Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Falun Gong: Evil Cult Or Spiritual Movement?

StoryDecember 21, 2000
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Last week, as Macau prepared to celebrate the first anniversary of its handover to China, police scuffled with Falun Gong practitioners who protested the Chinese government’s crackdown on the group. As Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrived, authorities detained more than 20 adherents of the meditation sect.

A year ago, China formally labeled Falun Gong a cult. An estimated 100 million Chinese citizens, including members of the Communist Party, are practitioners. Beginning in December, China intensified its crackdown by demolishing hundreds of churches and temples practicing "unauthorized" worship along the southeastern coast.

Beijing charged that Falun Gong: "fully abandoned national pride, threw themselves into the arms of overseas anti-China forces and were willingly used by international hostile forces as tools to interfere in China’s internal affairs." According to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, scores of the Falun Gong members arrested have been tortured to death during detention.

Danny Schecter, author of "Falun Gong’s Challenge to China: Spiritual Practice or Evil Cult?" sees a popular movement that is being persecuted for its religious freedom. He charges that China has jailed 35, 000 Falun Gong followers and destroyed 7.8 million books by the movement’s leader, Li Hongzhi.

Critics charge that Falun Gong is a greedy cult manipulating gullible followers. Christopher Hitchens in a recent "Nation" column called Falun Gong a "fringe sect that babbles about higher consciousness and the supernatural." Its leaders, he says, have warned of the dangers of homosexuality and have "induced the credulous to part with their money" through trickery.

Guest:

  • Li Li, Professor of Economics at Pace University, New York City and a practitioner of Falun Gong for four years.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation