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Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 1999 00:33:51 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: E Phillip Lim <webxity@CYBERWAY.COM.SG>
Subject: Fwd: CN: Buddhist Group Exposed Falungong Sect Last Year


By Mary Kwang, Straits Times, 5 November 1999

In September's edition of Tian Feng, the magazine of the China Christian Council, prominent Chinese church leaders voiced their support for their government's action against Falungong, saying that they believed the purge of Falungong that has been carried out over the past six months, was in accordance with the law and the constitution and did not endanger the policy of religious freedom. They agreed that the clamp down on the sect underlines the government's determination to protect and promote normal religious activities while putting a stop to harmful and dangerous behaviors.

Among the church leaders who expressed their views in Tian Feng were Bishop KH Ting, Dr. Wenzao Han (President of the China Christian Council) and Rev. Cao Shengjie (a Vice-President of the China Christian Council).

Now, a report has just come out in Singapore's Straits Times that China's Buddhist Association had exposed Falungong as a sect last year, long before the Chinese government banned it.

Human Rights activists and liberal US-based news media should take note of these public statements by leaders of the China Christian Council and, now, the Buddhist Association if they want their current protests against China's oppression of religious freedom to be taken seriously.

-- EPL

Buddhist group exposed sect last year

BEIJING—The Buddhist Association, the faith's umbrella organisation in China, branded the Falungong group as a cult totally opposed to Buddhism and other religions long before the Chinese government banned it.

The association released a book in June last year exposing the Falungong which preaches a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and qigong.

The book, Qigong in Buddhism and Falungong, was published at the suggestion of Mr Zhao Puchu, the association's president, who said "the Falungong is not Buddhism, not an orthodox religion, and not real qigong".

Its author, Mr Chen Xingjiao, who works in the editorial department of the association, accused Falungong founder Li Hongzhi of discrediting other religions, qigong forms, and of saying that science was wrong.

The association, which had been threatened by the Falungong for various other articles about the cult, attempted to explain the background of Falungong's creation in 1992 by Mr Li.

It said that many qigong masters and persons claiming extraordinary powers had surfaced in Liaoning and Jilin provinces. One reason for this was that shamanism or witchcraft had been very popular in northern China.

Myths about how foxes and weasels would possess a person and give them extraordinary powers were rife in those parts then.

Mr Li grew up in Jilin's Gongzhuling city where folk religion was popular. He had also met many so-called Buddhist and Taoist figures, who would have influenced him, it said.

Mr Chen said that the growth of Falungong reflected the move to commercialise and religionise qigong. It also manifested the longing of people to have a religion to cling to.

He offered reasons for the rapid spread of Falungong as compared to other religions in China:

The Falungong introduced a set of practices which could be pursued outside temples and churches.

Since it adopts a qigong name, it could spread in the community without interference from the government.

Furthermore, China's laws and regulations have not been perfected and do not cover the spread of superstition in the guise of qigong.