|Literal meaning:||Practice of the Wheel of Law|
|Literal meaning:||Great Law of the Wheel of Law|
Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is a spiritual practice introduced to the public in China by Li Hongzhi （李洪志） in 1992. Li Hongzhi ( (born in Gongzhuling city Jilin, China) is the founder of Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa a system of " Mind-body cultivation"  It has five sets of meditation exercises and seeks to develop practitioners' hearts and character according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance (真，善，忍）articulated in the main books Falun Gong （法輪功）and Zhuan Falun （轉法輪）. The teachings of Falun Gong were introduced to the public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992  The teachings deal with issues such as "cultivation of virtue and character", "moral standards for different levels", and "salvation of all sentient beings. " The books have been translated into over 40 languages.
According to Professor David Ownby, Falun Gong developed as part of a wider "qigong boom" of the 1990's, and understands itself in terms of a centuries-old tradition of "cultivation practice" (修煉 xiūliàn). Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating circulating and working with Qi or energy  Sinologist Professor Barend ter Haar states that it is a distinctly new form of Chinese religious practice shaped by the Maoist revolution. Sinology in general use is the study of China and things related to China but especially in the American academic context refers more strictly to the study of classical language  Another sinologist, Benjamin Penny, concurs, noting that while it is a "qigong cultivation system", the heavy emphasis on morality makes it appear to be a religion.  Penny regards Falun Gong as one of the most important phenomena to emerge in China in the 1990s. 
In April 1999, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners silently appealed at the Chinese Communist Party headquarters at Zhongnanhai against recent beatings and arrest in Tianjin. The Communist Party of China ( CPC) ( also known as the Chinese Communist Party ( CCP) is the founding and ruling political party of the The Zhongnanhai ( is a complex of buildings in Beijing, China adjacent to the Forbidden City which serves as the central headquarters for the ( Postal map spelling: Tientsin) is the second largest city in northern coastal China.  Two months later, the Chinese government began a large-scale persecution, including widespread propaganda, torture, illegal imprisonment, forced labour, and psychiatric abuses. Falun Gong was introduced to the general public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 Falun Gong comprise 66% of all reported torture cases in China, and at least half of the labour camp population. 
The number of practitioners is not known: a 1998 figure from the Chinese government suggests there were 70 million practitioners in China at that time; Falun Gong claims 100 million practitioners in more than 80 countries. 
The status of the Falun Gong also also remains controversial outside of China. Various cult watch organizations have deemed the Falun Gong, based on the statements of its leader Li Hongzhi, as a cult, while other organizations claim that the organization as a whole is not a cult but a legitimate new age religion. Li Hongzhi ( (born in Gongzhuling city Jilin, China) is the founder of Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa a system of " Mind-body cultivation"
|Falun Gong / Falun Dafa|
Chinese: 法輪功 / 法輪大法
According to Li, Falun Gong is an advanced "cultivation system" in the "Buddha School" which, in the past, was handed down to chosen disciples and served as an intensive "cultivation method" that required practitioners with extremely high “Xinxing” (mind-nature; heart-nature; character) or “great inborn quality. Li Hongzhi ( (born in Gongzhuling city Jilin, China) is the founder of Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa a system of " Mind-body cultivation" The teachings of Falun Gong were introduced to the public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 Falun Gong was introduced to the general public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Gong outside China in early 1995 Falun Gong has received a range of scholarly attention &mdash including ethnographic studies analysis on the teleology of practice and also some studies focusing on its relationship The Epoch Times ( is a privately owned general-interest newspaper originally published in Chinese. Sound of Hope ( is an independent non-profit news and entertainment broadcast service linked with Falun Gong. Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating circulating and working with Qi or energy The Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident took place on 23 January 2001. Doctor Wang Wenyi ( born 26 October 1958 in Jilin) is a Pathologist who once worked as a journalist for The Epoch Times. Since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the human rights issue of China has come to the forefront ”
Falun Gong is an introductory book that discusses qigong, introduces the principles and provides illustrations and explanations of the exercises. The teachings of Falun Gong were introduced to the public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 Zhuan Falun is the core text of Falun Dafa practice. 
The foundation of Falun Dafa are teachings known in traditional Chinese culture as the "Fa" (Dharma), or "Dharma and principles" – that are set forth in the book Zhuan Falun:
Falun Gong teaches that the Fa or "Buddha Law" can be summarized in three words – zhen 真, shan 善 and ren 忍, which translate approximately as 'truthfulness, benevolence (or compassion), and forbearance'. The process of cultivation is said to be one in which the practitioner assimilates himself or herself to zhen, shan and ren.
