If you’ve been within a mile of Chinese President Xi Jinping during his travels in the Puget Sound area, you’ve likely seen protesters from the Falun Gong movement. Here’s some background on who they are and what they want.
If you’ve been within a mile of Chinese President Xi Jinping during his travels in the Puget Sound area, you’ve likely seen protesters from the Falun Gong movement.
Falun Gong, a spiritual, meditation and exercise practice that promotes three tenets — “truthfulness, forbearance and compassion” — has been banned in China since 1999. The Chinese government and state media say Falun Gong is a cult.
What the demonstrators were doing
The demonstrators traveled to events attended by President Xi, where they held banners and passed out literature about Falun Gong.
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They’re also pushing for change in China.
Protester Michael Green said that former President Jiang Zemin persecuted and imprisoned Falun Gong participants, and the group wants Xi to bring him to justice.
Complaints against China
Falun Gong practitioners say thousands have been jailed for practicing Falun Gong.
The New York Times reported the Chinese government began its campaign against the practice in 1999 after Falun Gong practitioners staged a silent demonstration outside Communist Party headquarters in Beijing.
In 2000, The New York Times reported http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/30/weekinreview/the-world-rooting-out-falun-gong-china-makes-war-on-mysticism.html?pagewanted=1” class=”webonlylink”>China’s actions against the Falun Gong, “have led to at least a dozen deaths, alleged death by torture, thousands of cases of abuse and the harassment of tens of thousands … ”
The Times also reported that Falun Gong’s founder, Li Hongzhi, preached “that the Earth is gradually being infiltrated by aliens” and that he could fly. He later told The Washington Post he was speaking in metaphors.
In 2009, human-rights groups told the Times 2,000 people had been killed in the suppression of Falun Gong.
Chinese lawyers told The Associated Press in 2014 they were tortured by police for protesting with relatives of Falun Gong members.
Falun Gong practitioners often picket Chinese government officials visiting the United States. In 2006, a reporter for the Epoch Times, described as a Falun Gong activist, interrupted a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao on the White House’s south lawn by yelling for about three minutes, according to The Washington Post.
Members of the Falun Gong movement launched The Epoch Times in 2000, reports The Associated Press. Newspaper leaders told the Post in 2007 that the paper does not directly represent the Falun Gong movement. The reporter who interrupted the Chinese president’s speech at the White House agreed to quit her job after the incident.