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Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 19:57:04 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
From: Christiane Reinhold <reinholdc@mail.utexas.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Falun Gong - impressions from Tianjin

August 4, 1999

From: Jian-Zhong Lin <linjz@ecsu.ctstateu.edu>
Subject: Re: H-ASIA: Falun Gong - impressions from Tianjin

Falun Gong

By Jian-Zhong Lin <linjz@ecsu.ctstateu.edu>, 4 August 1999

The Chinese government's attack on Li does look over-enthusiatic to many of us who live outside China. But the warrant on Li is not based on his spreading superstition. According to the Chinese government, Li's Falun Gong Society is an illegal organization because it was never registered. Secondly, Falun Gong groups paralyzed government agencies, TV stations, newspapers, and universities with sit-ins. Those sit-ins are considered "demonstrations" requiring permits from the police which Falun Gong groups never applied for. A third reason for the warrant is over 20 law suits--so far--filed against Li by the families which have lost their loved ones to Falun Gong. The official figure is that, by July 26, 743 deaths have been reported to have resulted from the practice of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong has been around since 1992 and its practitioners never got into any trouble doing their thing in public. But on that fateful day in April, they stepped on the wrong toe by surrounding Zhongnanhai. The Chinese government may have over-reacted but its need for control/stability makes the campaign against Falun Gong understandable--although possibly objectionable . Both American media and unofficial Chinese media have reported that Jiang Zemin was personally furious at the sit-in outside Zhongnanhai. As we have known too well, politics, very often, is personal.

Jian-Zhong Lin
English Deparment
Eastern CT State University