The teachings of Falun Dafa are articulated in the two main books of the practice, Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun.
Falun Gong lays emphasis on its ideas of good moral nature and morality. Practitioners are required to emphasize virtue (de), be a good person in all environments, and always be considerate of others when doing things.
According to Li Hongzhi, the sole criterion that distinguishes good from bad is the unchanging characteristic of the universe: Zhen-Shan-Ren. In Zhuan Falun, Li states:
“As a practitioner, one must follow this characteristic of the universe to conduct himself instead of the standard of ordinary people… As a human being, if you can follow this universe’s characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren, you are a good person. ”
In a speech in Los Angeles (2006), Li Hongzhi underlined that in practicing cultivation one must lay emphasis on cultivation of one's own heart nature or "xinxing":
Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional “cultivation” practices that involve movement and/or regulated breathing designed to be therapeutic. Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating circulating and working with Qi or energy Qigong is practiced for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, as a medical profession, a spiritual path, or a component of Chinese martial arts.
According to Xu Jian, the discourse on qigong theory broadly divides into "naturalist" and "supernaturalist" schools. The "naturalist" discourse involves scientific research on qigong and understands it within a modern, empirical framework, while the "supernaturalist" discourse is situated within a revival of nationalistic traditional beliefs and values, and understands qigong as psychosomatic and metaphysical. Scholar Xu Jian says "Each strives to establish its own order of power and knowledge, its own 'truth' about the 'reality' of qigong, although they differ drastically in their explanation of many of its phenomena. "
At the center of the debate is whether and how qigong can bring forth “supernormal abilities” (teyi gongneng 特異功能). "The psychosomatic discourse emphasizes the inexplicable power of qigong and relishes its occult workings, whereas the rational discourse strives to demystify many of its phenomena and to situate it strictly in the knowledge of modern science. "
The Chinese government has generally tried to encourage qigong as a science and discourage religious or supernatural elements. However, the category of science in China tends to include things that are generally not considered scientific in the West, including qigong and traditional Chinese medicine. 
David Aikman says that unlike in America, where many may believe that qigong is a socially neutral, subjective, New Age-style concept incapable of scientific proof, much of China's scientific establishment believes in the existence of Qi. He contends that controlled experiments by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the late 1970s and early 1980s concluded that qi, when emitted by a qigong expert, "actually constitutes measurable infrared electromagnetic waves and causes chemical changes in static water through mental concentration. "
Theories about the cultivation of elixir (dan), "placement of the mysterious pass" (xuanguan shewei), among others, are also found in ancient Chinese texts such as The Book of Elixir (Dan Jing), Daoist Canon (Tao Zang) and Guide to Nature and Longevity (Xingming Guizhi). Falun Gong's teachings tap into a wide array of phenomena and cultural heritage that has been debated for ages. However, the definitions of many of the terms used differ somewhat from Buddhist and Daoist traditions. Falun Gong exercises took up Taoist and Buddhist routines as well as a legacy vocabulary familiar to many, and was revamped in a simple, persuasive way. The doctrine appealed to Chinese who retained superficial traces of the old beliefs.  Li Hongzhi states in Falun Buddha Fa Lecture in Europe:
In the 1990s there was a qigong upsurge with attendant state suspicion. Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating circulating and working with Qi or energy Montreal scholar David Ownby, and journalist Ian Johnson in his book Wild Grass, both offer this boom as historical context for the rise of Falun Gong. Ian Johnson is a Berlin-based writer and journalist working primarily in China and Germany
The content of Li Hongzhi's books include commentaries on questions that have been raised in China's qigong community. Qigong (or ch'i kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating circulating and working with Qi or energy According to Ownby, Li saw the qigong movement as “rife with false teachings and greedy and fraudulent 'masters'” and set out to rectify it. Li understood himself and Falun Gong as part of a “centuries-old tradition of cultivation,” and in his texts would often attack those who teach “incorrect, deviant, or heterodox ways. ”
Falun Gong originally surfaced in the institutional field of alternative Chinese science, a field "insulated from the spaces formally acknowledged as institutionalized science in Western countries" Johnson described how “Falun Gong positions itself as a kind of Über-science, something that is modern but even better than modern. ”
Johnson suggests that while initially Falun Gong laid emphasis on health benefits, over time “the philosophical teachings of Truth, Goodness and Forbearance began to take on more importance. ” He writes that in the context of Falun Gong, these principles require people to live “upright lives. ” A traditional morality—what Ownby calls “popular fundamentalism,” a supposed return to moral values that numerous Chinese “feel have been lost in the rush to modernisation. ”
Li sought to develop a greater history, theory and meaning behind cultivation. Ownby delineates the following discourses: the suffering body which holds the possibility of freedom from illness and physical suffering; limitless human potential where physical transformation is chiefly effected by moral practice; and exile and return concerning world creation, degeneration, and salvation/renewal.  Johnson describes Falun Gong as “the next logical step in qigong's development”, writing that “while firmly stating that Falun Gong was not a religion, Master Li drew on traditional religions for terminology and symbols. ” The term “Falun” means Dharma Wheel, or Wheel of Law, a traditional Buddhist concept. The imagery used includes Buddhist swastikas and Taoist t'ai chi (yin-yang) symbols. Andrew P. Kipnis said that qigong may seem to be religious to laymen in the West because it deals with spiritual matters. As many Falun Gong concepts can be traced to Buddhism and Taoism, it may seem even more like a religion to the outsider.
