities in their paranoia have arrested scores of Christians as well as human rights activists and anyone even perceived to be a critic. At times, foreign journalists have had their movements and communication restricted.