Falun Gong also known as Falun Dafa led by Chinese exile Li Hongzhi has been labeled an “evil cult” in China and it seems Chinese American communities have increasingly become concerned about its adherents activities in the US.
Hongzhi’s followers have caused problems repeatedly during holiday celebrations, apparently using every opportunity to pass out tracts and preach, which has annoyed others and violates the rules set for such events.
As the Chinese New Year drew near this year controversy surrounded the group’s participation in a parade in San Francisco as reported by the San Francisco Sentinel. At a hearing held by the city’s Board of Supervisors both sides of the Falun Gong controversy spoke out and some of strange teachings of Li Hongzhi leaked out.
According to Falun Gong’s leader “elder women will regain the menstrual period because a cultivation practice of mind and body requires menses.” Hongzhi concludes, “Otherwise, how can they cultivate their bodies without it?”
Hongzhi’s teachings about homosexuality must disturb many in the Bay area, which includes a large gay community. Li says that a “black substance” accumulates in the body due to homosexuality that causes bad health. Hongzhi’s homophobia also goes beyond simply describing its link to a “black substance” he has also called gays “disgusting,” and prophesizes that one day they will be ’eliminated’’ by ’the gods.’’
Hongzhi also appears to be a racist.
He teaches his followers that “mixed-race people¦[are] instruments of an alien plot to destroy humanity’s link to heaven.” And that these interracial unions are somehow part of “a plot by¦evil extraterrestrials.”
More bizarre is that practitioners of Falun Gong believe that “Master Li” actually can “personally install’’ falun (a wheel of law) in their abdomens, can “levitate,” “become invisible” and knows the “top secret of the Universe.”
Hongzhi also changed his date of birth from July 7 to May 13, which is when Buddha was born, reported Asiaweek.
Sound like a personality-driven “cult”?
“If you want a good description of a cult, all you have to do is read what they say they are,” Margaret Singer told the San Francisco Chronicle at a Seattle conference in 2000. The psychologist, who was the most respected cult expert of the 20th Century observed, “They actually say ‘Don’t Think.’ Just recite the master’s teaching.”
Last month Steve Hassan a cult counselor from Boston told the Chronicle that Li’s followers are “told not to think negative thoughts, and are given fears if they consider any other reality” and that Hongzhi “comes very much out of the cult extreme, the authoritarian stereotype.”
David Clark, a Pennsylvania cult counselor sees Falun Gong’s human rights campaign as a “clever marketing mechanism.” “It is a way of gaining access to get people to join the cause,” he said.
“I consider myself a victim of the Falun Gong because my parents were hurt by it, and the harmony of our family has been seriously damaged,” a Chinese massage therapist who practices tui na, told the Chronicle in December.
An anti-Falun Gong Web site has been launched to expose “the false and contradictory claims of Li Hongzhi.”
For example, regarding health Hongzhi teaches “the root cause¦is karma…That’s the root cause of people’s health problems, it’s the chief source of them. Of course, there are two other forms. One of them is really, really small, high-density tiny beings. They’re something like a cluster of karma.”
This sounds similar to the Scientology belief in so-called “Body Thetans” or BTs, which that group’s founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed originated from outer space clustering on human beings and causing problems.
Such beliefs have allegedly led some Falun Gong devotees to neglect their health by not properly consulting doctors in a timely manner and/or seeking medical treatment and instead relying upon Hongzhi’s supposed powers and religious practices.
Li likewise seems to denigrate hospitals. He says that their “treatment methods are at ordinary people’s level while illness is beyond the ordinary,” He claims, “It’ll be years before today’s Western medicine catches up” with him and what he knows.
Chinese authorities have reported that hundreds of Li Hongzhi’s followers have died in Mainland China due to medical neglect.
So besides racism, homophobia and often-bizarre supernatural mumbo-jumbo it seems Falun Gong can become a health hazard.
It’s no wonder why the Chinese government sees Hongzhi as “evil” and Chinese Americans have become increasingly wary of his disciples participating in their community events.