According to the biography which appeared as an appendix to Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhi had been taught ways of "cultivation practice" (xiulian) by several Masters of the Dao and Buddhist schools of thought from a very young age. Taoism (pronounced /ˈdaʊɪzəm/ or /ˈtaʊɪzəm/ also spelled '''Daoism''') refers to a variety of related Philosophical and Religious traditions Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices This biography says that he was trained by Quan Jue, the 10th Heir to the Great Law of the Buddha School, at age four. He was then trained by a Taoist master at age eight. This master left him at age twelve, and he was then trained by a master of the Great Way School with the Taoist alias of True Taoist, who came from the Changbai Mountains. The Changbai Mountains or Baekdu Mountains are a Mountain range on the border between China and North Korea (41°41' to 42°51'N 127°43' to 
Falun Gong was introduced to the public by Li Hongzhi on May 13, 1992, in Changchun, Jilin. Changchun ( is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the centre of the ( Postal map spelling: Kirin; Manchu: Girin ula is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern  Invited by qigong organizations from each area, Li traveled to almost all major cities in China from 1992 to 1994 to teach the practice. For the first few years of spreading Falun Gong, Li was granted several awards by Chinese governmental organizations to encourage him to continue promoting what was then considered to be a wholesome practice.  University of Montreal scholar David Ownby noted that neither Li nor Falun Gong were particularly controversial in the beginning.  Li became an "instant star of the qigong movement," with his practice method celebrated at the Beijing Oriental Health Expos of both 1992 and 1993. Falun Gong was welcomed into the Scientific Qigong Research Association, which sponsored and helped organise many of Li's activities between 1992 and 1994, including the 54 large-scale lectures given throughout China in most major cities to a total audience of 20,000. The scale of the activities was unprecedented at that time.
After teaching publicly in Changchun, Li began to make his ideas more widely accessible and affordable, charging less than other qigong systems for lectures, tapes, and books.  On 4 January 1995 Zhuan Falun, the main book on Falun Gong, was published and became a best-seller in China. The teachings of Falun Gong were introduced to the public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 Before 1999, people learned Falun Gong by word of mouth, and it was usually practiced in the morning in parks like many other forms of exercise in China.  It attracted many retired persons, factory workers, farmers, state enterprise managers, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and students. 
In 1994 Falun Gong was taught at the Chinese consulate in New York, as part of the Party's "cultural propaganda to the West" alongside Chinese silk craft and cooking.  The consulate at that time also set up Falun Gong clubs at MIT and Columbia University which are active to this day. Columbia University is a private University in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. Starting in 1995, Li himself taught the practice outside of China, chairing a series of conferences at the Chinese embassy in Paris.
The Economist asserts that much of Falun Gong's success in the 1990s was due to claims that it could heal without costly medicine, as many citizens had lost medical benefits and services due to changing economic conditions. The Economist is an English-language weekly news and International affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd and edited in London  Some in China maintained that Falun Gong was the most popular qigong practice in the country, and that many professors from Peking University practised the exercises every day on the campus grounds until the crackdown in 1999. 
