In the early 90’s China experienced a revival. A revival of Its traditional culture of self-improvement through moral cultivation. A culture that had for years been suppressed and destroyed by the Communist regime.
A practice called Falun Gong—also known as Falun Dafa—was quietly introduced to the public.
It is an ancient meditation practice with roots in traditional Chinese culture—a practice for the overall improvement of mind, body, and spirit.
Self or moral cultivation, was a common concept in ancient China. In Chinese it’s “xiu lian.” “xiu” means to restore or to fix. “Lian” means, “improve” or “refine.”
The practice of Falun Gong has two aspects. One is practicing Qigong exercises—four standing exercises and a sitting meditation.
The other is the self cultivation aspect. This involves improving one’s moral character. Falun Gong practitioners follow the three principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance in their everyday life.
In May 1992, the founder of Falun Gong, Master Li Hongzhi gave his first public lectures on the practice in China’s northeastern city of Changchun. He introduced the practice as a type of Qigong, but its principles of mind cultivation went far beyond other practices at the time.
At first the authorities supported Falun Gong. The state sponsored Qigong Science Research Association of China officially recognized Falun Gong as a qigong practice. Master Li, acknowledged as a “Qigong Master,” was approved to teach Falun Gong nationwide.
Master Li gave 54 public lectures on Falun Gong in Mainland China. In 1995, Li introduced Falun Gong to the rest of the world.
During the 90’s Li received many awards, inside and outside of China. Master Li’s teachings are now translated into thirty-eight languages—published, and distributed worldwide.
By the middle to late-1990s, the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, started to see Falun Gong as a threat. This was partly because of Falun Gong’s sheer numbers—70 million according to Chinese authorities’ own survey. But it was the revival of traditional values that really struck a chord with the regime and the party would eventually attack Falun Gong.
On July 20th, 1999, Jiang Zemin—then leader of the CCP—started a systematic persecution of the practice which has continued for 13-years.
But Falun Gong, having spread beyond the Chinese shores, instead grew stronger. Today, millions of people from all walks of life and from over 100 countries practice Falun Gong.
The persecution still goes on and practitioners around the world are standing up for their belief.
This week thousands of practitioners from all over the world gathered in Washington, DC to mark July 20th—the 13th anniversary of the persecution. Showing solidarity with their counterparts in China. Acting as a beacon of traditional values in the face of a regime that seeks to destroy the essence of China’s ancient past.