In April 1999, physicist He Zuoxiu published an article in the Tianjin College of Education’s Youth Reader magazine, entitled “I Do Not Agree with Youth Practicing qigong,” and criticised Falun Gong . Falun Gong was introduced to the general public by Li Hongzhi (李洪志 in Changchun, China, in 1992 He Zuoxiu ( born 1927 is a controversial Chinese Physicist and member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a "crusader" against supernatural Practitioners found his treatment of Falun Gong unfair and gathered to protest the article. Police were allegedly called, and then beat and arrested a number of them. On April 25, Falun Gong practitioners lined the streets near Zhongnanhai in silence, seeking legal recognition and protection of the practice in light of the alleged beatings and arrests in Tianjin. The Zhongnanhai ( is a complex of buildings in Beijing, China adjacent to the Forbidden City which serves as the central headquarters for the
China today banned the Research Society of Falun Dafa and the Falun Gong organization under its control after deeming them to be illegal. Talk People's Republic of China) PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ARTICLE GUIDELINES
In its decision on this matter issued today, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said that according to investigations, the Research Society of Falun Dafa had not been registered according to law and had been engaged in illegal activities, advocating superstition and spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability.
The decision said that therefore, in accordance with the Regulations on the Registration and Management of Mass Organizations, the Research Society of Falun Dafa and the Falun Gong organization under its control are held to be illegal and are therefore banned. 
Xinhua further declared that Falun Gong was a highly organised political group "opposed to the Communist Party of China and the central government, [that] preaches idealism, theism and feudal superstition". It attempted a distinction between "ordinary core members" and the leaders, which it referred to as "a small number of behind-the-scenes plotters and organizers who harbor political intentions". It struck a warning-bell against some important Party and government officials who were members.  Xinhua also affirmed that "the so-called 'truth, kindness and forbearance' principle preached by Li has nothing in common with the socialist ethical and cultural progress we are striving to achieve. "
Li Hongzhi responded with a "Brief Statement of Mine" on July 22:
Falun Gong is simply a popular qigong activity. It does not have any particular organization, let alone any political objectives. We have never been involved in any anti-government activities. I am a cultivator myself, and I have never been destined to be involved in political power. I am just teaching people how to practice cultivation. If one wants to practice qigong well, he/she must be a person of high moral standards. . .
We are not against the government now, nor will we be in the future. Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies.
We are calling for all governments, international organizations, and people of goodwill worldwide to extend their support and assistance to us in order to resolve the present crisis that is taking place in China. 
A nationwide crackdown ensued with the exception of the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Hong Kong ( officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is a territory located on China 's south coast on the Pearl River Delta, and borders For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Macau topics. In late 1999 legislation was created to outlaw "heterodox religions," and applied to Falun Gong retroactively. 
According to some reports, every aspect of society was mobilized against Falun Gong, including the media apparatus, police force, army, education system, families, and workplaces. The 2004 Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, took place from August  An extra-constitutional body, the "6-10 Office" was created to "oversee the terror campaign," which was allegedly driven by large-scale propaganda through television, newspapers, radio and internet.  Families and workplaces were urged to cooperate with the government's position on Falun Gong, while practitioners themselves were subject to various severe coercive measures to have them recant.  Amnesty International declares the persecution to be politically motivated and a restriction of fundamental freedoms.
Protests in Beijing were frequent for the first few years following the 1999 edict, though they have largely been silenced since.  Practitioners' presence in mainland China has become more low-profile, as they opt for alternative methods of informing about the public persecution, such as through overnight letterbox drops of CD-ROMs. They have occasionally hacked into state television channels to broadcast their material, with harsh repercussions. Practitioners are also globally active in appealing to governments, media and the people of their respective countries about the situation in China.
There are particular concerns over reports of torture, illegal imprisonment including forced labour, and psychiatric abuses.  Falun Gong related cases comprise 66% of all reported torture cases in China, and at least half of the labour camp population.  Since 2006, Falun Gong has alleged systematic organ harvesting from living practitioners, and an investigation led by two Canadian parliamentarians, David Kilgour and David Matas, has lent support to the claims. The Honourable David Kilgour, PC, BA, JD, DD (born February 18, 1941 in Winnipeg Manitoba) is a former David Matas (born 1943 is the senior legal counsel of B'nai Brith Canada.  Kilgour, former Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific, commented "It is simply inescapable that this is going on", and Matas claimed that their evidence "has not been refuted".  Kilgour and Matas's conclusions are corroborated by two other independent investigations, by Dr. Kirk Allison, associate director of the program in human rights and medicine at the University of Minnesota, and European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott, however the United States Congressional Research Service regarded them as inconsistent with the findings of other investigations, relying largely on logical inferences. The Congressional Research Service (CRS is the Public policy research arm of the United States Congress.  The Christian Science Monitor states that the report's evidence, although circumstantial, is persuasive, and criticises China for a lack of openness in investigating the claims. 
The U.S. House of Representatives accused China of unlawful harassment of United States citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong, and passed a resolution unanimously calling on the Chinese government to "cease its persecution and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in the United States. The United States House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress; the other is the Senate. " Practitioners also draw attention to their plight by demonstrating the meditation exercises, distributing flyers, displaying banners, initiating lawsuits, demonstrating outside Chinese consulates around the world, and organising other public events such as lavish travelling Chinese New Year shows.
A World Journal article suggested that certain high-level Party officials had wanted to crack down on the practice for several years, but lacked sufficient pretext until this time.  Jiang Zemin is often considered to have been largely personally responsible for the final decision, both by Falun Gong and academics. Jiang Zemin ( born 17 August 1926 was the "core of the third generation " of Communist Party of China leaders serving as General Secretary of Cited possible motives include personal jealously of Li Hongzhi, anger, ideological struggle,, the nature of Communist Party rule and a perceived challenge to it. 
Since the 1999 government clamp-down on Falun Gong, activities abroad directing attention to the Human Rights situation in China have increased dramatically. Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Gong outside China in early 1995 Since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the human rights issue of China has come to the forefront Falun Gong's lobbying has particularly raised its profile in the United States.  Falun Dafa practitioners and human rights activists in cities around the world have organised protest events to draw attention to the plight of practitioners in China.
The situation of Falun Gong and its practitioners has been regarded by some western governments as a major international human rights issue. Human rights refers to the "basic Rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled The PRC government is accused by Falun Gong and many human rights groups of violating the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), also ratified by the People's Republic of China. The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an international human rights instrument, under the purview of Talk People's Republic of China) PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ARTICLE GUIDELINES In July 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives accused China of unlawful harassment of United States citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong, and passed a resolution, unanimously by 420:0, calling on China to "cease its persecution and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in the United States". The United States House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress; the other is the Senate. 
Falun Gong has been represented in different ways by researchers, media, and in other public fora. While the late psychologist Margaret Singer derided it as a "cult," Edelman and Richardson say this has no "empirical verification or general acceptance in the scientific community," and is merely a label that has been conveniently used to persecute the practice. Margaret Thaler Singer (1921 - 2003 was a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor emeritus of Psychology at the University of California Berkeley,  Quebec Superior court Justice Rousseau declared Falun Gong "controversial" in a 2005 decision. Livia Kohn, Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies at Boston University and a scholar in Daoism, has praised it as having "a high success rate in creating friendlier people, more harmonious social environments, and greater health and vitality. "
Some scholars such as Benjamin Penny of the Australian National University have given detailed treatments of Chinese Buddhist publications and what they have written on Falun Gong, while others such as Susan Palmer, David Ownby and PhD student Noah Porter, have made ethnographic studies of Falun Gong as it is currently transmitted and practiced in the United States. The Australian National University, commonly abbreviated to ANU, is a public Research university situated in Canberra, Australia. Ethnography ( Greek ethnos = people and graphein = writing is a genre of writing that uses Fieldwork to provide a descriptive James Tong has written about the development of the campaign to persecute the practice in Mainland China, also analysing the use of the Communist states' media apparatus in its portrayal of Falun Gong as a well-financed organisation.
Scholarly research on Falun Gong and its place in contemporary society has been approached from different angles. David Ownby, for example, has analysed Falun Gong from a historical Chinese perspective as well as commented on his personal experience of meeting modern Falun Gong practitioners. Ownby has also speculated on Falun Gong as a cultural renewal of ancient Chinese cultivation forms starting in the Ming dynasty. Stephen Chan has written about Falun Gong's relationship to Buddhism and other qigong, as well as commenting on deeper reasons behind the persecution in Mainland China. Barend ter Haar argues that Falun Gong and the persecution cannot be understood outside the context of recent Chinese history. 
In December 2005, Quebec Superior Court Justice Jeannine Rousseau wrote in a decision for a civil defamation case brought against Les Presses Chinoises by 232 Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong has received a range of scholarly attention &mdash including ethnographic studies analysis on the teleology of practice and also some studies focusing on its relationship The court stated that there was insufficient evidence that the journal had defamed the practitioners. In paragraph 39 of her judgement, she stated that Falun Gong's teachings includes rejection of science and promise of supernatural powers. In paragraph 40, she added that Falun Gong was a controversial movement which does not accept criticism.